Dairy producers tee off for charity

Dairy producers raise a glass to a successful charity golf event sponsored by Rabobank on July 30 to raise funds for Voices Against Violence, a Twin Falls, Idaho, organization that assists women and children who are victims of domestic violence. From left are Carl Slavos, John Reitsma, Tony Visser, Jesus Hurtado, Gilbert Hurtado, Luie Knudsen and Heidi Reitsma Jarvis.

JEROME, Idaho — Dairy producers hit the links on Monday in a charity golf event to raise funds for Voices Against Violence, a nonprofit organization that assists victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

In its second year, the charity event sponsored by Rabo AgriFinance is a way for dairy producers to give back to the community that supports them, said Evan Roth, a fourth-generation dairy producer, agricultural law attorney and a former VAV board member who serves on the organization’s fundraising committee.

“They do it because they employ a lot of people in the valley and consider it a responsibility of being part of the community,” he said.

Some of their employees have probably been a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault, he said.

“At the end of the day, it’s pretty simple; we don’t believe women or children should be abused,” he said.

Mike Bosma, co-owner of Idaho Milk Products, said his company participated because it’s an important cause and women and children need to be protected.

“This is a big problem in all communities. It’s important that we as a society get together and recognize this. We need to put an end to it,” he said.

Donations will at least help give women and mothers the financial confidence to break out of the situation, he said.

The charity event is better than just a golf tournament because people will be generous and the money raised is for a good purpose, Arie Roeloffs, a Wendell dairy producer, said.

“I think it’s a great cause,” he said.

Dairy producers and agribusinesses were generous indeed. Donations eclipsed $40,000 due to strong participation and a large anonymous donation, Todd Cook, Rabo AgriFinance relationship manager and an organizer of the event, said.

This year’s goal was to raise $28,000 after raising $25,000 last year, he said.

“It was a lot of fun and a great success. There was good participation and a lot of good feedback,” he said.

In addition to a client-appreciation event, the tournament is a way to have fun, build relationships, raise money for a good cause and help people in the community get back on their feet, he said.

VAV has served victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse in south-central Idaho for 29 years.

Last year, it served more than 1,400 clients, provided nearly 8,000 overnight stays, more than 800 individual therapy sessions and more than 50 group therapy sessions, Donna Graybill, VAV executive director, said.

It also provided about 80,000 meals and longer-term shelter for 200 people “thanks to people like you,” she told those participating in the charity golf tournament.

This year’s tournament drew 88 golfers on 22 teams with an entry fee of $500 per team. Participants and others in the community also sponsored about many holes at $500 each, Cook said.

Rabo AgriFinance donated $10,000 for the event, and others kicked in for meals, refreshments and scoreboard sponsorship. Burks Tractor donated $5,000; Frazier and Associates, Cooper Norman and Eide Bailly each donated $4,000; Moss Adams and Idaho Milk Products both donated $3,000; and Zoetis donated $2,000.

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