Agriculture news

Read "Give-a-Ham”

U.S. pork producers participate in ‘Give-a-Ham’ program

During this pandemic we have seen neighbor helping neighbor and neighbor helping strangers, especially in the agriculture community. To continue helping people in their community, the National Pork Producers Council today launched the “Give-a-Ham” challenge. The “Give-a-Ham” challenge is a national social media campaign encouraging hog farmers and those involved in the industry to donate pork to organizations serving the food insecure, and challenging others to follow suit. The national challenge begins today and runs through the end of the year.

“With so many Americans struggling with COVID-related financial challenges, this year’s ‘Give-a-Ham’ challenge takes on special meaning,” said NPPC President Howard “AV” Roth, a hog farmer from Wauzeka, Wisconsin. “Giving back to our communities is a core value of hog farmers nationwide; it’s gratifying to come together as an industry this time of year to serve those in need.”

Throughout the COVID pandemic, U.S. hog farmers and numerous state associations that represent them have donated to local food banks, providing a collective 15.7 million pounds–or 222.8 million servings–of pork through Oct. 31.

“I’m proud to be part of an industry that has already made significant contributions this year to help those less fortunate and look forward to participating in the ‘Give-a-Ham’ challenge, paying it forward with pork,” Roth added.

On Twitter, Wakefield Pork Twitter tweeted, “We Care. Even in a challenging year like 2020, we remain committed to those in need in our communities. This year we donated 11 Thanksgiving meals to local families in need. We are proud to #GiveAHam this holiday season! Will you join us & #GiveAHam to someone in your community?”

Even though this year has been tough for so many, but that hasn’t stopped pork producers from helping their local community members. Participants are encouraged to share their stories on social media using the #GiveaHam hashtag.

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Read Thanksgiving food dollar

Farmers earn 11.9 cents of Thanksgiving food dollar

While you are shopping for your Thanksgiving meal, you might wonder how much money goes back to the farmer. For every dollar Americans spend on their Thanksgiving dinner this year, farmers and ranchers will earn approximately 11.9 cents, according to National Farmers Union. This marks a decline from 2019, when farmers claimed 12.15 cents of the Thanksgiving food dollar.

Though farmers’ increasingly small share of food expenditures could be blamed on dropping commodity prices in years past, that isn’t the case this Thanksgiving; after cratering during the pandemic, prices for many agricultural products have mostly recovered. Instead, the shift can be attributed to higher grocery bills. In the last 12 months, food prices have risen nearly 4 percent, far outpacing the 1.4 percent rate of overall inflation.

The rise in food prices couldn’t come at a worse time for American families, who are experiencing elevated rates of unemployment and food insecurity as a result of the covid-19 pandemic. “Ordinarily, Thanksgiving is a time to gather with our loved ones and enjoy a big meal,” said NFU President Rob Larew. “But for many Americans, the typical, food-filled get-together won’t be possible, and not just because of public health concerns. With millions out of work and no additional government support in sight, the cost of traditional holiday foods may simply be out of reach for some families.”

Since the beginning of the pandemic, NFU has been pushing legislators to expand the nutrition safety net in order to offset an abrupt rise in food insecurity. Congress took some steps to do so with the passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in March, which added $15.5 billion to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in order to accommodate more participants and facilitated the redistribution of surplus food from farmers to food banks. In the subsequent eight months, however, most of the CARES Act funding has been spent, and there has been little progress towards securing additional support for nutrition assistance programs.

“As cases continue to rise across the country and safety measures are put in place, it’s clear that we have a long ways to go with economic recovery,” said Larew. “In the meantime, it is a moral imperative that we ensure every single American has access to the food they need. By far the most cost-effective and efficient way legislators can achieve that is by expanding SNAP benefits.”

Even though consumers are paying 4 percent more for food, almost none of that is being passed on to farmers and ranchers. Instead, it’s being captured by the processors, packers, distributors, and retailers in between. Nowhere has this been more evident than the meat sector; retail beef prices have increased more than 10 percent over the last 12 months, but ranchers are earning essentially the same amount for cattle as they were a year ago.

The disparity is largely due to the overwhelming market power held by the largest beef packers, Larew indicated. “Lax antitrust enforcement has allowed just four corporations to take over 85 percent of beef slaughtering and packing in the United States. As a result, those companies are able to manipulate farmers’ and consumers’ prices to their advantage — and, as we’ve seen again and again, they do just that,” he said. “The key to ensuring farmers a fair price isn’t charging consumers astronomical prices ­– it’s breaking up these companies and restoring competition to the market.”

