The farm and ranch families of American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) last year raised more than $556,273 and donated more than 10 million pounds of food to assist hungry Americans as part of Farm Bureau’s “Harvest for All” program through Feeding America. Combined, the monetary and food donations provided nearly 13 million meals.
Here in our state, Arizona Young Farmers and Ranchers in the Yuma County alone donated more than 3,000 pounds of food to their local food banks. Yuma County Farm Bureau Young Farmer & Rancher Chair Jonathan Dinsmore, says, “It’s very encouraging when we can pinpoint the needs in our community and know they can be met with our available produce. I love the passion and drive, including the follow through that our team of young farmers and ranchers exhibit in helping out our community. Our goal is to influence our community by serving our community.”
While nearly every county Farm Bureau in Arizona provides some type of outreach support for needy families in their areas, every year during the local county Farm Bureau meetings hundreds of dollars are raised by Arizona’s Young Farmers and Ranchers. This year, they raised $915.15 to purchase nearly 2,000 pounds of food for the selected food banks.
Arizona and other state’s efforts are then tallied to report the combined efforts at American Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers & Ranchers national leadership conference held this year in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Members of Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers & Ranchers program spearhead Harvest for All across the country, but all facets of Farm Bureau contribute to the effort. For the first time, 20 state Farm Bureaus including Arizona heeded the call to action. The joint effort between Farm Bureau and Feeding America is a national community action program through which farmers and ranchers can help ensure every American enjoys the bounty they produce.
“The Harvest for All initiative is one of the most important community service efforts undertaken by Farm Bureau members, especially in these tough economic times,” said American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman. “I am proud that so many states?a record 20?participated this year. By joining together, we can help feed and nourish those who need help the most.”
Aside from raising food and funds for the initiative, farmers and ranchers tallied 10,159 volunteer hours assisting hunger groups through Harvest for All in 2011.
“This effort clearly shows farmers and ranchers from across the nation are stepping up to the plate to ensure that all Americans have food on their dinner tables,” said Glen Cope, AFBF YF&R chair and an Aurora, Mo., beef producer. “I am extremely proud to be part of Farm Bureau, and especially the Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee, whose members always go that extra mile to help those in need.”
Since Harvest for All was launched nine years ago, Farm Bureau families have gathered more than 49 million pounds of food, logged nearly 60,000 volunteer hours and raised more than $1.8 million in donations. Combined, the food and money donations amount to more than 55 million meals.
About Arizona Farm Bureau
The Arizona Farm Bureau is a grassroots organization dedicated to preserving and improving the Arizona agriculture industry through member involvement in education, political activities, programs and services. As a member services organization, individuals can become a member by contacting the Farm Bureau. Young Farmers & Ranchers is a program within Arizona Farm Bureau that teaches leadership and business management skills. Go to www.azfb.org to learn more. For information on member benefits call 480.635.3609.
- Arizona Farmers Reach Out to Consumers during Food Check-Out Week (fillyourplate.org)
- Arizona Farm Bureau Recognized for Excellence (fillyourplate.org)
- Look Who’s Talking Now: Farmers (fillyourplate.org)