The Farmers Feeding Utah initiative began in early May and was launched with two main goals. The first was to help farmers and ranchers impacted by COVID-19, and the second was to provide food and donations to Utah families in need. Utah Farm Bureau President Ron Gibson says the Farm Bureau is helping people in need.
"We raise money from people in the state that care about local agriculture, and we are buying products from farmers and ranchers that are struggling and taking those products and donating them to people that are in need all throughout our state," Gibson said.
Gibson says Farmers Feeding Utah is trying to help out the state’s agriculture sectors that have been hit hardest by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including sheep and dairy farmers. Farmers Feeding Utah recently delivered 600 live sheep, 16,000 pounds of frozen lamb, and 10,000 pounds of flour to people in need, including the Navajo Nation. Gibson said the project got off to a fast start and the momentum is still going.
"We've raised about $200,000 for this campaign, and our average donation size was $100," Gibson said. "That money came from people throughout the Intermountain West that cared about this project and wanted to support farmers and ranchers and also wanted to help those that are in need. This has been a grassroots effort."
The Utah Farm Bureau says Farmers Feeding Utah has raised a grand total of $300,000 to date. While it’s helping people on the farm and those who are hungry, it’s also reemphasizing the importance of farming to the state’s economy.
"It helps, and I can promise you that it’s helped the people that we bought the animals from," Gibson said. "It definitely helped those sheep producers that we were able to get those sheep from, but what it is doing is it’s creating an opportunity for people to reconnect with their food supply, and we’re drawing awareness to the fact that we need farmers and ranchers in our state and in our country to be successful."