FRESNO (March 26, 2014) — CoBank and seven affiliated Farm Credit associations that serve California’s agricultural sector announced today that they have committed $100,000 to alleviate hunger in drought-stricken farm communities throughout the state. The associations together pledged $50,000, which CoBank matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis.
The seven organizations are American AgCredit, Farm Credit Services of Colusa-Glenn, Farm Credit Services Southwest, Farm Credit West, Fresno Madera Farm Credit, Golden State Farm Credit and Yosemite Farm Credit. Together, these lenders serve as the single largest source of loans and financial services for California’s agricultural economy, including farmers, ranchers, growers and agribusiness cooperatives.
Funds from the joint contribution will be directed to food banks in rural areas hurt by the historic drought, which has idled thousands of acres of farmland and left many farm workers unemployed.
“One of the many downside impacts of the drought has been increased food insecurity for the labor force that California agriculture depends on to be successful,” said Robert B. Engel, chief executive officer of CoBank. “We hope this contribution by the Farm Credit organizations that serve the state will make a meaningful impact and help to reduce the level hardship for farm workers.”
“We’re enormously grateful for this contribution,” said Andy Souza, president and CEO of Community Food Bank in Fresno, one of the food banks that will receive funds from the Farm Credit contribution. “California’s farm communities literally put food on the table for the entire nation. I commend Farm Credit for recognizing the importance of farm workers to the success of the state’s agricultural economy and stepping forward to help out people in need.”
The Farm Credit System is a nationwide network of banks and lending associations that provide loans, leases and other financial services to agriculture and other rural industries. Farm Credit institutions are cooperatively owned by the farmers, ranchers, growers, cooperatives and other borrowers they serve, and governed by boards elected by their customer-owners. CoBank and the seven Farm Credit associations serving California have aggregate loan portfolio totaling more than $17 billion and finance every sector of agriculture in the state, including citrus, nuts, vegetables, cotton, rice, livestock, wine and timber.
About Farm Credit
For nearly a century, Farm Credit has been a national provider of credit and related services to rural America through its cooperative network of customer-owned lending institutions. Farm Credit provides nearly $200 billion in loans and leases to farmers, ranchers, rural homeowners, aquatic producers, timber harvesters, agribusinesses, and agricultural and rural utility cooperatives. For more information about the Farm Credit System, please visit www.farmcredit.com.