A new organization helps connect struggling farmers and suffering families...

By Riata Cummings

When the novel coronavirus started threatening the livelihoods of Utah farmers and families, the

Utah Farm Bureau teamed up with Utah State University’s Hunger Solutions Institute and the

Utah Department of Agriculture and Food to create Farmers Feeding Utah, a campaign aimed

at helping struggling farmers and families in need.

The funds raised on the organization’s website, https://farmersfeedingutah.org, are being used

to purchase animals, crops, dairy products, and other commodities from farmers without the

ability to sell because of the pandemic. Then, those products are being processed and used to

provide food resources to the families that have been financially affected by the coronavirus.

“The mission of the Utah Farm Bureau is to inspire all Utah families to connect, succeed, and

grow through the ‘Miracle of Agriculture’, and that’s what we’re hoping to do today,” said Ron

Gibson, Utah Farm Bureau Federation President. “We’re encouraging all Utahns to help grow a

miracle by donating to the ‘Farmers Feeding Utah’ campaign, so we can keep our state’s farm

and ranch families producing the local food we all need and also feed the growing number of

families in need.”

Since the official launch of the program in May, Farmers Feeding Utah has chosen several

groups and areas as targets of their generosity, including a chapter of the Navajo Nation in

Southeastern Utah was hit particularly hard by the pandemic. Volunteers of the program

donated and delivered live sheep to the Navajo Nation, as well as lamb meat and bags of flour.

Their next “miracle project” was aimed at helping newly unemployed families in Cache, Box

Elder and Rich County with a pop-up food pantry handing out fresh, locally sourced food.

According to Gibson, there were at least 450 families helped by their efforts in Cache Valley.

“Everyone was so appreciative,” said Michael Gibbons, vice president of the Cache County

Farm Bureau in an interview with Deseret News. “It was really a great experience...You could

see people waiting for food, and then just a little bit of relief on their faces. It was a little bit of a

bright spot.”

Farmers Feeding Utah identified their next “miracle project” in a Facebook post on Friday, and

they are hoping to help the families of West Salt Lake. The group has set a goal to raise

$100,000 by July 24th, and “make a Pioneer Day miracle.”

“We’re so excited about having the opportunity to break through the barriers that we have in our

supply chain and get the food that people desperately need through this program,” said Gibson.

“We know that farmers and ranchers aren’t the only people in this state or in this country that

have been challenged by this virus, this terrible pandemic. We know that families all across our state and all across the country are in need of help. So today, what we're asking you is to help us."

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