Farmland recently launched year two of its Honoring the Heartland Tour to invest in the next generation of agricultural leaders, show appreciation to hardworking farming communities, and support neighborhoods rooted in the Midwest through protein-rich food donations. This week, the tour stopped in Des Moines to recognize two important Iowa organizations.
Farmland teamed up with the National Pork Board, Iowa Pork Producers Association, and country music superstar Luke Bryan’s Farm Tour to help fight food insecurity across the Heartland in September, contributing over 30,000 pounds of protein to the Food Bank of Iowa. With six Farm Tour stops including a stop in Boone, Iowa, Farmland and the National Pork Board will donate truckloads of protein to local food banks in Iowa, Nebraska, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, and Minnesota, for an estimated 1 million servings of protein.
Food Bank of Iowa continues to serve a record number of children, families, seniors, and veterans, providing food assistance to more than 136,000 individuals and 50,000 households in July — the highest number in the food bank’s 40-year history. With soaring inflation and food costs, fewer retail donations and rising need, sourcing enough lean protein is an urgent and pressing need for food banks. Protein-rich foods are crucial in the fight against hunger and one of the most valuable resources food banks distribute to pantries and meal sites.
To further say thanks to those making an impact locally, Farmland’s food truck provided meals to Food Bank employees and volunteers at the event.
“We’re grateful to the teams at Farmland, National Pork Board, Iowa Pork Producers Association, and Luke Bryan’s Farm Tour for their generous contribution,” said Michele Book, Food Bank of Iowa CEO. “Three hundred thousand Iowans face food insecurity and one-third of them are children. This donation will make a meaningful difference as we work to put food on the table for Iowans in need. Our greatest and constant need is meat. This protein-rich donation could not have come at a better time.”
“During the past three years, Iowa’s pig farmers — both as individuals and collectively through the Iowa Pork Producers Association – have donated a million pork servings to the people of Iowa,” said Trish Cook, Iowa pig farmer and president-elect for the Iowa Pork Producers Association. “We’re excited that with the support of Farmland and Luke Bryan’s Farm Tour, another 130,000 pork servings will be distributed through the Food Bank of Iowa to those who are food insecure. Iowa’s pig farmers focus on producing safe and nutritious protein, and making sure our fellow Iowans have access to that protein is just one way that we show our care for our local communities.”
Throughout the state of Iowa, 5,418 pig farmers pride themselves in nourishing families and communities by raising nutritious food, providing 147,105 jobs, and contributing $40.8 billion in economic value to the state.
“The aftermath of inflation is profoundly present in households across the Midwest as many families struggle to balance rising food costs with the other demands of life,” said Jonathan Toms, senior community affairs manager for Smithfield Foods. “Farmland is honored to provide the food bank with much-needed protein during this difficult time and support their tireless efforts to combat food insecurity in America’s heartland.”
Farmland is simultaneously working to strengthen the agricultural industry with its continued partnership with FFA. During the presentation at Food Bank of Iowa, Farmland also made a $9,000 donation to the Iowa FFA Association to support its mission to develop its more than 18,600 students’ potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success, as well as to fund community service projects. With 1 in 5 Iowans directly employed in agriculture, institutions like this are vital in creating the next generation of leaders and ensuring a positive future for the category.
“Through this generous gift, students will be able to take the next step in their leadership and career journey through many Iowa FFA conferences and events,” said Joshua Remington, executive director for the Iowa FFA Foundation. “Finding talented individuals to serve in our workforce is one of the most difficult challenges for many industries – especially agriculture. Through this donation, the Iowa FFA can continue to develop the next generation of young leaders to fill this critical need. We are proud to partner with Farmland to help make this possible.”
“Farmland is honored to support the Iowa FFA Association in its well-rounded approach to help students and alumni develop their personal and professional potential through agriculture education,” said Jessica Scarlett, senior associate brand manager for Farmland at Smithfield Foods. “We’re humbled to know that our contribution here in Iowa will extend into many arms of the community through the meaningful work of FFA’s great minds.”