In agricultural towns throughout the world, prospering farmers make for strong communities. Everywhere we operate, we strive to be much more than just a feed dealer. We seek to give farmers the best solutions to help grow their operations and livelihoods, and to make a positive impact through our operations, our business expertise, our employees’ time and skills, our partnerships, and our charitable giving.
Our award-winning farmer training programs bring together the expertise of international and local partners, as well as our own know-how, to help small-scale producers expand their businesses. As they grow, they create nutritious food for their families and nearby markets, while also providing additional opportunities for related businesses in their communities. Furthermore, increased livelihoods allow them to better provide for their children’s healthcare and education.
Whether restoring wildlife areas and planting trees, donating food and pet feed to local shelters and food banks, or helping build schools, our employees volunteer to make a difference. And our global partnerships (link to corporate partnerships page?) allow us to combine different domains of expertise to create innovative programs on the ground.
Sustainable business models
This year, we launched a new partnership with Heifer International, a non-profit that specializes in helping farmers to grow their operations. Beginning in Qingshen County in China’s southwestern Sichuan province, the program will provide 150 smallholder farmers with 100 baby chicks, veterinary support, and training in best practices for raising poultry. It also will deliver marketing and business training to the farmers.
The goal is to reach 450 farmers in the next few years through Heifer’s model of “passing on the gift.” Through this model, the original beneficiaries of the program will be able to assist their neighbors. Once they have grown their operations, they will pass on baby chicks to another set of farmers, who in turn will do the same. This is a core component of Heifer’s enrichment philosophy.
Enriching Farmer Livelihoods
Many farm families with low incomes in this region face difficult choices when one spouse goes to work in a factory in another part of the country while the other stays on the farm. A primary goal with the Qingshen program is to enable these families to remain together as their farm operations become more productive and profitable.
Like so many of Cargill’s community enrichment activities, the Qingshen program will provide important learnings that would enable Cargill and others to replicate it in other regions, potentially helping similar agricultural communities in the future.
KEYWORDS: Volunteerism & Community Engagement, Business & Trade, farmers, Heifer International, Cargill, food security, sustainable agriculture