WASHINGTON, D.C. – The farm and ranch families of Farm Bureau donated a record of more than 51.4 million pounds of food and raised nearly $500,000 to assist hungry Americans in 2017 as part of Farm Bureau’s “Harvest for All” program. Combined, the monetary and food donations also reached a record level of the equivalent of more than 44 million meals.
Now in its 16th 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. By heeding the call to action, they help ensure Americans in need can enjoy the bounty of food farmers and ranchers produce.
In addition to raising food and funds for the initiative, farmers and ranchers tallied 36,708 volunteer hours assisting local hunger groups in 2017.
“Many Americans facing hunger live in rural areas and farming communities,” said Russ Kohler, a dairy farmer from Utah who chairs AFBF’s national YF&R committee. “Through Harvest for All, Farm Bureau is pleased to continue our long tradition of helping provide food for those who need it the most.”
Harvest for All is one of the most important community service efforts undertaken by Farm Bureau members. Although the U.S. economy is stronger overall compared to several years ago, many Americans still need help securing adequate food for their families.
The Florida Farm Bureau took top honors for donating the most food in 2017, 24.6 million pounds. Illinois Farm Bureau raised the most money, $172,000. California Farm Bureau tallied the most volunteer hours, 10,000. Thanks to the generosity of Nationwide, each of those state organizations received a $500 grant to donate to a local food bank of their choice or for another Harvest for All project.
Second-place winners were California Farm Bureau for food donated at 15.2 million pounds; Tennessee Farm Bureau for donated funds at $102,000; and North Carolina Farm Bureau for volunteer time at 9,563 hours. Each of the second-place winners received a $250 grant from Nationwide to donate to the local food bank of their choice.
In addition, three state YF&R committees received $250 grants from Nationwide for “most innovative” programs. Those winners were California, Nebraska and North Carolina.
The awards were presented during AFBF’s Young Farmers & Ranchers Conference in Reno, Nevada, in February. Since Harvest for All was launched, Farm Bureau families have gathered more than 274 million pounds of food, logged more than 157,000 volunteer hours and raised $7.5 million in donations.