The last five years have been very difficult for Wisconsin farm families. Prices for agricultural commodities have been depressed and the rapidly escalating costs of farm inputs (seed, fertilizer, fuel, machinery and land) have resulted in thin margins or actual losses for many farm families in our state. Drought has also been a huge problem in some areas of Wisconsin. If this describes your situation, the Harvest of Hope Fund may be a resource for you.
The goal of the Harvest of Hope Fund is to provide financial help and hope to Wisconsin farm families in difficult financial situations. The fund offers gifts of up to $2,000 to help address common farm financial problems: power cut-offs or threatened power cut-offs, medical or veterinary bills, house or barn fires, feed for cattle, machinery repair, farm accidents, supplies for spring planting, climatic conditions (floods, drought, frost, hail) or simply putting food on the table or fuel in the fuel tank.
The Harvest of Hope was launched in January 1986 and has given over 1,745 grants totaling more than $1,220,000 to farm families in difficult situations throughout Wisconsin.
Five principles are important in making decisions about grants to farm families:
- Our goal is to keep Wisconsin family farms in the hands of family farmers.
- We respond to families in difficult situations, at times that could turn into disaster.
- We respond quickly, usually in two to five days.
- We are especially sensitive to the needs of farm families with small children.
- We link farm families with local resources for financial or management assistance; we believe this is in the best interest of the farm family and the Harvest of Hope Fund, alike.
The fund was created and is still supported by the Madison Christian Community, an ecumenical Christian community on the west side of Madison. If you are interested in applying, go to our website, click on “Serving” and then click on “Harvest of Hope” in the drop-down menu. Simple application forms and financial planning statements are available on the website. Both an application form and a financial planning statement must be submitted for us to act on your request.
If you have questions, call us at (608) 836-1455 and press 8; your call will likely go to voicemail which helps reduce costs and allows you to call day or night. Please provide the reason for your call and your complete name, address, and phone number. Harvest of Hope just might be a resource you find to be helpful!
After serving 33 years as a continuing education professor at UW- Madison and UW–Extension, Roger T. Williams is an active volunteer in several agriculture activities: Chair, Harvest of Hope Fund; Governing Board, Food, Faith and Farming Network; Advisory Board, AgrAbility of Wisconsin; and Mediator, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.