Columbia, MO – Missouri’s agricultural community has stepped up to assist affected families and volunteers after the disastrous tornado struck Joplin last month. Many of the organizations composing Missouri Farmers Care have provided on-the-ground care, essential supplies, and animal-care and health-care funds to the Joplin relief efforts.
From the start of the relief efforts, Missouri Beef Industry Council (MBIC), Missouri Cattlemen’s Association and Missouri Soybean Association coordinated, supplied and cooked free meals for affected people-exceeding 3,000 meals served on Memorial Day. In the two weeks following the tornado, more than 12,000 free meals were served to area residents and relief workers.
To cook and serve those meals, the groups set up grills in the student building at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin.
Ben Fizette, Region 7 vice president for the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association and field crops area sales manager for MFA Incorporated, coordinated much of the on-ground efforts. “It is important for farmers and ranchers to be present, because agriculture is the backbone of our society,” said Fizette. “We supply the necessary food and fiber for people to use on a daily basis. In a time of crisis, the least we could do was be there to supply everyone with a fresh, healthy meal. We have the ultimate responsibility for our nation and the rest of the world-providing everyone with food.”
Other MFC member organizations donated money and food to help those in need. Missouri Pork Producers donated pork burgers for the meals, while Midwest Dairy Association ensured cheeseburgers were available. Missouri Corn Growers Association and FCS Financial coordinated many donation efforts. Moark, LLC, donated 25,700 dozen eggs to the Ozark Regional Food Bank.
Along with efforts to provide relief to residents and volunteers, Missouri Farmers Care members provided additional support for animals impacted by the storm’s devastation. MFA Incorporated donated pallets of dog and cat food to Joplin-area animal shelters that took in stranded and wandering animals.
Additionally, Missouri Veterinary Medical Association coordinated veterinary efforts in the Joplin area, as requested by SEMA. In addition to providing animal care, the veterinarians established drop-off points around the state to assemble animal care supplies to be transported to Joplin.
To help with human health care in the area, MFA Incorporated donated $25,000 to St. John’s Hospital to provide needed medical services.