First Farmers gives food banks a boost

Jeff Rodibaugh

Converse, Ind.-based First Farmers Bank & Trust, in partnership with pork producers and processors throughout the state, has initiated a direct assistance program to provide protein to food banks throughout Indiana and eastern Illinois.

The “Pigs to People to Pork” program was established due to dramatic disruption in the availability of protein to those in need caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the shutdown of major processing plants in the area, producers are facing few or no options in the market.

Chief Agricultural Lending Officer, Jeff Rodibaugh, and other key bank personnel created an ad hoc network of farmers and local processors willing to donate or dramatically reduce livestock and processing costs. The bank is partnering with Indiana nonprofit “Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry” for greater impact.

“During this time of uncertainty, our lending team called on their lifelong relationships to find the compassion of local processing owners and staffs to put in extra hours to process pigs that are getting precariously big for their stressed owners into one-pound ground pork packages for the people of our communities,” Rodibaugh said. “We are in the relationship business of agriculture and our passionate commitment to our people is what sets us apart at First Farmers. It is the hope of our employees, processors and pig farmers that through our ‘Pigs to People to Pork’ partnership with Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry that we will provide a smile to a person or child that was looking for a meal this week.”

The Pigs to People to Pork effort is one of three outreach programs taking place at First Farmers Bank & Trust under the umbrella of “Growing Good”. The bank also pledged $75,000 to local foundations aiding those in need and a local outreach initiative to donate meals, honor and assist local people in need.

The $1.9 billion First Farmers has 36 officers in Illinois and Indiana.

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