Deer hunters looking to help out the community during the 2012 hunting season can donate venison to a local food shelf through the venison donation program.
“The program provides a source of protein to people in need while helping reduce local deer populations. Minnesota hunters donated 421 deer to the program in 2011, which provided 15,520 pounds of processed venison to Minnesota food shelves,” according to a Minnesota Department of Agriculture press release.
To donate, MDA says hunters must have their deer processed at a state-registered meat processing plant that has agreed to participate in the program. Hunters are encouraged to contact the processor before bringing in a deer and note only entire carcasses with hide attached can be donated.
The following local businesses are considered registered meat processing facilities for venison donation, according to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture website.
- Center Cut Meats LLC, 11646 Barthl Industrial Drive, Albertville 763-497-1660
- Brother's Meat and Seafood, 13545 Grove Drive, Maple Grove 763-416-1901
- Von Hanson's Meats, 3375 Ply Hills Shopping Center, Plymouth 763-557-8040
- Center Cut Meats LLC, 13004 Main Street, Rogers 763-428-9797
Processors may only accept carcasses for donation that are, according to MDA:
- Free from signs of illness
- Field dressed with the hide intact
- Free of visible decomposition or contamination
- Properly identified with a Minnesota DNR registration tag.
Funding for the venison program comes from a $1 surcharge placed on deer bonus permits, according to the MDA. The program is operated through a partnership between the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and state food shelves.