Farm Credit East, the largest lender to Northeast agriculture, and CoBank have each agreed to contribute $10,000 for a total donation of $20,000 to support a partnership between the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst (UMass). This partnership will create a new undergraduate agricultural learning center on campus.
UMass plans to open the Agricultural Learning Center (ALC) as a hands-on living classroom or field laboratory for students to pursue active learning about all forms of agriculture in the commonwealth, including the farming, horticultural and landscape industries. By having areas devoted to livestock, fruits, vegetables, turf, and landscape crops, the UMass Center for Agriculture and Stockbridge School will be able to offer a broad array of agricultural topics to both UMass students and the general public, educating the region's next generation of farmers.
"Farm Credit East is committed to the long-term success of agriculture in Massachusetts," said Bill Lipinski, Farm Credit East CEO. "Our donation to this project will help support the University of Massachusetts to continue educating future generations of Massachusetts' agricultural producers."
A recent report by Farm Credit East noted that there are 7,700 farms throughout Massachusetts, maintaining more than 500,000 acres of farmland. The state's agriculture and related processing activities are important contributors to the local economy, as exemplified by the $13 billion in output and 68,110 jobs the state's agricultural industries contributed to the local economy in 2010.
Farm Credit East extends more than $4.35 billion in loans and has 19 local offices in its six-state service area. In addition to loans and leases, the organization also offers a full range of agriculturally specific financial services for businesses related to farming, horticulture, forestry and commercial fishing. Farm Credit East is governed by a 15-person board of directors. For more information, go to FarmCreditEast.com
CoBank, a Farm Credit System bank, delivers financial services to vital businesses across the U.S.--food, water, electricity and communications. CoBank is the leading lender to agricultural cooperatives nationally, including the Northeast. CoBank is committed to supporting agriculture and rural communities. For more information, go to CoBank.com