Cooperatives partner to support Midwest disaster relief

CHS, CoBank, Farm Credit, and Land O’Lakes to donate $200,000 to aid relief efforts in impacted region.

September 2, 2020

2 Min Read
A damaged grain bin in central Iowa damaged by the derecho that swept through the region on Aug. 10.USDA/JeremyDavis

Four of the nation’s leading cooperatives serving agriculture and communities across rural America are partnering to support the American Red Cross in the wake of the derecho that ravaged Iowa, Illinois and other Midwestern states in early August. CHS, CoBank, Farm Credit Services of America, and Land O’Lakes will together donate $200,000 to aid relief efforts in the impacted region.

The derecho hit the Midwest August 10 with winds equivalent to a category 4 hurricane. The 14-hour storm damaged property and crops across 800 miles: from North and South Dakota to Ohio. Though the damage was widespread, Iowa saw the most significant effects, including wide-scale utility disruptions, destruction of residential and commercial property, and severe damage to more than 10 million acres of crops. Damage to trailers, silos and other equipment used for grain transportation and storage has added concerns about handling the 2020 harvest from remaining crops.

The American Red Cross has been providing food, water, shelter and other relief services since the storm hit. In Iowa and Illinois, the organization has provided more than 50,000 meals, distributed nearly 20,000 relief items and provided more than 1,900 overnight stays in hotels or congregate shelters. Red Cross volunteers and disaster workers continue to provide aid and comfort to those unable to return to their homes due to damage and ongoing power outages.

After the storm hit, Red Cross volunteers were on the ground to assist those affected. Jill Orton, regional chief executive officer of Nebraska Iowa Region, American Red Cross, said the organization’s work is not possible without the support from companies like CHS, Land O’Lakes, Farm Services of America, and CoBank.

“The recovery process in so many communities is going to be extensive. This generous gift allows us to deliver help and hope to families and individuals who are picking up the pieces and determining how to move forward,” she said.

 “The impact of this devastating storm on local cooperatives, farmers and rural America in an already challenging year won’t be fully known for a while, but we know it will be significant,” said Jay Debertin, president and CEO of CHS. “Farmers and communities in rural America are resilient. The cooperative spirit living in these communities will help as they rebuild their businesses, their homes and their lives.”

Thomas Halverson, CoBank’s president and CEO, commented, “Rural communities across the nation have been affected by unprecedented challenges this year due to the effects of Covid-19. Now, America’s heartland has been hit with a significant natural disaster that could not have come at a more difficult time. Our hearts go out to those whose lives and livelihoods have been impacted. Our organizations hope that this joint contribution will help to ease the most immediate suffering and assist our customers, members, partners and their communities as they begin the journey to recovery.”

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