For the second year in a row, Iowa FFA received funding through Farmland’s Honoring the Heartland program. The $9,000 donation, delivered last week in Des Moines, included an additional 50% match of $4,500 from an anonymous donor, bringing the total award to $13,500.

The organization has set aside $4,000 of the grant money to be awarded to two local FFA chapters for community service efforts. Additional funds will be designated to the building fund and other efforts at the FFA Enrichment Center on the Des Moines Area Community College campus in Ankeny.

“Not only are we giving an opportunity for two chapters to get some grant money out of this and do a community service project,” noted George Martin, Iowa FFA state vice president for southwest Iowa, “we’ll also have the opportunity to build leaders through our work at the FFA Enrichment Center.”

Iowa FFA State President Sam Martin added, “Part of FFA is our mission: Living to serve. That’s something we’ve really tried to put out there, especially during the pandemic. We’re giving back to our communities and trying to build up those communities that we’re in.”

Pork donation
In addition to the grant to FFA, Farmland teamed with the National Pork Board, Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) and country musician Luke Bryan’s Farm Tour to donate food to local food banks across the Midwest in September, including 30,000 pounds of pork products dropped off at the Food Bank of Iowa. 

“We’re grateful … 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.”  

FFA members joined officials from IPPA, Food Bank of Iowa and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig in unloading a portion of the delivery. 

“Unfortunately, the historic and unprecedented disruption (the COVID-19 pandemic) has caused to each of our lives in the last couple of years has continued,” Naig said. “It only underscored the importance of our food banks and food pantries. In fact, we are seeing increasing need even today.”

More people in need
Food Bank of Iowa estimates they served 136,000 individuals and 50,000 households in July alone, 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,” a statement from Food Bank of Iowa noted.

“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 IPPA. 

“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,” she noted. “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.