3 Ways IL Farm Bureau Members Are Combatting the COVID-19 Crisis
Across the state, Illinois Farm Bureau members are doing their part to help their communities during these turbulent times. Read on to learn about the good work they’re doing.
In the wake of COVID-19, more families may not know where their next meal will come from. Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB) Young Leaders are doing their part to help ensure local food banks are better able to serve those in need.
The group launched a Facebook campaign to raise funds for eight Feeding America food banks that serve Illinois, with a goal of $2,500 per food bank. Illinois Farm Bureau pledged to match those online donations dollar for dollar up to $1,000 for each location.
“So many people are at home right now and while they aren’t sure where to start, they feel a desire to help their communities during this time of need,” says Aaron Mitchell, Winnebago County dairy farmer and member of IFB Young Leaders. “By providing an avenue to donate online and spread the word through social media, we hope to provide an opportunity for everyone to make a difference.”
F.A.R.M. for Health
After seeing reports of health care workers facing shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) to use on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lawrence County Young Leaders launched Farmers & Ranchers Masks for Health (F.A.R.M. for Health) with the goal of collecting new and unused items to donate to medical personnel, including N95 face masks. They called upon farmers, grain elevators, construction workers and others who used the masks and other PPE as part of their jobs.
Illinois Farm Bureau staff started working with Champaign, Christian, Mason and Menard County Farm Bureaus with their mask collection drives simultaneously as Lawrence County launched its F.A.R.M. drive.
For more details and how to donate, visit facebook.com/Farm4Health.
Distillers Switch Gears
Your local distillery may now be producing something other than spirits. Thanks to exemptions from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), distilleries may now produce ethanol-based hand sanitizers.
The largest craft distillery in Illinois, Kennay Farms Distilling in Rochelle, is owned and operated by the Kennay family, sixth-generation farmers. After the exemptions were lifted, the Kennays sprang into action to get the bulk products necessary. These include containers of various sizes plus the ingredients to add to the ethanol – glycerol and hydrogen peroxide. The result is liquid hand sanitizer, which they distributed for free to more than 50 local health care organizations, public service agencies and first responder units, as well as to the public at a cost to cover inputs and labor.
In a similar fashion, Whiskey Acres Distilling Co. in DeKalb is also producing and dispersing liquid hand sanitizer. They’re donating the product to Northwestern Hospital, after which it is distributed to medical personnel and first responders.
Whiskey Acres is part of a family farm spanning five generations. When they started the Distilling Co. in 2014, it became the second certified farm distillery in the U.S.