The Farmers’ Share is based on calculations derived from the monthly Agriculture Prices report produced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service and price points of common grocery food items at Safeway supermarket. The farmer’s share of retail turkey sales is reported by the Contract Poultry Growers Association of the Virginias, as national data on farm prices for turkey does not reflect the amount turkey growers receive.

The Thanksgiving Farmers’ Share can be viewed and downloaded here.

Read The Farm Must Go On

John Deere hosts contest to meet top country music artists

John Deere and top country artists Dustin Lynch, Maddie & Tae, Mickey Guyton, Travis Denning, and Tyler Farr are coming together to raise money for farmers in need. On December 9, these musicians will be performing at The Farm Must Go On by John Deere virtual benefit concert. Fans can join John Deere in its support for Farm Rescue with the chance to win exclusive virtual meet and greets with the performing artists.

To enter, fans can show support by donating a minimum of $10 here.

  • Contestants may enter up to 10 times to win a one-on-one virtual meet and greet with one of The Farm Must Go On by John Deere performing artists.
  • Upon entering, contestants select which artist they would like to meet.
  • Winners will be randomly selected and contacted via email following the concert to be notified of the exact time and provided access details.
  • See full contest rules for more information.*

All donations raised through the virtual meet and greet will support Farm Rescue, a nonprofit partner that helps farmer families suffering from illness, injury, or natural disaster to plant, hay or harvest their crop. To learn more about the concert visit the Farm Must Go On website. 

More about The Farm Must Go On by John Deere

John Deere is committed to ensuring all farmers have access to the vital resources they need to leap forward and sustain their farms for generations to come. Farm Rescue is a nonprofit organization, that helps farmers and ranchers overcome adversities and continue their farming and ranching operations. John Deere is the official equipment partner of Farm Rescue. Working together with its dealers, John Deere provides Farm Rescue with free access to its latest machines and technologies so that Farm Rescue’s work can continue and grow.

The Farm Must Go On by John Deere will live stream on YouTube free of charge on Dec. 9 at 8 p.m. EST. All proceeds from the event will go directly to Farm Rescue to provide its volunteer workforce with meals and lodging, as well as putting fuel in vehicles and machinery to allow them to do what they do best: support those who can never push pause. The concert lineup includes Dustin Lynch, Maddie & Tae, Mickey Guyton, Travis Denning and Tyler Farr and fans will have a chance to enter to win a live, one-on-one meet and greet with one of the artists.

Click here for official rules, including how to enter, free method of entry instructions, odds, prize details and restrictions. 

 

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FFA
Read FFA members

FFA members give back to their communities this fall

Thanksgiving might look a little different this year–not as many large family gatherings, not as many in-person Black Friday sales–but FFA members around the country are working together to ensure their communities still have the food they need.

For example, the FFA members at the Lawrence Free State High School FFA in Kansas worked on gleaning from local gardens and/or farms, while members of the Tillamook FFA in Oregon organized a food drive and members of the Faded Blues Alumni FFA in North Carolina organized a food drive and developed a community garden. Many other members participated in food drives and gleaning gardens as well as creating food pantries.

It’s all part of the National Days of Service program through the National FFA Organization. Traditionally, members who attend the National FFA Convention & Expo participate in National Days of Service (NDoS), giving back to the community hosting the event. This year, the convention went virtual–so the National Days of Service program challenged members across the country to give back where they live. It’s all part of a bigger initiative by the organization to have nationwide community engagement programs for NDoS, sponsored by CoBank and Tractor Supply Company.

There were four areas that chapters were encouraged to explore: community safety; hunger, health and nutrition; environmental responsibility; and community engagement.

While more than 4,855 volunteers from 318 chapters across the country participated in the National Days of Service overall (from 45 states as well as Puerto Rico), 115 chapters focused specifically on hunger, health and nutrition. In fact, more than 1,512 members volunteered for a total of 5,691 hours. (Thirty-six states and Puerto Rico participated in this area for the National Days of Service.)

“We know service is an important part of the FFA experience for our members,” said Michele Sullivan, senior manager of local engagement for the National FFA Organization. “With convention going virtual this year, FFA was excited to launch the first-ever National Days of Service set to take place across the country. Members stepped up and put their leadership into action by serving their community in need. We plan to continue the virtual National Days of Service, along-side our in-person event, for years to come.”

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