The farm and ranch families of Farm Bureau raised a record $971,235 and donated a record of more than 24 million pounds of food to assist hungry Americans as part of Farm Bureau's "Harvest for All" program in partnership with Feeding America. Combined, the monetary and food donations also reached a record level of the equivalent of more than 28 million meals.
Now in its 10th 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, a record 21 state Farm Bureaus heeded the call to action. The joint effort between Farm Bureau and Feeding America, the nation's largest hunger relief organization, is a national community action program through which farmers and ranchers can help ensure every American enjoys the bounty they produce.
In addition to raising food and funds for the initiative, farmers and ranchers tallied 11,333 volunteer friend hours assisting local hunger groups in 2012.
"The Harvest for All program is a tangible and visible way for Farm Bureau members to serve their communities," said American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman. "I am proud of our young farmers and ranchers and each of the state Farm Bureaus who literally helped us feed our great nation, and achieve record contributions in the process."
Harvest for All is one of the most important community service efforts undertaken by Farm Bureau members. While the U.S. economy is beginning to show some encouraging signs, many Americans still need the help provided by Feeding America and its national network of local food assistance organizations, according to Stallman.
"Feeding America greatly appreciates the American Farm Bureau and its Young Farmers & Ranchers for last year's record-breaking Harvest for All results and for our 10-year partnership that has provided much-needed assistance for the one in six Americans who are struggling with hunger," said Bill Thomas, chief supply chain officer at Feeding America.
"By joining together and sharing our bounty, America's farm and ranch families are helping to feed and nourish those who need help the most," said Zach Hunnicutt, who chairs the AFBF YF&R Committee. He and his wife, Anna, raise popcorn, corn and soybeans near Giltner, Neb.
"America's farmers and ranchers are stepping up to the table in a coordinated effort to serve our fellow Americans," Hunnicutt said. "No American should be allowed to go without food and because of Harvest for All, the equivalent of 28,068,389 meals made it to the tables of those who needed it the most this past year."
California Farm Bureau took top honors for donating the most food in 2012, 10,143,570 pounds. Illinois Farm Bureau raised the most money, $786,949. And, Michigan Farm Bureau tallied the most volunteer friend hours, 6,410. Thanks to the generosity of Chevrolet/GM, each of those state organizations received a $1,500 grant to donate to a local food bank of their choice.
Second place winners were the New York Farm Bureau for food donated at 8,583,067 pounds; Michigan Farm Bureau for donated funds at $64,080; and Illinois Farm Bureau for volunteer time at 2,006 hours. Each of the second place winners received a $1,000 grant from Chevrolet/GM to donate to the local food bank of their choice.
In addition, five state YF&R committees received $500 grants from Chevrolet/GM for "most innovative" programs. Those winners included Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, North Carolina and New York.
The awards were presented on Feb. 10 during AFBF's Joint National Leadership and YF&R Conference in Phoenix, Ariz. Since Harvest for All was launched 10 years ago, Farm Bureau families have gathered more than 73 million pounds of food, logged more than 71,000 volunteer hours and raised nearly $3 million in donations. Combined, the food and money donations amount to the equivalent of more than 83 million meals.