Farmers, FFA Students Hit New Record with Food Drive

More than 16,800 pounds of food to benefit Decatur-area rural families thanks for Farm Progress Show Food Drive.

Published on: Nov 7, 2011

The America’s Farmers Food Drive, held at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Ill., collected a record amount of food donations this year.  Farmers and FFA chapters visiting the show donated an amazing 16,883 pounds of food and more than $3,290 in cash.  With the $1 per pound match from Monsanto, the food drive raised the equivalent of 30,173 pounds of food for needy families in the Decatur area.  

Monsanto Company, Farm Progress and the United Way of Decatur and Mid-Illinois sponsored the America’s Farmers Food Drive to benefit local food pantries.  One in seven rural households struggle with hunger and an estimated 2.8 million households in rural America need food assistance. All donations will benefit the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities and Northeast Community Fund pantries.  Each pantry serves approximately 1,000 individuals per month in the Decatur area.

Rural families around Decatur, Ill., will eat a little better thanks to the efforts of farmers and FFA members during the 2011 Farm Progress Show.
Rural families around Decatur, Ill., will eat a little better thanks to the efforts of farmers and FFA members during the 2011 Farm Progress Show.

“As a company that focuses solely on the agriculture industry, Monsanto is keenly aware of all that America’s farmers do to feed our communities. We wanted to honor that with the America’s Farmers Food Drive,” explained Linda Arnold, Monsanto Customer Outreach Lead. “And just as America’s farmers meet the daily demands of a growing population, the farmers and FFA students visiting the Farm Progress Show rose to the occasion again and donated an astounding 16,800 pounds of food.”

United Way volunteers collected food and cash donations throughout the three-day show.  Illinois FFA students donated more than 13,000 pounds of food. Students from the Highland High School FFA donated the largest amount of non-perishable food with 892 pounds.

“The results show that farmers and FFA students understand the impact of hunger on children, families and our communities.  United Way shares our sincere gratitude to the farmers, students, volunteers and Monsanto for their generous contributions that made the food drive a success,” said Chad Clevenger, director of community impact with United Way of Decatur and Mid-Illinois.

This is the third time for Monsanto, Farm Progress and United Way to co-host a food drive at the Farm Progress Show, and the second time at the Decatur location.  The 2009 Decatur Farm Progress Show food drive successfully raised 14,500 pounds of food and $4,000 in donations for the local community.

"Farm Progress has a long-standing dedication to rural communities and is proud to work with Monsanto to help meet the needs of the area food pantry shelves and the residents who benefit from this program," said Matt Jungmann, Farm Progress events manager.  "We look forward to working with Monsanto on related projects during future shows, as well."

Monsanto production and research facility employees in Illinois also hosted food drives from August 1-31 to benefit their local communities.  Participating facilities in Ashton, Centralia, Jerseyville, Mason City, Stonington and Waterman raised nearly 4,500 pounds of food.