The farm and ranch families of Farm Bureau raised more than $1.1 million and donated a record of more than 48 million pounds of food to assist hungry Americans as part of Farm Bureau’s “Harvest for All” program. Combined, the monetary and food donations also reached a record level of the equivalent of more than 49 million meals.
Now in its 14th year, Harvest for All is spearheaded by members of Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers & Ranchers program, but Farm Bureau members of all ages from across the nation contribute to the effort. In all, 19 state Farm Bureaus and the American Farm Bureau Federation heeded the call to action, helping ensure Americans in need can enjoy the bounty of food farmers and ranchers produce.
In addition to raising food and funds for the initiative, farmers and ranchers tallied nearly 16,000 volunteer hours assisting local hunger groups in 2015.
“We’re pleased to continue Farm Bureau’s long tradition of helping nourish those who need help the most,” said Cole Coxbill, a rancher and crop farmer from Wyoming who chairs the AFBF YF&R committee.
“More than 50 percent of Americans that struggle with hunger live in rural areas and farming communities,” Coxbill said. “Through the coordinated efforts of America’s farmers and ranchers and Harvest for All, we’re helping to lower that statistic.”
Harvest for All is one of the most important community service efforts undertaken by Farm Bureau members. Although the U.S. economy is stronger overall compared to several years ago, many Americans still need help securing adequate food for their families.
The California Farm Bureau took top honors for donating the most food in 2015, 17.5 million pounds. Illinois Farm Bureau raised the most money, $998,000. Illinois Farm Bureau also tallied the most volunteer hours, 5,675. Thanks to the generosity of Chevrolet, each of those state organizations received a $1,250 grant to donate to a local food bank of their choice or for another Harvest for All project.
Second-place winners were the Florida Farm Bureau for food donated at 16 million pounds; Michigan Farm Bureau for donated funds at $32,600; and Florida Farm Bureau for volunteer time at 4,975. Each of the second-place winners received a $750 grant from Chevrolet to donate to the local food bank of their choice.
In addition, three state YF&R committees received $500 grants from Chevrolet for “most innovative” programs. Those winners were California, Illinois and North Carolina.
The awards were presented during AFBF’s Young Farmers & Ranchers Conference in Kansas City, Missouri, earlier this month. Since Harvest for All was launched, Farm Bureau families have gathered more than 195 million pounds of food, logged more than 112,900 volunteer hours and raised more than $5.9 million in donations. Combined, the food and money donations are the equivalent of more than 210 million meals.