Food and Farm Support Fund established to help state 26.2 Marathon
Rural Mutual Insurance Company and the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation (WFBF), have established the Wisconsin Food and Farm Support Fund, to raise money for established non-profits that can help Wisconsinites during the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative brings together two additional key partners, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, and The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP).
“We wanted to do something on a statelevel that would not only help people in need, but also our farmers,” said Wisconsin Farm Bureau president and Rural Mutual Insurance president Joe Bragger. “In order to provide help in a variety of ways, each entity took one initiative to focus on, so that we could assist a larger base of people.”
Rural Mutual will focus on collecting funds for Feeding Wisconsin, which is the statewide association of the Feeding America food banks, that sources, warehouses and provides food, to over 750 affiliated agencies and 1,000 local food programs throughout the state.
“Over the past six weeks, demand at the local food pantries have more than doubled, but the donations to the pantries have slowed to half of their normal collections,” said Jason Feist, Rural Mutual VP of customer acquisition and service. “We wanted to partner with an organization that would keep supplies moving, while helping families in need.”
This effort will include Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, the non-profit organization representing the state’s dairy farm families, and the DATCP. Through the joint effort, the partners will work on connecting processors to make dairy-specific donations.
The partnership will provide movement/ consumption of milk and other Wisconsin agriculture products, to ensure farmers continue to have a place to sell their products and provide Wisconsinites access to these nutritious high-quality products. The DATCP will also continue its work to connect dots with producers in a variety of other commodities. This will not only benefit the state’s farmers by keeping product moving, but also help feed Wisconsinites in need.
Since the Safer at Home order was put in place March 24, Wisconsin dairy farmers, processors and communities, have joined forces to provide more than 10 million pounds of dairy products on a milk equivalency basis (representing more than 1.2 million gallons of milk) to the state’s growing number of individuals in need of assistance.
The WFBF will focus on collecting funds and create awareness for Harvest of Hope, which provides financial help to Wisconsin farm families in times of need. The Harvest of Hope Fund provides grants to farm families who need financial assistance to meet emergency needs for food, home heating fuel, medical or veterinary expenses, electric power cut-offs, climatic conditions (drought, floods, frost, hail), feed for cattle, machinery repair, re-training or other immediate situations.
Funding is also available to purchase seed, fertilizer, fuel and other supplies needed.
“It’s been a tough climate for our state’s farmers the last five years, and now we have been hit by this unannounced pandemic,” said WFBF’s interim chief administrative officer Dave Daniels. “Harvest of Hope is a unique organization that grants money to farmers who need assistance in unprecedented times. It’s an appropriate time to support this well-respected organization.”
To learn more about the Wisconsin Food and Farm Support Fund, visit ruralmutual. com or wfbf.com. Producers, processors and distributors of non-dairy commodities who are interested in finding ways to get their products to consumers experiencing food insecurity, should contact the DATCP by emailing [email protected]