The Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) is contributing to the U.S. pork industry’s Japan relief effort by donating $100,000 in Pork Checkoff funds to purchase and distribute pork products to Japanese who are still without adequate food and shelter due to the devastating earthquake and tsunami March 11.

“As the nation’s leader in pork production, we are proud to contribute to this relief effort,” says IPPA President Leon Sheets, a pork producer from Ionia. “The Japanese love Iowa pork and the island nation is a long-time trading partner and our largest customer based on value, and we firmly believe that it’s incumbent upon Iowa’s pork producers to help those in need.”

The National Pork Board and the National Pork Producers Council announced donations in March. Along with the IPPA donation, the U.S. pork industry has now provided $286,000 to help the people of Japan, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

The recovery effort in Japan is progressing, but the number of affected citizens is staggering. USMEF officials say an estimated 157,000 Japanese remain homeless and another 100,000 in the hard-hit northeast region live in temporary housing. A quarter-million meals a day are being served to those affected by the disaster.

“We are deeply saddened by the March 11 events, and the thoughts and prayers of an entire industry are with the families who have suffered through this unfortunate tragedy,” Sheets says.

USMEF’s Tokyo office is coordinating the purchase and distribution of pork and working with distribution networks to ensure the food is provided to the needy.