Howard Buffett was born to privilege. But from an early age, the son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett wanted nothing more than to be a farmer. Later in life he found a way to combine his privilege and his passion, forming a foundation that helps fight hunger both in America and around the world.
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NPR recently profiled the younger Buffett, who shared his goals to fight hunger both here and abroad thanks to studies conducted on his 1,400-acre research farm in Arizona, where scientists are figuring out how to use land and livestock more efficiently. The research, funded by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, could help corporate farmers here and subsistence farmers abroad.
“You’ve got a global food problem,” the 58-year-old tells NPR in the July 23 radio-cast. “You’ve got a food problem in the United States. You’ve got a food problem in Africa … in Asia. And so the truth is, the U.S. is going to have to produce more, on not very many more acres, honestly. And so we’re going to have to do a better job.”
So Buffett’s foundation tests things like soil content, irrigation and planting techniques. It’s figuring out how to make arid land more fecund and how to translate the knowledge to poverty stricken farmers in Africa.
Though his efforts continue with a global focus, Buffett recently decided to emphasize the war against domestic hunger, where millions go without food in the shadow of plenty.
He’s teamed up with Feeding America and started what he calls the “Invest an Acre” program, which encourages farmers to donate an acre of produce to a local food bank.
The Buffett family has long been notably charitable. Warren Buffet is widely regarded for his altruistic corporate practices. In a PayScale survey, we found that Warren Buffett maintains the lowest CEO-to-worker compensation rate on the Fortune 500 list: 10 to 1 compared to 1,737 to 1 for UnitedHealth Group CEO Stephen J. Hemsley.
It’s encouraging to see someone put their wealth and influence, whether inherited or self-made, to good use.
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