Carroll Woman Receives Free Groceries from Iowa’s Farmers, “Pays It Forward” to Local Food Bank

May 24, 2010

When asked how it feels to win a year’s worth of free groceries through the recently completed Iowa Farmers Feed US sweepstakes, Luci Heuton of Carroll responded “It’s wonderful! I’ve never won anything in my life!”

Understandable. Most of us haven’t had the fortune of winning anything as significant as $5,000 in food, freeing up extra cash for our more discretionary purchases. Luci was one of two winners – the other being Pam Davis of Grand Junction, Iowa – out of nearly 150,000 registrations on over a three month period. So what’s next on the list for Luci and her husband Paul: an exotic vacation; a down payment on a new car? Nah. How about a gift to the hard-luck folks of Carroll County who are still waiting for their first break?

“When good things come to you, you want to pass them along, so we decided to make a substantial contribution to the food bank here in town,” said Luci, who was hesitant to speak about her generosity and quick to tell me that she wasn’t looking for any extra attention.

It’s an inspiring idea, one that, coincidentally, dovetails with the purpose of the Farmers Feed US campaign: explaining how farmers grow safe, affordable and nutritious food for their communities and a world that’s home to 800 million hungry people.

Maybe it’s not so coincidental. Like Luci, who farmed with her husband until recently, Iowa farmers are continually looking for ways to give back to their communities, their civic organization and churches. Often that means helping to feed the less fortunate in their own hometowns, even as they strive to raise more food for a hungry world. The Farmers Feed US campaign was a good example. Iowa dairy farmers, though the Midwest Dairy Association, donated $1 to local food banks for every new “fan” that signed up on the Farmers Feed US Facebook page They also chipped in a buck for every “follower” who signed up on the Farmers Feed US Twitter account at It all added up to about $30,000 extra dollars at a time when Iowa food banks are struggling with increasing demand and decreased supplies.

It’s that spirit of generosity—caring for the land, caring for animals and caring for neighbors—that makes living in Iowa so great.

Written by Zach Bader
Zach is a Communications Specialist for Iowa Farm Bureau.

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Make Sure Your Donation Counts

May 11, 2010

A white terrier mix with floppy ears cocked his head to the side and whimpered from his cage; a grey kitten curled her paws and tucked her tiny body a little tighter, dreaming of days spent sunning in a window of a loving home. Both were dumped on gravel roads outside of Fort Dodge and rescued by compassionate farmers, who brought them to the Central Iowa Humane Society Shelter.

These farmers and staffers are pretty typical and they do more for animals in your hometown than the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and all their millions of dollars. So says Charity Navigator, a non-partisan, non-profit charity evaluator and research group, who just issued a down-graded rating for HSUS:

Charity Navigator says HSUS spends only 33 percent of what it takes in on programs, compared to most cause-oriented groups that spend at least 65 percent. HSUS (now) defends itself by saying it’s not in the business of helping homeless animals. But take a look at their website and tell me if you believe that: ( Battered kittens and sad, wide-eyed dogs are featured in prominent places all over their website; you’d never know such animals are at the bottom of their charitable spending.

Of course, livestock farmers smelled a rat in the hen house long before Wayne Pacelle recently brought his three-piece Armani suit and hidden chicken farm videos to Des Moines. Even though the poultry farm took swift action against bad conditions allegedly captured on Wayne’s hidden video, the majority of farmers know the true goal of HSUS is to divide and deride multi-generational family farmers who raise animals for a meat-loving public. That’s why HSUS is pouring your millions of donation dollars into political campaigns to change the size of cages at egg farms and hog barns, changes not backed by animal science or generations of actual farm experience. I’m betting you didn’t know that, did you?

Coming clean to a bacon and egg-loving public clearly won’t sway public opinion (nor solicit enough money) so HSUS hits where compassionate dollars live, pet lovers like me. HSUS caters their messages to moms and kids who have a soft spot for the most vulnerable creatures on earth- neglected and abandoned pets. Even intelligent, high-profile celebrities with a reputation for defending pets, such as Oprah, have been seduced by Wayne Pacelle and HSUS. And, I don’t have to tell you about the value of getting on Oprah’s good side…

Organizations like HSUS really make honest shelter workers like Laurie Hagey of the Central Iowa Humane Society Animal Shelter cringe; she says folks see HSUS commercials and write their checks out to HSUS, not their local shelter. And in this down-turned economy, Laurie knows more animals are in need. Farmers, too, are seeing more cases of urban pet owners “dumping” their animals out in the country. In some cases, the roving, desperate animals can pose a threat to livestock farms. It’s difficult for farmers who spend their lifetime caring for their own pets and livestock to see these sad creatures appear in their farm lanes; it’s just as bad for shelter volunteers.

I learned a lot about going the extra mile for animals from my years growing up on an Iowa hog farm; animal stewardship isn’t always easy or cheap and I give that lesson to my 13-year-old daughter, who is also involved in caring for our extended pet “family” (which now includes a dog, two cats, two frogs, several fish and an occasional hamster). But, there’s a lesson about animal stewardship to be learned here, even if you didn’t grow up on an Iowa livestock farm or have a houseful of pets; reputable, respected, hard-working local shelters deserve your respect (and your help), not out-of-town wolves cloaked in cuddly Labrador skins, like HSUS.

Written by Laurie Johns
Laurie Johns is Public Relations Manager for the Iowa Farm Bureau.

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