An additional $10 million will be going to two of Wisconsin’s largest hunger relief organizations to help serve people experiencing food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gov. Tony Evers and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection announced the additional funding for the Food Security Initiative Nov. 12, bringing the total investment in Wisconsin’s agricultural and food industries during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to $75 million, DATCP Secretary-designee Randy Romanski said during a Nov. 12 meeting with agricultural media.

“There isn’t a family, worker, or industry that hasn’t experienced the effects of the ongoing pandemic,” Evers said in a Nov. 12 news release. “This funding bridges an important gap, not only helping these organizations continue to do their good work, but also helping farmers get their goods to folks across the state and Wisconsin families put food on the table.”

Hunger Task Force and Feeding Wisconsin will each receive $5 million in grant funding. The money will be used to purchase food for distribution, and for food storage and transportation.

“COVID-19 has brought uncertainty for many people, but no one should have to worry about how they’ll feed themselves or their family, especially in a state like Wisconsin where we grow produce process so much,” Romanski said. “The Food Security Initiative has already helped many organizations adjust to the pandemic and provide high quality nutritious Wisconsin food products to people in need across our state.”

“At a time when we are seeing a 70% increase in demand for our services and our food banks are purchasing more food than ever before, these funds are enabling us to source great Wisconsin products to distribute to our neighbors faced with food insecurity during this challenging time,” Feeding Wisconsin Executive Director Stephanie Jung Dorfman said in a news release.

The Food Security Initiative was announced in May 2020. The funding has been distributed in three parts: the $5 million COVID-19 Food Security Network Support Grant, the $10 million COVID-19 Food Security and Wisconsin Products Grant, and the additional $10 million announced today. For more information, visit foodsecurity.wi.gov.

More mink positive for coronavirus

Mink on a second Taylor County mink farm have tested positive for the coronavirus, Romanski said Nov. 12.

Between the two farms, approximately 5,400 mink have died, he said. DATCP confirmed the first mink deaths from the virus on a Taylor County farm Oct. 8.

Romanski said DATCP is working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Department of Health Services, local public health officials and veterinarians, and members of the mink industry “to share the information that we have available as well as best practices to hopefully prevent the virus from spreading further.”

“To my knowledge, there has not been movement of animals from one farm to the other so that’s one of the things that that we have to continue to review,” he said.