The New Year is a great time to assess the state of things, and I decided to take a look back at the charitable work in agriculture this past year. Not surprisingly, our industry always comes through big. Farmers across the country give big through their local churches, food pantries and other charitable organizations. And agribusinesses pool their resources for some extra giving around the holidays as well. Here are 12 such examples that the AgWeb editors spotted this Christmastime.
1. AGCO has donated a new Massey Ferguson tractor to Atlanta-based Piedmont Park Conservancy. The tractor, valued at nearly $50,000 including accessories, maintenance and training, will be used for park maintenance and improvements. Piedmont Park Conservancy is a popular urban green space that Atlanta residents have enjoyed for more than 100 years.
2. Syngenta extends its FFA jacket support to 2013. More than a half a million high school students representing all 50 states wear the iconic blue jacket today. Syngenta and its retail partners have been donating $500 at a time to various local FFA chapters since 2008. Over time, that money has added up in a big way—more than $2.6 million has been donated to date.
3. Farm Aid’s grant program tallied up to $532,000 that benefited 67 different family farms in 2012. Farm Aid money is specifically raised to help farm families stay on their land and help build new market opportunities for them.
4. ArborGen donated 75,000 longleaf pine seedlings to the Dixie Plantation, a historic 881-acre property along the Stono River and the Intercoastal Waterway in South Carolina. The donation is expected to strengthen the plantation’s rich ecosystem of longleaf pine forests, wetlands, savannahs and tidal marshes.
5. The Trees for Troops initiative also had a busy 2012. Donations go to providing Christmas trees for military families. This year, the organization delivered more than 121,000 trees to 62 military bases in the U.S. and Middle East, covering every branch of the armed services.
6. ADM employees donate more than 245,000 pounds of food in observation of World Food Day on October 16. Donations were made in 29 communities in six different countries. ADM also announced in October that it was contributing $1 million to Feeding America to fund 30 mobile food distribution units in 21 states.
7. Pork Checkoff's event trailer headed to the East Coast in November to assist in feeding victims of Hurricane Sandy. A total of 9,000 servings (200 boneless loins, 306 boneless half loins, 64 cases of brat patties and two cases of Italian sausage grillers) were distributed to New Jersey residents.
8. Many other companies made monetary donations to Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. Among the notable donations were Bayer CropScience ($150,000) and FMC ($75,000).
9. Burrus Hybrids purchased a raffle ticket to win a custom pink motorcycle named "Fight Like a Girl" for a fundraiser for Illinois-based Shelby Memorial Hospital. Shelbyville resident Steve Koontz constructed the bike for his co-worker, Vicky Wagner, as a fundraising idea for SMH to help offset some of Wagner’s medical expenses when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Burrus beat the odds and won the raffle—and donated it to SMH, who sold it back to Koontz. "This is one of those situations that was totally unexpected, but really ends up making an enormous difference," president Tom Burrus says. "It’s great to see the proceeds directly reaching people who really need the assistance, and need it right away."
10. Monsanto donated $3 million to the Missouri Botanical Garden this past summer. The money will be used to help the World Flora Online project develop the first-ever comprehensive, authoritative and accessible online resource for the world's approximately 400,000 known plant species.
11. Time is money, and nearly 22,000 USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Earth Team volunteers gave time to private lands conservation last year, tallying more than 435,000 hours of service on America's farms and ranches. Translated into dollars, the value of those donated services totaled $9.3 million.
12. America’s egg farmers gave nearly 10 million eggs to hungry Americans this past Easter. The fresh eggs were shipped to Feeding America's 78 food banks in 40 states. Since 2008, egg farmers have contributed 60 million eggs in total.