Utah Farm Bureau’s Miracle of Agriculture Foundation, in partnership with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, held a “Miracle Project” during the American Farm Bureau Convention (AFBF) in Salt Lake City to put together non-perishable food boxes to be donated to several food banks in Iowa and Kentucky. 

During the tradeshow hours, farmers and ranchers from across the country lined a conveyor belt, ready to play their part- whether that involved assembling boxes, adding food items, or taping boxes and stacking on a pallet. 

“It was really extraordinary to watch - it wasn’t just Iowa, but we had a lot of volunteers from Iowa. Wee had a long line of people boxing this food up. It was remarkable to watch it all happen,” said Troy Rindlisbacher, production manager for the Nephi Crops Farm for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and the Juab County Farm Bureau President.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints donated everything needed for this project, including food boxes, semi-trucks, drivers, and conveyor belts. Clayton Beckstead, executive director for the Miracle of Agriculture Foundation, said that without the church’s donation, this project wouldn’t have been possible.

After three days of work, Farm Bureau members had assembled nearly 3,000 food boxes. Each box will feed a family of four for four days and includes 20 different items such as cereal, tuna, beef stew, dry milk, peanut butter, jam, raisins, soup, chili, rolled oats, and hot cocoa mix.

Spencer Gibbons, Utah Farm Bureau CEO, is interviewed by an AgriBusiness radio station in Iowa during the delivery

“This is an amazing way to help people,” said Richard Whitaker, of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. “You don’t just give them random items of food. You give them things that actually create meals that they can eat for four days. In fact, there’s even a can opener there so people don’t have to worry about how to open these cans.”

Amanda Nigg, known as FarmFitMomma on Instagram and a keynote speaker at the AFBF Convention, said it was an honor to be able to play a part in alleviating food insecurity.

“It was great to get in there and physically help fill boxes, knowing we were easing the mental burden so many are facing when it comes to nutrition,” she said. “It’s all about making an impact!”

Two weeks after the conclusion of the AFBF Convention, two semi-trucks filled with pallets of food boxes began the trek to Iowa. 

Iowa was picked as the first recipient for this project both because of the current need for their food banks and previous involvement with the Miracle of Agriculture Foundation. Iowa Farm Bureau leaders have previously visited Utah and participated in “Miracle Projects” to get guidance on how to start a similar program in their state.

Michelle Book, CEO of the Food Bank of Iowa (left) visits with Troy Rindlisbacher, Juab County Farm Bureau President and manager of the Nephi Crops Farm, about the food donation coming to two locations in Iowa

“We just thought it would be a great way to kind of kickstart what they’re wanting to do out there,” Beckstead said. 

Michelle Book, CEO of the Food Bank of Iowa, said it was a lucky day to get such an amazing donation.

“It’s beautiful, nutritious food. It’s all things I would buy at the grocery store to feed my own family,” Book said.

This donation is estimated to feed more than 10,000 Iowans. To wrap up the service project, the Miracle of Agriculture Foundation is planning to make an additional donation to Iowa, while also sending around 50 pallets of food boxes to Kentucky in March. More details on the donation can be found in a media story from the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network.