RITTMAN, Ohio — Here is a want ad you don’t see very often. Wanted: Farmers with a few acres available and agribusinesses who want to give to those in need.
That’s exactly what a group in Wayne County is trying to do.
Spare acres for food
The group, led by Steward Newcomer, a crop consultant in Wayne County, is looking for farmers who are able to provide a few acres so that food can be grown for the Food Resource Bank.
The Food Resource Bank is a global organization that helps to provide food for impoverished nations. The idea is to grow lasting solutions to hunger, according to Stewart.
The local group helps to grow the food, solicit agribusinesses to help offset input costs, and then help the farmers in the poor nations to rebuild themselves and learn how to grow food.
Feeding the hungry
Newcomer said there are 60 projects around the world designed to help feed the hungry.
“It’s not giving food, but giving support and new ideas to farmers there,” Newcomer said as he recounted a recent trip to Africa through the program.
His involvement began after a Wayne County group, the Mennonite Relief Central Committee, asked him to get involved. So far, the donations have included one landowner donating 20 acres to use for the program for the past six years.
Newcomer said every 10 acres helps and the group is trying to find farmers who want to donate even just a few acres.
“The organization is aimed at helping farmers who have been held down by governments or weather patterns across the globe,” Newcomer said.
He added the program is popular in Canada and it’s spreading across the United States.
The Wayne County group’s goal is to build the acreage up to 100, but organizers would elated to grow to 50 this year.
Newcomer said over $2.5 million has been donated to other countries from growing projects in Ohio.
He said he welcomes people from other counties to attend a meeting in Rittman, Ohio April 4 so each county can develop their own programs and donate to the cause. (See related box for time and location information.)
“We want them to spread out across the United States,” Newcomer said.
He added there is a group in northwestern Ohio that raises beef cattle for the organization.
“People can donate animals or grain to help others,” Newcomer said.
The program works by having businesses donate the money for inputs such as seed and fertilizer. A farmer can donate the ground for the grain to be grown. Then a farmer comes in and harvests the grain.
The businesses pay for the cost of fuel for planting, harvesting and trucking. The group also looks for businesses to help pay for the cost of drying the grain and marketing it.
“We need to find more businesses ,whether agriculture-related or not, that are willing to help offset this cost for farmers,” Newcomer said.
The program has been in existence for 10 years and helps individuals in Africa, South America, Mexico, Europe and other locations across the globe.
The new headline in newspapers after this program could soon be: Farmers and agribusinesses doing what they do best: feeding the world.
Get the details
Wayne Co. Food Resource Bank meeting
April 4, 7 p.m.
9540 Benner Road