Last week it was reported that farmer and philanthropist Howard G. Buffett will be spearheading a new charitable effort to encourage farmers to donate a portion of their proceeds from crop sales to Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief group. Mr. Buffet is urging farmers across the United States to set aside one acre of their cropland for the program called Invest an Acre. The Chronicle of Philanthropy further explains that Invest an Acre will receive up to $3-million from Mr. Buffett’s foundation and addition to urging farmers to set aside cropland and donate the revenue to Feeding America, the country’s biggest hunger charity. The organization would in turn filter the money to its affiliate food banks in the donors’ communities.
Perhaps, I should be pleased that farmers are doing charitable things for their community, but I cannot ignore the feeling that this is a lot of unnecessary pomp and circumstance. Of course hunger relief efforts need donations in order to operate, but is this really a sustainable solution? Quite frankly, this effort does not address the root cause of hunger. I believe it would be more practical for the farmers across the nation to to offer land and technical assistance to actual community members in order to systematically combat hunger. Additionally, what about alternating current farming subsidies to encourage farmers to produce crops other than commodity corn and grains? Hunger is a complex problem and simply throwing money at it will not solve it. This program seems to be another temporary fix for an already complicated problem. And I am not impressed.