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John Deere Foundation announces $19 million in grants aimed at global hunger

By Stephen Elliott

October 29, 2023

The John Deere Foundation, Moline, Ill., announced a series of grants totaling $19 million aimed at eliminating hunger by increasing access to food, uplifting resource-constrained farmers and supporting global food systems. Awarded to World Food Program USA, One Acre Fund, and The Nature Conservancy, these are the three largest grants in the foundation’s history and strengthen John Deere’s commitment to creating a world in which food is a moral right for all, the company said.

John Deere Foundation provides grants for hungerThe grants were announced by Josh Jepsen, senior vice president and chief financial officer of John Deere, at the World Food Prize Foundation’s Norman E. Borlaug International Dialogue in Des Moines, Iowa.

“We believe firmly that the world’s farmers deserve our collective support and advocacy if our goal is to realize the full promise of the ‘Green Revolution,’” Jepsen said during his remarks. “The private sector, including specifically those businesses involved in agriculture, have the responsibility to help close the gaps in investment. Guided by concepts such as ‘trust-based philanthropy,’ we can do better, particularly in honoring the work of nonprofit organizations serving marginalized growers capable of making leaps of their own.”

The World Food Program USA was awarded $5 million to strengthen the capacity of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), the world’s largest humanitarian organization. In 2022, WFP reached an estimated 160 million people with vital food, cash, commodity vouchers, and other support, often during emergencies and within conflict zones.

“We thank our long-standing partner, the John Deere Foundation, for their transformational investment. They have been committed to supporting WFP’s innovation and tackling the root causes of global hunger,” said Barron Segar, World Food Program USA president and CEO.

One Acre Fund was awarded $7.5 million to accelerate its work to ensure that every farm family has the knowledge and means to achieve big harvests, support healthy families and cultivate rich soil. In 2022, One Acre Fund served more than 4 million farmers through partnerships and its full-service programs, equipping farmers to achieve $316 million in new profits and assets.

“As a result of the John Deere Foundation’s grant, we will be able to support more than 750,000 farm families across sub-Saharan Africa over five years, unlocking nearly $65 million in new farmer profits and assets through increased food crop, cash crop, and agroforestry productivity,” said Matthew Forti, One Acre Fund’s managing director. “Our relationship with the John Deere Foundation allows us to provide farm families with pathways to prosperity and food security, while building needed climate and ecological resilience in the face of increasing challenges.”

The Nature Conservancy was awarded $6.5 million to promote natural climate solutions in key regions across the globe. The grant will fund forest restoration, conservation, and agroforestry projects in economically and environmentally vulnerable areas in Argentina, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico and the U.S.

“Natural climate solutions unlock benefits for people, nature and agriculture by restoring soil health, increasing biodiversity, improving the water cycle and building climate resilience, however, they are often underfunded and underutilized,” said Michael Doane, global managing director for food and freshwater systems at The Nature Conservancy. “This landmark grant will help The Nature Conservancy test natural climate solutions in food landscapes around the globe, improving the lives and livelihoods of farmers and illustrating the critical role of nature in sustainable food production.”