Farmers like to help out farmers in need, whether it’s in the next county or on the other side of the planet. Kim Heidemann, executive director of the Iowa Sister States program, says thousands of dollars is being raised in Iowa for our sister state of Yamanashi, Japan, where farmers endured a devastating weather event back in March.
Heidemann says, “They had a massive snowstorm and the snow piled on so quickly onto their greenhouses that it destroyed the greenhouses which in turn, of course, destroyed what was inside of the greenhouses.” The region’s agricultural sector was wiped out. Damage estimates from the storm exceed $243 million, yet Heidemann notes, many Iowans didn’t hear a peep about it.
“Unfortunately, there’s a lot of disasters, there’s a lot of things in the news and they all compete for airtime,” Heidemann says. “It was really our friends in Yamanashi that had let us know this.” When floods washed over all 99 Iowa counties back in 1993, she notes, Yamanashi donated 300-thousand dollars to help Iowans with the recovery.
Already, Iowans have donated $30,000 to the Yamanashi Relief Fund and charitable contributions can still be made. “Whatever dollar amount people would like to send is greatly appreciated,” Heidemann says. “Not only is this a financial contribution but this is an opportunity to help out people that are a part of our sister state. The relationship goes back over 50 years.”
Iowa’s ties with the Yamanashi Prefecture began more than five decades ago when an Iowan advocated for assistance to be sent to Yamanashi in the form of the famous Iowa Hog Lift. Iowa has several other sister states around the globe, including in the following countries: Ukraine, Russia, Taiwan, Malaysia, Italy, Mexico and Kosovo.