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Donated hogs to feed the needy

Donated hogs to feed the needy Donated hogs to feed the needy

Schmidtkes transport Minnesota swine to Marshfield butcher

Town of Day residents Kevin and Kendra Schmidtke are no strangers to helping people in other parts of the country who are experiencing natural disasters.

The couple helped victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas a few years ago. Last spring, they led a convoy of donated hay from central Wisconsin to help Nebraska farmers affected by severe flooding.

The Schmidtkes are at it again.

A few weeks ago, the couple guided two cattle trailers to southwest Minnesota to pick up 48 hogs donated by a farmer. They transported the hogs to be processed into 3,000 pounds of pork sausage to be donated to Marshfieldarea food pantries.

The Schmidtkes were sad to see on the news stories of Midwest hog farmers forced to euthanize their animalsbecause of processing plants closed due to COVID-19. Instead of waiting for the situation to improve on its own, the couple decided to take action themselves.

They contacted the Minnesota Pork Producers Association, who told them about hog farmer Greg Boerboom in Marshall, Minn. Boerboom, a lifelong hog farmer, had nowhere to take his hogs after Smithfield Foods in Sioux Falls, S.D., closed for one month after many of its workers tested positive for COVID-19.

Boerboom didn’t want to euthanize his hogs and bury them in the ground. He donated hogs to his neighbors, the Hmong living in St. Paul, Minn. and to the Schmidtkes so they could help out central Wisconsin food pantries. He was happy to help out the town of Day residents who reside between Stratford and Marshfield.

“It was a good situation for both us and them,” Boerboom said. “I was happy to keep the pigs in the food chain.”

The Schmidtkes rounded up a group of local volunteers to help them drive two trucks with cattle trailers 12 hours round trip to Marshall, Minn. on May 9 to pick up Boerboom’s hogs. Town of Day residents Terry and Deb Brock and rural Pittsville residents Keith and Marilyn Wagner donated their cattle trailers to the Schmidtkes for the trip.

“It’s a good feeling to see all the people come together to help,” Kendra Schmidtke said. “We didn’t expect all the support we received.”

They unloaded the hogs at J & S Processing in Lindsey, located just outside of Marshfield, where Jason Krenn spent several hours butchering the pigs and then processing them free of charge into pork sausage. The Schmidtkes delivered the 3,000 onepound packages of pork sausage to Marshfield-area food pantries last Wednesday. The Schmidtkes also worked with Tricia Mayer, manager of the Weiler Convenience Store on the north end of Marshfield, to hold a food drive for the local food pantries. People who donated 10 nonperishable food items got their name put into a drawing for prizes donated by locals businesses like Miss. Jen’s Tiger Stop Café in Stratford, which gave away chicken dinners and pizzas.