When Just Producing the Food isn't Enough

Posted: 11/25/2013

Posted By:  Kelly Nelson

The farm and ranch families of South Dakota take their role in producing a nutritious and safe food supply for an ever-increasing world population seriously.  That’s why we work every day to increase yields on the same amount of land, and to raise healthy animals while decreasing our environmental footprint.  Unfortunately, just producing more food isn’t always enough.  There are more than 103,000 people  in South Dakota alone who struggle with hunger, according to a recent report.

We’re proud of everyone in the agricultural community who gives generously of their time and resources to help those in need.  The article below is from Feeding South Dakota’s Summer 2013 newsletter and highlights just a few of the ways that farmers and ag organizations are making a difference in the state.  (We added links to more information on some of the programs). 

Feeding South Dakota is a hunger relief organization that serves food pantries and feeding programs across the state.  In 2012, Feeding South Dakota distributed 12.5 million pounds of food.  Each week, the organization assists in providing temporary food assistance to about 21,000 individuals and families, and its Back Pack Program gives food every weekend to more than 5,000 kids who otherwise might go hungry.


Feeding South Dakota's Director’s Report

Spring and summer bring much excitement in South Dakota as farmers prepare the land for the upcoming harvest. Agriculture is such an important industry in our state. Without farmers and ranchers across America, we would not be able to provide food to those we serve.

Not only does this industry help provide the physical goods that we serve, but they are also very charitable. Throughout the years, we have developed relationships with various agricultural associations in South Dakota.

Cenex Harvest States (CHS) holds an annual Harvest for Hunger event. Since the program’s launch in 2011, the donations from this program have allowed us to provide more than 7.5 million meals to hungry individuals in our state. This year, these organizations were able to raise $140,000 for our programs.

Midwest Dairy holds their annual meeting in Sioux Falls. Each year, they hold a benefit concert featuring a country music entertainer with all proceeds going to our programs. This year, they also produced a parody video called “Feedin’ A Nation” (to the tune of Good Vibrations by the Beach Boys) which featured some of our staff in our food bank. In just over a month, this video had 70,000 views.

Protein is an expensive food item, and one that many families who are struggling to put food on the table tend to go without. That is why our partnership with Dakota Layers and E&W Poultry is so important. These two producers provide eggs to our food pantry on a regular basis. Additionally, our partners at Ag United created a joint venture between pork producers and soy bean growers to have donated hogs processed into ground pork to be distributed through our food pantries.

Beef Bucks, which is a joint effort of the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association and the Cattlemen’s Auxiliary, is another supporter of the programs of Feeding South Dakota. Beef Bucks is a non-profit organization that promotes the beef industry and educates the general public about beef. In the past few years, Beef Bucks have been donated to our organization through the Beef Bowl held at South Dakota State University.

This past year, South Dakota Corn became a new partner of Feeding South Dakota when they announced the Showdown Series between state university rivals South Dakota State University and the University of South Dakota. Throughout this series, South Dakota Corn helped raise awareness of the issue of hunger while collecting donations at sporting events between the two schools.

We couldn’t do our work without the help of our fellow agriculture partners. This summer, don’t forget to thank a farmer or rancher for helping to feed hungry South Dakotans.

On behalf of our staff, Board of Directors, and those we serve, thank you for your commitment and support. By working together, we can create a solution to solve hunger.

Matt Gassen
Executive Director
Feeding South Dakota


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