WOOSTER, Ohio – A grassroots group of concerned individuals has created the Wayne County Farmers Support Fund to raise and distribute money to farmers with extreme, out-of-the-ordinary financial need.
The fund was formed out of random conversations by individuals who wanted to know how to help area hog farmer Ken Wiles. Wiles, his son and an employee have been charged with animal cruelty, triggered by undercover observations by the Humane Farming Association. They are scheduled to appear before a jury June 19.
Bigger need. But the trust fund quickly evolved into a bigger effort, according to fund trustee Sally Stryffeler.
Stryffeler said the group hopes to be able to help other farmers down the road who have had extreme financial problems, due to accidents on or off the farm, a terminal illness or a fire.
The fund is meant to be a safety net for Wayne County farmers with extraordinary needs, she added.
“This isn’t about a crop failure,” she said. “We all take that chance when we plant a seed.”
The fund, which is set up as a trust, will be managed by a committee of three trustees, although Stryffeler said the number of trustees may change as the fund develops.
Any Wayne County farmer may apply for assistance. Trustees will evaluate all applications and support will be determined upon need and availability of funds.
Dinner will benefit. Coordinators are holding a fundraiser from 4-8 p.m. April 14 in the grange hall at the county fairgrounds in Wooster.
Donations will be accepted for the barbecue pork and beef meal, and trustees will be accepting fund donations at that time. A silent auction will also be held to benefit the trust fund.
To donate. Donations, which count as a farm business tax deduction, can be given to Stryffeler or fellow trustees Earl Jentes or Georgia Frankenburg, or mailed to: Monitor Bank, P.O. Box 98, Big Prairie, OH 44611.
The group plans to place milk jugs in area agribusinesses to solicit additional donations.
STAY INFORMED. SIGN UP!
Up-to-date agriculture news in your inbox!