This summer, Farmland® launched year two of its Honoring the Heartland Tour to invest in the next generation of the agricultural industry, show appreciation to hardworking farming communities, and support neighborhoods rooted in the Midwest through protein-rich food donations. Earlier today, the tour stopped in Omaha to recognize two admirable Nebraska organizations.
During a presentation at Food Bank for the Heartland, Farmland made a $9,000 donation to the Nebraska FFA Association to support its mission and fund community service projects. With so many Nebraskans directly employed in agriculture, institutions like this are vital in creating the next generation of leaders and ensuring a positive future for the category.
“Young people are one of our greatest assets when it comes to the future of agriculture and localized farming in America’s heartland,” said Jessica Scarlett, senior associate brand manager for Farmland at Smithfield Foods. “Farmland is pleased to share this donation with the Nebraska FFA Association to support students in their endeavors as they strive to make a positive impact within their communities.”
“We are so grateful for the support of Farmland. Their donation to the Nebraska FFA Foundation will help students learn to be successful leaders and community members,” said Stacey Agnew, executive director for the Nebraska FFA Foundation. “With one in four jobs in Nebraska related to agriculture, this helps set our students up with the knowledge, skills, and interest needed to have a successful career in agriculture, food, and natural resources. Partners like Farmland are essential as we invest in over 12,000 FFA members and their advisors, to grow leaders, build communities and create career connections.”
In addition, Farmland is simultaneously working to keep Midwest neighborhoods strong by alleviating hunger. In its efforts, the brand teamed up with the National Pork Board, Nebraska Pork Producers Association, and country superstar Luke Bryan’s Farm Tour to help fight food insecurity with a contribution of nearly 30,000 pounds of protein to Food Bank for the Heartland. With six Farm Tour stops across the Midwest this September (including a stop in Murdock, Nebraska), Farmland and the National Pork Board will be donating truckloads of protein to local food banks in Nebraska, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa, and Minnesota, totaling an estimated one million servings of protein.
Food Bank for the Heartland reported that the organization has never experienced such a sustained hunger crisis in its 40-year history due to the implications of inflation. The effects have caused significant cost spikes across all aspects of operation, including sourcing, purchasing, storing, and distributing food. Concurrently, Food Bank for the Heartland has seen significant increases in the number of households served across their service area – eclipsing those seen during the height of the pandemic. And with food prices rising, especially for meat, fish and poultry, the crisis has forced Heartland families to make impossible decisions between paying for groceries and other necessities like rent and medication.
To further say thanks to those making an impact locally during these challenging past years and beyond, Farmland’s food truck provided meals to Food Bank employees and volunteers at the event.
“We are tremendously grateful to the teams at Farmland, National Pork Board, Nebraska Pork Producers Association, and Luke Bryan’s Farm Tour for their continued support of our mission at the Food Bank,” said Brian Barks, President and CEO at Food Bank for the Heartland. “This donation could not come at a better time, as protein-rich foods play an important role in our fight against hunger and inflation has made protein less accessible to families and individuals. This generous donation will help us provide critical nutrition to more neighbors in need, allowing them to focus, work, live, and thrive. We are also thankful for Farmland for bringing their food truck to our facility to feed our hard-working staff.”
“The current economic climate has left many families in survival mode as high inflation is forcing many to grapple with rising food costs,” said Jonathan Toms, senior community affairs manager for Smithfield Foods. “We’re grateful to be able to provide high-quality protein – one of the most valuable resources food banks distribute – to Food Bank for the Heartland, so we can assist in their mission to fight food insecurity across the Midwest during this very challenging time.”
“Caring for our communities is at the heart of what pig farmers do every day, which is why we are excited to give back at this scale with the support of Farmland and Luke Bryan,” said Russ Vering, Nebraska pig farmer and representative for Nebraska Pork Producers Association. “The state’s 1,230 pig farmers take pride in helping nourish families and communities by raising nutritious food, providing 17,866 jobs and contributing $1.66 billion in economic value to Nebraska.”
For more information and to see where the Farmland Honoring the Heartland Tour goes next, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter @FarmlandFoods and visit www.farmlandfoods.com.