Updated: 11/01/2012 6:30 PM KSTP.com By: Joy Lim Nakrin
With the Department of Natural Resources predicting a good deer hunting season, Minnesota food shelves are hoping for more venison donations.
According to Dr. Nicole Neeser of the Department of Agriculture, the Minnesota Hunter Harvested Venison Donation Program has seen a steady drop in donations since it started in 2007. Last year, an all time low of 421 deer were donated. Even so, that was enough to feed 12,000 Minnesotans.
Food shelves say the meat is a rare and precious commodity. Mike Potter is Director of Operations for Second Harvest Heartland, Minnesota's largest food bank. He explains, "The folks that visit the food shelves are really looking for those protein meat items,so the venison is very important as one of the major meat items that we have throughout the year."
Hunters who wish to donate can take their deer to any registered processing plant. Processors, will turn the meat into steaks, sausages and chops, then get them to area food shelves and food banks. Find the full list of participating processors here.