The Story Behind the Miracle of Agriculture Foundation

It is hard to imagine a more challenging time to form a new nonprofit than in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, one that has overturned every aspect of society, while sickening millions and killing hundreds of thousands.

And yet, that is exactly what a team of intrepid, visionary and passionate business leaders did in early May 2020: they launched a new nonprofit organization — the Miracle of Agriculture Foundation.

Food Supply Chain Threat

As the far-reaching implications of Covid-19 became even more clear in late March and early April 2020, one of the things that also became immensely apparent to the leadership of the Utah Farm Bureau Federation was the imminent threat to the Food Supply Chain, both within the state and throughout North America.

Within an instant, many American businesses were plunged from growth and prosperity into panic mode, with many forced by government to close for fear of spreading the coronavirus. And in a several week span, over 30 million Americans were either furloughed or lost their jobs in moves driven by this global pandemic.

The Triple Whammy

At the same time many farmers and ranchers throughout agricultural communities were hit with a triple whammy.

First, over half of all agricultural production (meats, fruits and vegetables) are raised specifically to be consumed in restaurants or ready-to-serve environments. And with Covid-mandated shutdowns of most such establishments, virtually half of the intended destinations for their produce and meats were lost overnight.

Secondly (and unknown to most Americans), close to 80 percent of all meat processing in the United States is handled by just four conglomerates, with most of their meat needs fulfilled by large corporate farms and ranches.

Plants Keep Growing. Animals Keep Eating.

Unfortunately, many of the largest meat processing facilities saw significantly higher infection rates from Covid-19 than the rest of the population. This put even more stress on the Food Supply Chain throughout the U.S., as well as in Utah.

Third, unlike the ability to shut-down a production line in a factory, one cannot simply flip a switch and stop plants from growing or tell animals to stop eating. It’s just not possible.

Hence, it was sad but not surprising when news stories began to break in April of farmers and ranchers euthanizing animals rather than continuing to feed them because they could not find buyers or processors willing to purchase their cattle, hogs, or other animals.

An Agricultural Conundrum

During this growing agricultural conundrum, the number of unemployed Americans and Utahns continued to grow, leading many food pantries, foodbanks, and other charitable institutions to be overwhelmed by the seemingly conspiring forces.

It was in the midst of this multifaceted maelstrom that a single idea emerged within the mind of one individual, the President of the Utah Farm Bureau, a thought that seemed crazy at first glance:

What if we can solve the financial needs of Utah farmers and ranchers while also helping feed those who need help most at this very moment, those who have lost a job because of Covid-19 or who are poor or underprivileged? Can we do both at the same time?

In essence, can we kill two birds with one stone?

A Foundation is Born

And so, with one thought, one idea, the Miracle of Agriculture Foundation was formed as a Utah-based nonprofit corporation within a matter of days. As defined in its Articles of Incorporation, its purpose is

“To assist the poor and underprivileged (by) providing assistance and relief during disasters, emergencies, and temporary hardships, with particular emphasis on those persons and communities involved in agriculture, farming and ranching.”

Serving through Agriculture

Since its May 8, 2020 formation, the Miracle of Agriculture Foundation has already raised over $800,000 to serve poor and needy families.

Even more importantly, with the support of many individuals and organizations — from farmers and ranchers to large corporations and from other nonprofits to typical Utahns — the Miracle of Agriculture Foundation has already helped provide over

  • 1.5 million lbs. of food to struggling Utah families, while also assisting
  • Scores of Utah farmers and ranchers.

Fighting Food Insecurity

With its close ties to agricultural industry in Utah, the Miracle of Agriculture Foundation is committed to helping solve the food insecurity needs of all Utahns, from farmers and ranchers struggling with a stressed Food Supply Chain to Utah families challenged by temporary / permanent job loss or ongoing, endemic underprivileged status.

So to our board, officers, partners, volunteers and donors, we say Thank You for your initial and ongoing support and contributions.

We are committed to making a positive and lasting change in the lives of our fellow citizens, all through the Miracle of Agriculture.

Sincerely,

The Miracle of Agriculture Foundation