Last month, Tillamook County Creamery Association teamed up with Eva Longoria as part of a new strategy to lift the dairy sector. The dairy company would then go on to contribute 10 percent of its product sales during the month of September, up to $1.6 million, to help financially struggling farmers as part of its ‘All For Farmers’ initiative. On October 12, National Farmer’s Day, Tillamook made good on its pledge.
“At Tillamook, we are grateful to be able to make this contribution to American Farmland Trust to fight for the future of farming in America and to help farmers in need,” said Patrick Criteser, Tillamook County Creamery Association President and CEO. “We are also humbled by the tremendous support of loyal Tillamook fans across the country whose product purchases allow us to give back in this way.”
Tillamook contributed $1.6 million to American Farmland Trust (AFT), a national not-for-profit organization with a mission to protect farmland, promote sound farming practices, and keep farmers on the land.
According to the press release, AFT will use the Tillamook funds to provide grants directly to farmers to help them access farmland, enhance farm viability, and/or adopt new farming practices. Any farmer in financial need is encouraged to apply for grant funding via the American Farmland Trust applications.
“We thank Tillamook for what is our largest gift in 40 years, and their commitment to America’s farmers as many struggle against financial headwinds including the pandemic, bankruptcies, and rising farm debt,” said Beth C. Sauerhaft, PhD, Vice President, Programs, American Farmland Trust. “With deep roots in agriculture, Tillamook understands the ups-and-downs of farming and knows that lending a helping hand to get through the hard times is part of what makes America’s collective farming community so special.”
Because all types of farmers and farms are needed in order to provide a robust and sustainable food supply, the grants are available to farmers representing diversity in age, gender, ethnicity, geography, and farm size and type. In addition to providing the direct-to-farmer grants, AFT will also apply a portion of the Tillamook contribution to help preserve land on at-risk farms.
In addition to the funds pledged to support America’s farmers, Tillamook is committing $100,000 to help restaurant chefs whose businesses have been financially hard hit during the pandemic. The funds will be used in a variety of ways, including providing staff support, securing personal protective equipment (PPE) and safety materials, and assisting in the chef’s own local give-back efforts.
“Being a farmer-owned and farmer-led co-op gives Tillamook a resilient edge,” said Criteser. “Our co-op is holding up well, and we are grateful to be able to help others, like farmers and chefs, in their time of need.”
For more news on the efforts the industry continues to provide for the dairy, deli, and specialty sector, keep checking back to Deli Market News.