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Farm Credit gave $900k in Calif. last year

Seven associations contributed to over 130 nonprofits and other entities.

Farm Press Staff

April 10, 2024

3 Min Read
Aubrey Bettencourt
Aubrey Bettencourt, president and CEO of the Almond Conference, gives remarks. Her organization received funding in 2023 from the Farm Credit Alliance.Todd Fitchette

The seven Farm Credit associations in California combined to contribute more than $900,000 to over 130 agriculture-oriented organizations around the state in 2023, the cooperative announced.

The funding supports farming and ranching in four main areas – raising awareness of agriculture, preservation of agriculture, education and research, and support for young, beginning and small farmers, according to Farm Credit.

“Farm-related organizations such as the ones Farm Credit supports are doing a great job advocating for and supporting farmers and ranchers,” said Kevin Ralph, California State President for AgWest Farm Credit. “Investing in their work is helping the industry thrive today and will ensure it can continue providing food for the nation and the world in the years to come.”

In addition to AgWest, the other Farm Credit organizations operating in California are American AgCredit, CoBank, Colusa-Glenn Farm Credit, Fresno Madera Farm Credit, Golden State Farm Credit and Yosemite Farm Credit.

The bulk of the contributions – nearly $500,000 – was directed to organizations that raise awareness through a variety of methods. Two of those nonprofits were Western United Dairies and the Almond Alliance.

Western United Dairies is the trade organization representing more than 75% of the milk produced in California. Farm Credit supports the group’s Dairy Leaders Program, which selects dairy professionals to participate in a months-long program to learn about the state and federal legislative and regulatory processes, how milk products are marketed, and ways they can communicate effective messages about the industry.

The Almond Alliance, meanwhile, is the advocacy voice for the $5.62 billion almond industry, which in 2023 focused on such issues as supply chain breakdowns that limited exports to Asia and efforts to upgrade the state’s aging water infrastructure and how it is managed.

Preserving agriculture

Farm Credit also donated over $150,000 to groups seeking to preserve ag, including the Farmland Trust and the Rangeland Trust, which both purchase conservation easements to allow farms and ranches to continue in operation without fear of future development. Farm Credit sponsors major fundraising efforts for each organization, which helps them stem the loss of an average of 50,000 acres of ag land annually in the state.

Education and research is a third Farm Credit priority, receiving over $150,000 in 2023. Organizations receiving support included the Small Farm Conference, organized by the Community Alliance with Family Farmers, and the Latino Farmer Conference, sponsored by the National Center for Appropriate Technology and the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Finally, Farm Credit also supported efforts to cultivate the next generation of growers, donating over $125,000 to organizations such as the Center for Land-Based Learning and the California Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers program.

The Young Farmers and Ranchers program is designed to identify, grow and develop young Farm Bureau members and provide them with opportunities and experiences to help them become effective leaders in the agriculture community.

The Center for Land-Based Learning’s FARMS Leadership program is designed to introduce, train and recruit about 200 high school students from major farming regions for college and career opportunities in agriculture and environmental science.

Source: Farm Credit Alliance

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