Seventy-five years ago, the world was emerging from the most damaging war ever fought. Much of Europe was in ruins, many lives had been lost, and families were pushed to the brink of starvation.
At this time, a young farmer from the Midwest called Dan West headed to Spain to help families displaced by the country’s civil war. Day in, day out, West and his fellow humanitarians set up their soup kitchen, feeding the hungry and weary. People would leave their service with their bellies full, but often without knowing where their next meal would come from.
On his return to the United States, West continued to develop an idea that had first come to him back in Spain. What if families on the war-torn continent had their own livestock, producing enough milk to add much-needed nutrition to people’s diets?
This idea marked the beginning of the organization I lead today, Heifer International. West and other American farmers knew the importance of food security in a fragmented world and started sending shipments of cows to communities across the world, equipping them with the means to feed themselves and generate their own income.
Fast forward to today, and many U.S. farmers are themselves struggling to make ends meet. Diversity has disappeared from most American farms and ongoing trade disputes sow uncertainty for an industry that thrives on stability. Faced with their own problems in this increasingly introspective climate, should global food security remain important for U.S. farmers?