Still time to donate in WSF’s Acre Challenge

There is just a little under a month remaining for farmers to donate to the World Soy Foundation’s Acre Challenge campaign.  The campaign, started by farmers, is a way for US soybean farmers to be part of the solution in solving the world’s hunger problem.

Indiana farmer Scott Fritz is chairman of the World Soy Foundation.  He says taking part in the challenge is simple.  “Go online to,” he says.  “Use a good acre – one of your best yields and assume we’re going to have a high price.  Then write a check out that really helps move the needle.”

The goal this year is to raise $100,000 and with just less than a month remaining, he says The WSF is at 94 percent of their goal.

Currently the foundation’s top supporting state is Iowa with 65 donors giving over $16,000.  Not far behind are farmers in Illinois that have given over $13,600 followed by farmers in Missouri with over $13,400 donated by 13 individuals.

Fritz tells Brownfield the idea for the Acre Challenge originated from an Indiana soybean farmer Jim Peterson.  “It would be really great if Indiana farmers realized what a great idea Jim had and supported the challenge completely,” he says.  “I don’t know exactly how many Indiana farmers we have donating – but Iowa has roughly 65 farmers donating.  If we had 60 farmers step forward in Indiana we would be comfortably in the lead.”

The Acre Challenge Campaign ends September 30.  To donate – visit

AUDIO: Scott Fritz, World Soy Foundation (3:50mp3)

Survey revealed at Iowa Hunger Summit

Survey results released at the Iowa Hunger Summit in Des Moines, Iowa this week show a majority of Iowans donate food or money to organizations that help people in need.

Betsy Danforth-Richey of Iowa Food Access and Health said she sees an untapped opportunity for donating fresh food from gardens, “Because that’s the type of food that food pantries don’t have access to a lot and we’re trying to encourage people to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables but we’re not following up with the access piece.”  Sixteen-percent of survey respondents said they had donated food from their own garden to a local pantry, but Danforth-Richey noted 40-percent said they would, if asked.

The State Director of the Iowa Food Bank Association says one in 8 Iowans faces the risk of hunger each day, a figure that more than half of those surveyed found surprising,“It verifies our idea that not everybody understands the issue of hunger. Hunger is an easy issue to rally around. People want to help if they just know how to help and who to help.”  Cory Berkenes says nearly 13-percent of Iowa households are labeled as “food insecure,” meaning they routinely lack access to food.

Nearly 60-percent of survey respondents say the state should maintain SNAP/food stamp benefits. Berkenes said the program is helping families and shouldn’t be targeted for more federal cuts because it’s a moral right, but, “it shouldn’t be a political issue.”

The telephone survey of 800 Iowans was conducted for the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) in September by Precision Opinion.

~Thanks to Radio Iowa~

Fighting rural hunger

Invest an Acre,’ a program where farmers can invest a portion of their harvest to support their local food bank has received a boost from Monsanto Company.

Monsanto is partnering with the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Archer Daniels Midland and Feeding America in the program by matching contributions of U.S. farmers.

“We know that one of the most compelling ways to get people to donate is by providing more leverage for their gift, in terms of providing more meals for hungry Americans,” said Maura Daly with Feeding America. “We were thrilled that Monsanto was interested in matching every dollar that farmers donate, up to $3 million over the next several years.”

Daly says the summer’s drought, coming at the same time ‘Invest and Acre’ was being launched has been challenging, but they’re encouraged by what they are hearing.

“We have seen a lot of support from farmers in communities across the country and we’ve heard that many farmers are planning to participate yet this calendar year,” Daly said. “We also knew when we started this program it’s not something that would develop overnight, which is why we’ve taken a long term view.”

The fact remains, hunger in rural America continues to grow, with 15 percent of rural households regularly without food.

“One of the misnomers about hunger is that it’s not in my community, not in my backyard,” said Daly. “The reality is that more than half the counties in America with the highest rates of food insecurity or hunger are actually rural counties, this program is really intended to help mobilize farmers to feed people right in their backyard.”

Audio: Maura Daly, Feeding America (3:40 mp3)


Iowa FFAers will package meals for Haiti

At their annual leadership conference in Ames next week, hundreds of Iowa FFAers will stand shoulder-to-shoulder packaging special meals for the poor people of Haiti.

The project is being coordinated by the Iowa Food and Family Project.  It’s an extension of that organization’s “Special Delivery. Homes. Help. Hope. For Haiti” project launched back in December.

Aaron Putze of the Iowa Soybean Association and the Food and Family Project says they hope to package 250-thousand meals during the first two days of the conference.

“We are going to be rallying FFA members from across the state April 22nd and 23rd to package nearly a quarter of a million servings of meals to help the people of Haiti,” Putze says.

The meals, which are purchased through Meals for the Heartland, are soy-based and also include rice and vegetables. 

Along with the meals, the Food and Family Project continues to solicit donations for the purchase of 48 SafeTHome shelters—special metal buildings manufactured by Sheffield-based Sukup Manufacturing—to be constructed in Haiti. 

Putze says more than 32 homes valued at 57-hundred dollars each have already been donated. 

AUDIO: Aaron Putze (6:38 MP3)



Buffett challenges farmers

The Howard G. Buffett Foundation not only has a campaign to save soil, the Foundation also works at the local level to address hunger.

Speaking at the Purdue Ag Alumni Fish Fry on Saturday, February 4, Buffett challenged farmers to do their part and donate the proceeds from 1 acre to their local food bank.

“Who better than American farmers to set an example for other Americans and show the importance of helping those in their own community,” Buffett said. “No farmer would allow their neighbor to starve and yet someone close to us, everyone sitting here, when you go home in every one of our communities someone is going hungry.”

