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Farmers still donating food, despite growing year

Sept. 19, 2013 | 0 comments


Despite the challenging growing year, farmers are still donating food to families in need.

For the last several years Monsanto has donated sweet corn seed to farmers to plant and then donate the corn to the community.

Among those taking part in this program are Charlie Hammer and his wife, Nancy Kavazajian of Beaver Dam.

The couple raises 1,800 acres of wheat, corn and soybeans, using a 24-row corn planter and other big equipment. That’s why area produce grower Phil Waldvogel volunteered to plant the sweet corn with his six-row planter.

The result of this effort has been lots of corn to hungry families in the Beaver Dam area.

Planting sweet corn to share with their neighbors is nothing new for Kavazajian and Hammer. In the past they did it on their own.

She says, "This year Monsanto soybean liaison to the United Soybean Board offered me the corn seed when I mentioned that we plant a good neighbor plot to share with folks in the neighborhood."

In the first week of production they donated over 2,000 pounds to the local food pantry, St. Vincent DePaul’s and two area churches. The next week they picked and donated another 1,000 pounds.

Kavazajian says the Bt trait in the sweet corn seed kept the corn worm-free. She notes, "It produced better than any we’ve ever planted. Pollen shed was incredible. Ears are plump and full to the tip and sweet."

A youth group from St. Katharine Drexel Church in Beaver Dam also sold 52 dozen of the donated corn after morning mass, making more than $200 for a trip they plan to take later this year.

The couple also donated about 300 pounds to Sacred Heart Church in Juneau for their Harvest Festival and also donated to the church’s food pantry.

Carrie Mess of Lake Mills has also participated in this project. She picked the corn from her family’s farm and delivered it to Second Harvest in Madison.

She says, "This was our first year taking part in this program. Monsanto sent us an acre’s worth of their seed this spring. Due to the weather we had late plantings and wet plantings but we still managed to donate over 2,000 pounds of Second Harvest Food Bank in Madison. We hope to double that next year."

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