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Oregon food bank combats rising meat prices by turning to local lentil farmers for protein

•, By Associated Press
 EUGENE, Ore. — The food bank in Eugene says it’s facing a shortage of protein brought on by rising Asian demand for meat and domestic animal production squeezed by high feed costs.
The solution? Local lentils.

Food For Lane County has contracted with five farmers to enlarge the stock of high-protein lentils and barley soup mix it developed this year.

Grass seed farmer Tom Hunton has experimented with beans before and said he is enthusiastic about creating a consistent protein source for needy people in the area.

“It looks like it should be a viable new crop for them, and it’s the community feeding its own community,” Hunton said. “When you’re a seed or grain grower, you ship it overseas and you don’t get to see the fruits of your labor as up close and personal as this will be.”
Demand in the county is up 46 percent from pre-recession levels, and Food For Lane County expects to distribute a record-breaking 8 million pounds of food in the fiscal year ending in June, the Eugene Register-Guard reported ( ).

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