"End Rows to End Hunger" - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

"End Rows to End Hunger"

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- From Cannon falls to Iowa from Blue Earth to the Mississippi, a new program is helping farmers help those in need.

The Channel One Food Bank is always seeking donations. With the numbers of those in need growing, a Winona man believes the answer is growing in the fields.

Harvest season is coming to an end.

Times were tougher for some farmers in Iowa, but southeast Minnesota fared better than expected.  "If we were on normal schedule we would be right on pace," said Jack Karnick of Channel One Food Bank. "The harvest would be starting right now."

But if farmers here are going to be OK, that's not true for hundreds and hundreds of area families.  "It's a problem," said Karnick. "It's a big domestic problem. It's a problem right here."

Karnick is making an effort to revamp an old idea. "Farmers are historically very generous people and we wanted to create a program that's favorable to them to donate grain at their local elevators and help feed the hungry," said Karnick.

Karnick explained Channel One Food Bank donates approximately 8 million pounds of food each year to local food shelves and the need is still on the rise.

"It would be fantastic if farmers could see fit to donate their end rows of their fields because that could translate to hundreds and hundreds of bushels," said Karnick.

For those who don't know what an end row is, it's the five or six rows of crop that farmers plant so they have enough room to turn their equipment around. In the process of harvesting the crop, some of this gets damaged making it not as profitable as the rest.

The total number isn't important to Karnick.

"If a farmer can give 50 bushels of grain, it's well worth it," said Karnick. "If they can give one bushel of grain, it's well worth it."

Right now, it's just an idea and the program is just starting. Karnick is hoping by planting this seed of an idea, that big things will happen to help those in need.

"Your neighbor could be involved with it, my neighbor could be involved with it," said Karnick. "That hits home right here. "

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