Farm Bureau Family Showing Up in Hard Seasons
Words fail when we see the devastation of natural disasters—from wildfires to hurricanes. We watch the reports, read the headlines and pray for relief from the suffering and comfort for the hurting. And though we cannot reverse the course of the storm, we look for ways to help in its wake. In farm country and across Farm Bureau, we jump right in to support and help our family near and far. If I were to share every story of the Farm Bureau family stepping up to help those in need, that would fill pages on pages. But for now, I would like to highlight just a few examples of how this family is there for each other in times of need and to invite the generosity of anyone reading this column to assist those currently facing down disasters.
We are heartbroken for our friends in Maui and throughout the Hawaiian Islands. The loss from the wildfires is unthinkable, and I immediately received calls from folks wanting to know how to help. I’m proud of the approach taken by the team at Hawaii Farm Bureau, who initially urged us all to give to relief organizations addressing the immediate life-or-death on-the-ground needs, before they eventually set up a relief fund for affected farmers and ranchers.
Hawaii’s farmers and Farm Bureau members jumped right in to help address the immediate needs in their community. One example, pineapple grower Maui Gold, began delivering pineapples along with essential items to those impacted. Though Maui Gold’s farmland was largely unscathed, much of their reservoir was destroyed in efforts to put out the fires on the island. So, despite facing their own challenges, they focused on the greater needs of others. What an inspiring example of service. While their farm and many others face uncertainty, they are still looking for ways to support and uplift their community—from volunteering in relief efforts to partnering together to provide financial support.
Hawaii Farm Bureau’s fund, administered through their foundation, will help farmers who faced losses ranging from crops and pastureland to agricultural equipment and structures, due to the wildfires. And Farm Bureaus across the country are stepping up to lend support. For example, the Oklahoma Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture joined forces with the Hawaii Farm Bureau Foundation and Maui County Farm Bureau to help farmers and ranchers in need. The OKFB Foundation began calling for donations in August and just wrapped up this drive, matching County Farm Bureau and individual donations up to $5000. Now, $7000 in donations are on their way to helping farmers in Maui.
On the other side of the country, our family members in Florida are picking up the pieces from Hurricane Idalia. Much of the devastation with this storm was right in the middle of rural, farm country in Northeast Florida and South Georgia. In addition to the widespread damage to homes and rural communities, hundreds of acres of vegetable crops were wiped out and tens of thousands of orchard trees were knocked down or stripped from the winds.
In less than a week, the Farm Bureau family was leading the way to help rebuild. Our friends in Florida shared that volunteer members worked with the Florida Cattleman’s Association and other agricultural leaders to get four semi-truckloads of farm materials, such as fencing posts, to the communities hit hardest by the storm. Florida Farm Bureau has also activated its Hurricane Idalia Relief Fund for Agriculture to provide additional support and relief for farmers in Florida’s Big Bend region.
I have no doubt that in the weeks and months ahead, we will hear more inspiring stories of how Farm Bureau is coming together to help those recovering from disasters. Long after the headlines fade, these communities will continue the difficult journey to heal and rebuild. While we don’t know what the days will bring or what other storms may be on the horizon, we can be certain that the Farm Bureau family will continue to show up and lift up our neighbors in all seasons.
For farm relief efforts in Maui, donations can be sent to:
Hawaii Farm Bureau Foundation
Memo: Maui Wildfire
P.O. Box 253
Kunia, HI 96759
For farm relief efforts in Florida, donations can made online or sent to:
Florida Farm Bureau Women’s Fund
Memo: Hurricane Idalia Relief Fund
P.O. Box 147030
Gainesville, FL 32614
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