I probably don’t need to remind you that the world has drastically changed over the last two months. We have overworked hospital staff, unemployed restaurant folks, and the rest of us going stir crazy, And that doesn’t include the people who are sick and actually fighting this virus that’s ruined everything.
But in all seriousness, we’ve also seen heroes emerge during these trying times. Lots of people, organizations, and companies have come to the plate and found creative ways to give back. Because we’re all in this together, even while we stay apart.
So I want to highlight some of the agriculture companies — big and small — that are finding ways to support our communities during these difficult times. This isn’t an exhaustive list, and I’d love to hear about others in the comments, but these are the nine that have been most on my radar in recent weeks:
Company: Western New York Energy
What they do: Produce ethanol
How they’re helping: The plant has modified operations so it can provide 100,000 gallons a day of tech-grade ethanol. The ethanol is then used to produce hand sanitizer. Markets were disrupted when the demand for sanitizer went through the roof, and WNYE was there to help.
What they do: Produces various pesticides, including seed treatments
How they’re helping: They started manufacturing hand sanitizer at their New Jersey facility, and donating it to New York and New Jersey. They later converted part of a Michigan facility to make hand sanitizer. They donated the first 1,000 gallons to the Henry Ford Health System.
Company: Key Dollar Cab
What they do: Design and produce cab tractors for use in orchards
How they’re helping: Key Dollar Cab set a goal at the beginning of April: produce 1,000 face shields for health workers in Modesto, California, where the company is based. The company flipped its production to face shields and started raising money to help cover the costs. So far they’ve raised over $7,000 (the original goal was $5,000) and delivered hundreds of masks.
Company: The Maschoffs
What they do: Hhog production
How they’re helping: The Maschoffs are handing out — what else? — hams! They’ve donated over 2,500 hams to their local communities, including to firefighters, police officers, first responders, schools, and churches.
Organization: Dairy Farmers of America
What they do: Dairy cooperative
How they’re helping: DFA is working to raise $500,000 for community food banks across the United States. They’re also working with producers to find homes for excess milk products caused by disruptions in the marketplace.
Company: Smithfield Foods
What they do: Meat processing company
How they’re helping: Smithfield has teamed up with Feeding America to support food banks around the United States. Smithfield is donating 400 million servings of protein to Feeding America and helping raise money so that everyone can have food on the table during these difficult times.
Company: DeLaval USA
What they do: Manufactures milking equipment
How they’re helping: Tetra Laval Group, DeLaval USA’s parent company donated €10 million to voluntary organizations supporting healthcare workers. The money was donated in every country where the company has operations.
Company: Tyson Foods
What they do: Food processing
How they’re helping: Tyson Foods is all over the coronavirus response! They’ve donated over 30 million meals, partnered with Meals on Wheels in the Springdale, Arkansas, community, and given their workers bonuses. They’ve also donated 12,000 face masks to health care workers.
What they do: Cultivate tomorrow’s agricultural leaders
How they’re helping: As AGDAILY reported this week, FFA chapters across the country and banding together to offer support in different ways. In Indiana and Wisconsin, they’re buying up excess dairy products and donating it. In Rhode Island, the focus is on local egg production.
Obviously, I’ve missed some important ones! Again, please feel free to comment and let me know what your favorite agriculture companies are doing to support our communities now.
Amanda Zaluckyj blogs under the name The Farmer’s Daughter USA. Her goal is to promote farmers and tackle the misinformation swirling around the U.S. food industry.