CoBank, a cooperative bank serving agribusinesses, rural infrastructure providers and Farm Credit associations throughout the United States, created a $3 million charitable fund designed to benefit cooperatives and charitable groups they support throughout rural America.
Under the bank's new "Sharing Success" program, CoBank matched contributions by its cooperative customers to nonprofit organizations of their choice. Contributions made during a portion of 2012 were matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis, from a minimum of $1,000 up to a maximum of $5,000.
"Shared success is a hallmark of the cooperative business model, so we're absolutely delighted to be announcing this new program," said Robert B. Engel, CoBank's president and chief executive officer. "Sharing Success program will match contributions by co-ops to nonprofit organizations across rural America.
"Throughout rural America, cooperatives of all sizes are working not only to provide value to their members, but to improve the quality of life in their local communities. We hope all our cooperative customers will take advantage of this new fund, and use it to leverage the support they provide to worthy causes in the areas they serve," he said.
And that leverage was truly put to good use through Farm Credit East, which has been a historical supporter and sponsor of the New York Farm Bureau Foundation for Agricultural Education's programs and projects. Farm Credit East's 2012 $5,000 contribution was matched, dollar for dollar, by CoBank, providing a total of $10,000 of funding for the many facets of ag education provided by the foundation.
Paul Bencal, a grape farmer from Niagara County and chair of the New York Farm Bureau Foundation for Agricultural Education, thanked Farm Credit East and CoBank for their recent support that will help the NYFB Foundation reach students and consumers about agriculture.
Bencal said, "The commitment by the Farm Credit East and CoBank to support our not-for-profit agricultural education foundation is truly outstanding.
"The efforts of NYFB's foundation are critical to ensuring the successful recruitment of the next generation of family farmers and employees," continued Bencal. "I am very pleased by Farm Credit East and CoBank's recognition of the important role agricultural education plays in the lives of one and all, and we will utilize these funds to really capture the imagination of students and open their eyes to the expanding and ever-changing careers that exist in the agricultural and food sector, as well as dispel many consumer myths and misconceptions."