Think about how blessed you are, then think about kids around the world who are malnourished.

That’s the challenge Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) President Jeff Wuebker has for soybean growers this holiday season. As part of the World Soy Foundation (WSF) Acre Challenge program, the Versailles, OH, producer asks growers to donate the value of one acre of soybeans to help children whose only holiday meal otherwise might be a scrap of bread.

“We’re all very blessed,” says Wuebker, who farms beans, corn, wheat and alfalfa and runs a farrow-to-finish hog operation with his brother Alan and their families. “We should be able to donate the value of an acre of soybeans to help hungry children.”

Indiana soybean grower James Peterson conceived the idea for the Acre Challengethat began in 2007, says Nathan Ruby, the foundation’s CEO. The World Soy Foundation is a 501c3 charitable organization headquartered at the American Soybean Association in St. Louis. It collects donations from farmers and others to fund programs that feed starving children and others across the world.

Soybean growers are challenging each other to pledge to the 2010 Acre Challenge appeal, says Ruby. This year’s goalis to raise 450 acres and generate $250,000 or more. 

“We see children grow stronger thanks to the generosity of soybean farmers,” says Ruby.

“Farmer funds are leveraged with industry supporters, such as Cargill, Sunopta, Monsanto Foundation, Northern Food Grade Soybean Association, Natural Products, Soyatech and WhiteWave Foods,” he says.

Wuebker points out that a typical 42-45-bu. yield will gross $360-400/acre at a $9/bu. price. And he’s challenging his OSA board members and others to donate that or at least $350 to the WSF program.

“I told them I would match 20% of what they gave up to an extra $1,000,” he says. “That will go a long way in the Acre Challenge program.”

Wuebker likes the idea of “soy cows” placed into schools and orphanages to supply protein to the less fortunate youngsters. “A soy cow is a machine that takes a soy protein mix and processes it into drinks and other foods that kids can enjoy,” he says.

The value of an acre of soybeans is astounding, says WSF. You can produce more than 2,500 gal. of soymilk from 42 bu. of beans. That’s 40,000 eight-ounce servings. “One acre of soybeans also provides about 18,000 rations of soy protein and 1 bu. can provide “a significant boost of protein for 20 undernourished children a month,” says Ruby.

Children from Africa and Afghanistan to Haiti and Honduras benefit from support provided by WSF, says Ruby.

Growers should know that the program isn’t trying to teach others how to grow soybeans, says Wuebker, “but if we can provide the nourishment through the WSF, more people will want to use more soy protein in their diets.”

Acre Challenge contributions are tax deductible and can be made online at www.worldsoyfoundation.org and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheWSF.