One-Acre Donation

March 11, 2010 06:00 PM

The nation's soybean producers are undertaking a massive humanitarian effort to bring nutrition and hope to developing countries throughout the world. The World Soy Foundation (WSF) has issued a challenge to all U.S. soybean producers to donate at least one acre of production to fund its cause.

WSF is a farmer-run and -funded organization that helps undernourished people receive needed nutrition and encourages them to build a business at the same time.

"WSF receives no checkoff money. It is entirely privately funded by charitable gifts from industry supporters and producer funding. We want more farm partners through the Acre Challenge,” says Roy Bardole, a soybean producer from Rippey, Iowa, and the chairman of WSF.

The program was started two years ago and is a 501c3 corporation. All gifts to WSF are tax-deductible. The group wants farmers to take their average per-acre soybean yield, multiply by their selling price and donate that amount to the foundation.

How it works. WSF works with contractors, such as World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH), to see that the money is used to fund nutrition projects in developing countries, which are primarily in the Caribbean, Central America and some parts of Africa. Nathan Ruby, executive director of WSF, points to successful programs in Nicaragua and Guatemala using VitaGoat and SoyCow.

The two machines enable people in these countries to mix 1 lb. of soybeans with 4 gal. of water to produce soymilk. "After about 30 minutes of processing, they will end up with about 4 gal. of soymilk,” Ruby says.

"Our goal is not for them to just consume the milk. We are encouraging them to take the product and sell it in order to start a small business. We're helping them with that, too,” he adds.

The first round of soybeans are donated by WSF, with the intent that milk producers will purchase later supplies of soybeans. "This helps teach independence and trains them to run a business,” Ruby says.

Andy Welden, a Jonesville, Mich., soybean producer, is one farmer who has taken the challenge. "I'm doing this because it's a humanitarian effort,” he says. "I've had 30 years on our state checkoff board and that's about the money, and our mission was to improve profitability for soybean farmers. But one thing that stands out about this is it's about improving human health.”

Haiti relief. WSF has also been active in Haiti since devastating earthquakes hit the island in January. The group is sending soy cookies to aid in the current recovery efforts and it has plans to be there long after the television cameras and the media leave, with programs similar to the VitaGoat and SoyCow programs it is running in Central America.

You can e-mail Greg Vincent at

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