Nebraska farmers can donate bushels of corn or any grain to the Red Cross and directly help those impacted by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the Pacific thanks to a program developed by the Nebraska Corn Growers Association, Aurora Cooperative and the American Red Cross. Farmer-owned KRVN rural radio is also supporting the initiative.

Donations are being accepted at Aurora Cooperative locations in Keene, Sedan and Aurora West (near Aurora) in Nebraska beginning Friday, April 1 and all other cooperative locations beginning April 2. Donations will continue to be accepted through July 30.

“The idea of helping those dealing with this disaster came up during a meeting and we contacted the American Red Cross in Nebraska, who were very supportive,” says John Willoughby, a farmer from Wood River, NE, and a member of the Buffalo/Hall County Corn Growers Association. “Japan has been our top global corn customer for years and is a key market for many agriculture products produced in Nebraska and across the country. It just seemed right to find a way to help our neighbors in the global market.”

The Aurora Cooperative has 19 grain-delivery locations across that state and all are participating in the program.

“Farmers often help out a neighbor in need. This is a great way to extend that generosity,” says George Hohwieler, chief executive officer of the Aurora Cooperative. “Farmers can simply deliver grain to one of our locations and designate the entire load or a percentage of the load to relief efforts. Farmers will get a receipt for their contribution and 100% of the dollars from the sale of that grain will go to the Red Cross.”

Renae Foster, chief operating officer of the Central Plains Regional Chapter of the American Red Cross, says, “Those in agriculture are incredibly giving and we are thrilled to be part of this program and appreciate everyone’s efforts and contribution. They will directly support our disaster relief efforts and help those affected by the earthquake in Japan and tsunami throughout the Pacific.”