ST. LOUIS, Mo. — The World Soy Foundation (WSF) is on pace to raise a record amount of money for their Acre Challenge, a farmer-driven campaign to help alleviate hunger and malnutrition around the globe.
The annual campaign by the WSF, the philanthropic arm of the American Soybean Assoc. (ASA), has never surpassed its goal of donations of $100,000 or more through the Acre Challenge. But in just nine months of this campaign year, the WSF has raised more than 85 percent of its stated goal.
Whether soybean producers continue to step forward and pledge at least an acre of production to the campaign will determine if the plateau is topped, pointed out Morton, Ill., farmer Dan Farney.
"This is our best year ever," said Farney, who has a seat on the Illinois Soybean Assoc. board of directors and represents the WSF on the World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) board. "We’re really striving to meet our goal of $100,000 in total donations. We’re trying to reach that goal in the next three months, and I hope we do it."
More than 160 farmers have joined the Acre Challenge since March by donating the value of an acre of their own soybean production to the WSF. That pushes the total number of donors since Oct. 1, 2013, to nearly 450, spread across 30 states.
Illinois farmers have raised some $13,450 from 49 individual donors, placing second only to Iowa, where 60 donors have given nearly $16,000. Donations can be made by visiting the WSF website or by sending a check directly to the WSF. Most farmers prefer to visit the website and click on a portal that allows donations by credit card or check.
But there is another way to participate in the program, Farney said. "If a farmer wanted to, he can actually donate a bushel or more of soybeans at their local elevator. Then the WSF will sell the beans at current market price to raise the money."
Giving the "gift of protein" to those living in impoverished and underdeveloped countries can make a life-changing difference, said Ashley Wightman, WSF communications director. When converted into soybean oil and soy flour, an acre of soybeans provides enough high-quality fat and protein to meet the daily requirements for a balanced diet for 80 people for more than a month.
Headquartered with the ASA, The World Soy Foundation is a 501(c)(3) philanthropic organization that reduces malnutrition through the power of soy. The WSF is located at 12125 Woodcrest Drive, Suite 100, St. Louis, MO 63141. Its website is www.worldsoyfoundation.org