Farm Talk

May 22, 2013

4-H members in SW Mo., fight hunger with program


CNHI

Parsons, Kansas — Statewide, 4-H members are seeking donations from Missouri farmers for the Invest an Acre program as part of a 4-H Revolution of Responsibility campaign to find solutions to hunger through community service.

Promotion of the Invest an Acre program by 4-H clubs includes awareness building ranging from hosting meals and display booths, speaking at farmer meetings to even passing out snacks at grain elevators to organizing food drives and constructing and planting community gardens.

Farmers can make an Invest an Acre donation from the proceeds of their harvest at the grain elevator where they do business. Pledge cards can be filled out at any time during the growing season, at harvest or at the time of delivery to the elevator.

Elevators receive tax-deductible donations from farmers and send them to Feeding America, a nationwide network of food banks. Every dollar donated by farmers goes back to the food bank serving the multi-county region where they live.

Invest an Acre sponsors say efforts by 4-H and other partnering organizations are key to making the program accessible to “any Missouri farmer, any location, any time.”

More than one in five children in Missouri do not have enough nutritious food to eat, and 4-H members want to change this, says University of Missouri Extension 4-H youth development specialist Steve Henness.

“When children do not have enough to eat, their health and well-being is affected, which also puts them at greater risk academically,” said Henness. “4-H youth are inviting farmers and their communities to join in the fight because we know hunger is really not a game.”

Barton and Dade Counties

In Barton County, 4-H clover kids participated in a “Down on the Farm” event April 20. Special activities were designed to help the youngsters learn how to get along and share with others , explore different interests, learn basic life skills, build self-confidence, learn how to communicate effectively and be a part of a group. The Barton County 4-H Teen leaders planned “Down on the Farm” to introduce farming to young children.

In Dade County, 4-H Youth Program Associate Becky Fay is working with local students to promote the “Invest an Acre” program. She is also working on a Farm to School initiative, which is giving 4-H’ers access to farmers.

In both counties, 4-H members are talking with community groups and community leaders about the “Invest an Acre” program.

Sponsors and More

The Invest an Acre program is sponsored by ADM, the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Monsanto and Feeding America. Missouri ADM elevators can process donations in Audrain, Knox, Lewis, Linn, New Madrid, Ralls, Shelby, St. Louis, Stoddard and Vernon counties.

Monsanto has committed to match Invest an Acre farmer donations nationally dollar-for-dollar, up to $675,000 this year.

The Missouri Agribusiness Association, Missouri Farm Bureau, Missouri Farmers Care and the Missouri Food Bank Association are promoting the program to give more farmers opportunities to participate. Any grain elevator can receive and process Invest an Acre donations with a letter printed from the Website.

For more information, please visit www.investanacre.org or 4h.missouri. edu/programs/hunger. Persons wanting to know more about the “Invest an Acre” program can also contact Steven Henness at 573-884-6618.

For information on 4-H contact any of these 4-H youth development specialists in southwest Missouri: Karla Deaver in Lawrence County at (417) 466-3102; Velynda Cameron in Polk County at (417) 326-4916; Bob McNary in Jasper County at (417) 358-2158; Amy Patillo in Howell County at (417) 256-2391; or Jeremy Elliott-Engel in Newton County at (417) 455-9500. £