Iowa farmers, heralded around the globe for their ability to grow an abundance of food, are coming together to help the state’s residents most in need: families who must rely on food banks to fill their pantries. Because of overwhelming demand, the shelves are emptying out at food banks across the state, which is why hundreds of young farmers from Iowa Farm Bureau came together and raised $5,515 for the Food Bank of Iowa.

More than 550 farmers attended the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) Young Farmer Conference in early February and many donated to the Food Bank of Iowa by purchasing special farm-themed merchandise. Even though tight margins affect farmers across the state, helping the hungry has always been a priority.

“One in eight Iowans are hungry. One in every five Iowa children are ‘food insecure,’ meaning they don’t have consistent access to enough food, or the kind of food needed to be healthy and active. That just won’t do,” says Mike Jackson, IFBF young farmer chairperson. “Iowa farmers find pride in raising livestock and crops that feed their communities, and it’s important to us that fellow Iowans are fed. Supporting food banks throughout the state is another way of accomplishing that.”

For every dollar raised, 4.5 meals are provided to hungry Iowans, meaning Iowa Farm Bureau’s young farmers have helped provide nearly 25,000 meals for hungry Iowans this winter.