July 11, 2011

Grain donation program passes $60,000 for Red Cross earthquake, tsunami relief in Japan

Nebraska farmers have gone well beyond an initial $50,000 goal as part of a grain donation program to support Red Cross efforts to help those impacted by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the Pacific.

Grain donations through July 1 have sold for a total of more than $60,000 in support of the initiative, said Carl Sousek, a farmer from Prague who is president of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association.

“Response to the program has been tremendous but we want to finish strong and continue to encourage farmers to donate additional bushels,” he said. “Corn, soybeans, wheat and sorghum are all welcome.”

Donations will be accepted through July 30 at all Aurora Cooperative and Cooperative Producers Inc. (CPI) locations. Farmers can deliver grain and designate it for the Red Cross effort or contribute bushels they have in storage at the cooperatives by contacting their grain merchandiser and transferring ownership to the Red Cross.

“Money raised through the grain donation program is so appreciated,” said Susan Epps, executive director of the Cornhusker Community Chapter of the American Red Cross. “There continues to be a tremendous need in Japan and Pacific, and it is wonderful to pass this support along where it will do a lot of good.”

Sousek also noted that while those involved want to raise additional funds for relief efforts in Japan, they also want to encourage farmers and others to support Red Cross efforts here in Nebraska. “Between flooding and other local needs like blood donations, there are a lot of opportunities to help,” Sousek said.

Epps said there is always a need for blood, especially in the summer.

“Local blood drives in some parts of the state have stopped because of flooding, creating additional demand for blood from other areas,” she said. “We also encourage volunteers to go through Red Cross training so they can help respond in an emergency or other disaster. Financial support, of course, is always needed, especially as we provide food and other resources to those impacted by flooding and other disasters.”

For background on the grain donation program, click here.

For the past week, a couple of Nebraska corn growers have been in Japan to promote U.S. beef and pork -- and to help deliver meals to evacuees. For information on that mission, click here or for a compilation of posts, click here.

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