American Farm Bureau Federation recognized New York Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers program for donating more than 7.3 million pounds of food to regional food banks across the state in 2019.
This was the second highest donation total in the country, behind Florida. YF&R committees throughout New York raised $14,421 in donations and performed 223 hours of volunteer work for area food banks.
Food is collected through Harvest for All, a national farm donation partnership linking Farm Bureau and Feeding America in each state. In New York, NYFB’s YF&R Committee and Feeding New York State administer the partnership. Food goes to the 10 Feeding America food banks throughout the state.
“Despite all the challenges farmers faced last year, their donations of more than 7 million pounds of food is still a significant number,” NYFB President David Fisher said. “It reflects that even when times are tough, farmers step up to care for their neighbors and provide for their communities.
“We are proud to continue this great partnership with Feeding New York State and our outstanding regional food banks. I would like to thank all the farmers who have given during this past year and the regional food banks for helping get the food from the farm fields to people in need.”
NYFB’s YF&R Committee also received the Most Innovative Award from AFBF for its efforts to use Livingston County Farm Bureau’s Farm Fest event last September to assist with food collection efforts. Attendees helped pick sweet corn that was delivered to the Avon Food Pantry.
Sweet corn seed was donated by local dealer Seedway LLC. Mulligan Farm then planted and maintained the sweet corn throughout the summer. Two planting dates were scheduled in hopes of the corn being ready for the day of Farm Fest. The event had volunteers at each station who assisted with picking and placing the corn into bags so it could be transported.
NYFB’s YF&R program was awarded two $250 checks for its efforts that will go to Feeding New York State.
“The YF&R members are proud to support the Harvest for All program for more than 15 years,” said Christina Kohler, who chairs NYFB’s YF&R program. “In that time, farms in New York have given almost 106 million pounds of food to support the work by the regional food banks in our state. That translates into more than 88 million meals.
“Our members also volunteer with gleaning projects and fundraisers to make more fresh food accessible to New Yorkers in need. We look forward to continuing this partnership, and we encourage farmers across the state to remember their local food banks as an important way to give back or when they have excess product that would otherwise go to waste.”
Dan Egan, executive director of Feeding New York State, said, “The food banks of New York state are deeply grateful for the generous donations of fresh food from New York’s farmers. It was a difficult year, but once again New York farmers stepped up and provided high quality food to our neighbors in need. In communities large and small, there are hungry people who would not be able to eat fresh food were it not for New York’s farmers. Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts.”