By Howard Royer
The 2014 Polo (Ill.) Growing Project has completed harvest of 40 acres of soybeans with a yield averaging 60 bushels per acre, reports Jim Schmidt, grower and project coordinator. With a portion of the grain contracted for in advance, the sale averaged roughly $11 a bushel, well above the current market price of $8.85 for out-of-the-field transactions. The Polo Growing Project is a joint project of the Dixon, Highland Avenue, and Polo Church of the Brethren congregations in Illinois, and Tinley Park Presbyterian Church.
Proceeds of $26,800, to be augmented as in the past by a substantial gift from an anonymous donor, will be invested in the Foods Resource Bank to help groups of smallholder farmers in impoverished countries develop sustainable agriculture. Since 2005, the Polo Growing Project has raised $295,000 for FRB-supported agricultural work overseas.
Offsetting the cost of inputs for the bean crop were donations from the Dixon, Highland Avenue, and Polo congregations and Tinley Park church, each contributing $1,700. Agribusinesses in the Polo area also lent support to the effort.
Now in its 15th year, the Foods Resource Bank has reached one million people through 125 agricultural programs. Polo is in its 10th year of partnership with FRB. Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren donors have supported the project for the past six years.
— Howard Royer served for many years on the Church of the Brethren denominational staff, and is a former manager of the Global Food Crisis Fund.