Smithfield's Farmland brand recognized the National FFA Organization and its positive impact in the agricultural industry through a check donation of $100,000. The gift is part of the 2021 Honoring the Heartland Tour, an initiative launched by Farmland in June to show appreciation for the honest work and tireless commitment in Midwest farming communities, agriculture industries, and retail establishments, and to support the next generation of farmers, which includes the more than 760,000 current FFA student members.
Ending in September, the brand's 13-week mission honors the unsung heroes of our agri-food chain and highlights the fundamental role the heartland plays by delivering grab-n-go lunches and providing monetary donations to support the future of farming. The Farmland Honoring The Heartland Tour food truck completes two to three stops per week at various locations rooted in Midwestern neighborhoods, including its stop at the Johnson County Fair earlier today. In addition to distributing meals, the brand has donated $40,000 thus far to the National FFA Organization and state-level FFA Associations throughout the tour to assist them in growing leaders, building communities and strengthening agriculture at the local, state and national levels.
This additional $100,000 donation will go toward supporting the mission of the National FFA Organization, making a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. As the category evolves to increase production, innovate for the future, and improve environmental and economic sustainability, institutions like this are vital in creating the next generation of leaders and ensuring a positive future for the critical industry.
"Over the past several months, Farmland has had the privilege to be on the ground in the heartland serving extraordinary and passionate organizations across the Midwest, providing us with endless inspiration to fuel our continued commitment," says Michael Merritt, Jr. senior director for Farmland at Smithfield Foods. "Today, we're pleased to continue our pledge with a $100,000 donation to the National FFA Organization so they may continue to focus on youth leadership development and equip the next generation of agriculture enthusiasts with valuable real-world information and opportunities, helping to ensure that America's heartland can continue to feed the world."
Cassy Puskala, regional director for the National FFA Foundation, adds, "As FFA continues to prepare young people for the challenges of feeding a growing population, we are grateful for the continued support from Farmland," said "Their contributions provide a sustainable impact on the organization at the local, state and national levels to help carryout the mission."
The National FFA Organization is a school-based national youth leadership development organization of more than 760,000 student members as part of 8,700 local FFA chapters in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.
As part of the donation event at the Johnson County Fair in Tecumseh, Nebraska, the Farmland food truck also supplied bacon-filled samples to community residents.
Founded in 1959, Farmland is the maker of high-quality, flavorful meats. Rooted in rich traditions of America's heartland, Farmland is committed to a strong work ethic, community, substance over flash, and wholesome, quality food that people feel good about serving. Farmland's robust portfolio of products includes varieties of bacon, sausage, ham and lunch meat.
About Smithfield Foods
Headquartered in Smithfield, Va. since 1936, Smithfield Foods, Inc. is an American food company with agricultural roots and a global reach. Our 63,000 team members are dedicated to producing "Good food. Responsibly." and have made us one of the world's leading vertically integrated protein companies. We have pioneered sustainability standards for more than two decades, including our industry-leading commitments to become carbon negative in U.S. company-owned operations and reduce GHG emissions 30 percent across our entire U.S. value chain by 2030. We believe in the power of protein to end food insecurity and have donated hundreds of millions of food servings to our communities. Smithfield boasts a portfolio of high-quality iconic brands, such as Smithfield, Eckrich and Nathan's Famous, among many others.
About National FFA Organization
The National FFA Organization is a school-based national youth leadership development organization of more than 760,000 student members as part of 8,700 local FFA chapters in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.
About National FFA Foundation
The National FFA Foundation builds partnerships with industry, education, government, other foundations and individuals to secure financial resources that recognize FFA member achievements, develop student leaders and support the future of agricultural education. A separately registered nonprofit organization, the foundation is governed by a board of trustees that includes the national FFA president, educators, business leaders and individual donors.