Farm industry feeds communities

With Thanksgiving a mere week away, most of us are anxiously waiting for a day of feasting, though many Americans aren’t fortunate enough to look forward to such food gluttony.

According to the USDA, more than 49 million Americans, one in six people, are food insecure. To help support our country’s food needs, Halex GT, a corn herbicide from agribusiness company Syngenta, partnered with Feeding America, the leading domestic hunger-relief charity, earlier this year.

“Syngenta is helping to weed out hunger one row at a time,” states the company, with the clever campaign tagline of, “Good for communities, good for corn.”
A portion of each sale of Halex GT benefited some of the organization’s 200 food banks dispersed throughout each of the fifty states.

For being a significantly developed country, our country’s hunger prevalence is alarming.

American Hunger Facts (
• More than 2 million rural households are food insecure
• One in eight Americans doesn’t have access to enough food
• There are 16.7 million children who live in food insecure households
• In 2009, 46 percent more people visited a hunger-relief charity than in 2005

Hunger facts are even more distressing when they hit close to home.

The Columbus Dispatch reported recently that Ohio has broken into the top 10 states for hunger, as about one in every seven households struggled or did not have enough money to buy food in 2009. Nearly 680,000 Ohio families – 14.8 percent – were found to be "food insecure" at some point in 2009. More than 1.9 million Ohioans visited a food pantry during the last quarter. Since 2007, demand at Buckeye State pantries has increased by nearly 69 percent.

The agriculture industry is vital to addressing food scarcity. U.S. farmers take on the huge responsibility of feeding not only the American population, but also contribute to feeding people on a global scale. The average American farmer feeds 144 people and uses one acre of land to support 11 people.

An example of the agriculture industry extending its humanitarian scope is the charitable work of The World Soy Foundation (WSF). WSF is a organization dedicated to helping relieve hunger and malnutrition in the world by funding, supporting and helping to coordinate programs that recognize the importance of the use of soybeans in developing sustainable food solutions.

The WSF was awarded funds from The Monsanto Fund, the philanthropic arm of the Monsanto Company – a U.S.-based multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation – to pilot the use of SoyCow Soybean Processing Technology to improve nutrition for a community in South Africa.

SoyCow makes soymilk and yogurt, as well as tofu, soya nuts and soya chips to create sustainable solutions for the protein needs of the people in this South African region.

The corporate giving initiatives of Syngenta and Monsanto are just two examples of the abundant contributions of our nation’s agricultural community to the food supply. Each year, our farmers continue to grow more food using fewer resources. Our farmer’s sustainability and philanthropy is a pillar of our agriculture industry that we all can be proud of.

As we near the holidays, we should each think about how we can mirror this example of giving.

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