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Farmers give back during coronavirus outbreak

Farmers give back during coronavirus outbreak

Producers are donating to food banks to help keep shelves stocked

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

U.S. farmers are proving that not every story related to the coronavirus pandemic is negative.

Throughout the country, producers are stepping up to help their communities and ensure the most vulnerable populations receive good meals.

In Illinois, grain farmers are delivering crops to elevators and using the proceeds to help local food banks keep up with the increase in demand.

On Wednesday, farmers donated about 6,000 bushels of grain, which translates into around US$160,000. Every donated dollar turns into about US$8 worth of groceries for the Northern Illinois Food Bank.

Donating to communities during a time of need is another way for producers to fulfill their duties.

“We just want to do our part to help feed the world (because) that was what we were put here to do,” Nik Jacobs, a cash crop producer from Sterling, Ill., told WQAD8 Wednesday.

Jacobs started the grain donation drive on Monday. Now, 30 elevators in the state are accepting deliveries for this cause.

Fruit producers from Arizona and California are also helping communities in need.

Sunkist Growers, which is owned by 2,500 farmers across the two states, is donating three truckloads of citrus fruit to California schools and food banks.

At a time when food options may be limited, having access to healthy fruit is important, said Jim Phillips, president and CEO of Sunkist.

“We want to make sure people have access to fresh California citrus through their local schools and food banks, now more than ever,” he said in a statement on Monday. “As a California native I am proud to be part of this community and thankful to be able to do our part.”

Farmers in South Carolina are donating to local communities too.

Peanut producers from Pee Dee, S.C. are providing 1,500 jars of homegrown peanut butter to families in the Latta School District.

“There’s a lot of need out there with children being home from school and parents working so we decided to get together and do something about it,” Neal Baxley, one of the donators, told Count On News2 on Monday.

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