Audio: Howard Buffett, Pres. The Howard Buffett Foundation (1:45 MP3)

To learn more about the work of the Foundation go here.


John Deere’s Project “CAN DO”

Ever thought about what you could do with 300,000 cans of food? John Deere has, it’s called Project “CAN DO.”

“John Deere is going to be constructing a life size combine out of over 300,000 cans of food,” said project manager Nicole Schneider.

Schneider says the project is designed to raise awareness of both the role farmers’ play in producing the food for a growing world population, as well as provide food to a local food bank during the holidays.

Richard Williamson with John Deere adds that anyone can be a part of the project virtually, by going to the John Deere Facebook page.

“There is an area where you can create your own can, you click on it, you can upload a photo of your family or your combine, or whatever you’d like, a short message at the top, you submit that can and that can becomes part of a virtual mosaic online,” Williamson said.

From John Deere employees, to John Deere customers, those involved with Project “Can Do,” like Katie Dierker there’s a real sense of pride.

“We’re really excited to have the spotlight on the S-Series combine, but it really comes down to the producers and the consumers,” said Dierker, Division Marketing Manager for the S-Series combine. “To be able to share this kind of project and be able to highlight what our producer’s everyday and to be able to share a little bit more about what agriculture is all about and how food is grown in powerful and impactful.”

Audio: Nicole Schneider, Richard Williamson, Katie Dierker, John Deere (11:15 MP3)

The construction of the John Deere S-Series Combine, made from the cans of food will take place November 12- 17 and will be on display until December 17, at the John Deere Pavilion in downtown Moline, IL.

The paradox of increased hunger and greater obesity

The paradox of increased hunger and higher obesity rates was one of the topics being discussed Tuesday at the the Iowa Hunger Summit, a prelude to the World Food Prize-Borlaug Dialogue Symposium in Des Moines.

 Ellen Gustafson of the 30 Project—an organization working to change the global food system—says it’s because low income people are having a hard time finding the nutritious foods they need to make themselves healthy. 

“And I don’t think that we should fall back on the rhetoric of personal responsibility when it comes to the obesity problem in our country,” Gustafson says, “because at the end of the day, if it’s difficult to just get that healthy option, we can’t and we’re not going to get that healthy option.

“We’re hard-wired  to want the salt, the fat and the sugar—and if that is the easier option that’s right in front of us, that’s what we’re going to eat.”

Gustafson ties the rise in obesity to the consolidation in agriculture and the nation’s food system that has taken place over the past 30 years.  The 30 Project believes the moves toward high-refined, processed food, high fructose corn syrup and fast food are the main culprits.

AUDIO: Ellen Gustafson’s presentation (9:55 MP3)

Indiana’s Family of Farmers helps feed those in need

Indiana’s Family of Farmers helped feed the hungry outside of the field this year.  Last month, Indiana’s Family of Farmers presented Feeding Indiana’s Hungry (FIsH) with a check for $3,320.  Emily Weikert Bryant, Executive Director of FIsH says the assistance of the ag community is crucial to getting food from the farm to those most in need of assistance.  Last month’s donation was made possible through the IFOF Recipe Trail at the Indiana State Fair.  As fair-goers picked up recipe cards in locations around the fairgrounds and completed the trail, one pound of food was pledged to FIsH. 

This year, 2,000 people completed the recipe trail

AARP Drive to End Hunger makes Indy stop

All race season Jeff Gordon and the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet team have partnered with AARP and the AARP foundation to tackle the growing problem of senior hunger.  This past weekend prior to his 2nd place Brickyard finish he made a stop at Lucas Oil Raceway to present a $10,000 check to Gleaners Food Bank.  Gordon says he’s thankful to be a part of the Drive to End Hunger and bring awareness to the cause.  He said the statistics are staggering, over 51 million Americans go hungry every day and of that 6 million are seniors.  Gordon says it’s something that we don’t think about, but it is something we can do something about. 

Paul Chase, Public Policy Director for AARP Indiana says the partnership’s goal is to bring awareness of hunger and specifically senior hunger to the public.  Chase says many seniors live social security check to social security check and often times need to make the decision as to purchase medications or put food on the table.  He says this is a very important campaign to not only raise awareness, but funds to help those that are struggling on a daily basis.

The $10,000 donation to Gleaners Food Bank will provide nearly 50,000 meals to those in need in Central Indiana.  The #24 AARP Drive to End Hunger car has been raising funds for food banks across the United States in conjunction with the 2011 NASCAR racing schedule.   

AUDIO: Paul Chase, Public Policy Director AARP (2:43 mp3)


World Food Prize Laureates named for 2011

The World Food Prize organization in Des Moines has named its 2011 World Food Prize Laureates. They are John Agyekum Kufuor, the former president of Ghana. And, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, former President of Brazil.

Both leaders are credited for enacting initiatives and policies that have reduced hunger in their countries.

The World Food Prize says under President Kufuor’s leadership, “Ghana became the first sub-Saharan African country to cut in half the proportion of its people who suffer from hunger, and the proportion of people living on less than a dollar per day, on course to achieve United Nations’ Millenium Development Goal 1 before the 2015 deadline.”

Brazil, under President Lula Da Silva’s leadership and Zero Hunger strategy, reached that MDG-1 goal by reducing in half its proportion of hungry citizens and reduced extreme poverty levels to under five-percent by 2009.

Part of the MDG-1 goal is to reduce the proportion of people in the world by half who suffer from hunger – between the years of 1990 and 2015.

AUDIO: Dr. Kenneth Quinn (8:00 mp3)

World Food Prize 2011 Laureates

UN Millenium Development Goals