Farm Credit Continues Sup­port Of FFA Stu­dents

Riverbank News - - NEWS -

Since 1928, the Cal­i­for­nia FFA has been en­cour­ag­ing high school stu­dents to pur­sue a wide range of ca­reers re­lated to agri­cul­ture through hands-on learn­ing and lead­er­ship de­vel­op­ment. And through­out vir­tu­ally all of FFA’s his­tory, Farm Credit has been a proud sup­porter of the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

That sup­port continues to­day, as Farm Credit as­so­ci­a­tions in Cal­i­for­nia to­gether with CoBank, a na­tional co­op­er­a­tive bank and mem­ber of the Farm Credit Sys­tem, are col­lec­tively do­nat­ing $250,000 over the four years end­ing in 2020. The grant will sup­port the state FFA or­ga­ni­za­tion as it continues to ex­pand its ef­forts and serve its more than 89,000 mem­bers.

“A large part of our col­lec­tive suc­cess at the lo­cal and state level is due to in­dus­try lead­ers like Farm Credit that con­tinue to invest in the next gen­er­a­tion,” said Katie Otto, de­vel­op­ment direc­tor for the Cal­i­for­nia FFA Foun­da­tion, the fundrais­ing arm of the or­ga­ni­za­tion for­merly known as the Fu­ture Farm­ers of Amer­ica.

“They have been gen­er­ous donors and, more im­por­tantly, part­ners. There are count­less Farm Credit em­ploy­ees who are former FFA mem­bers and now sit on lo­cal FFA chap­ter booster, alumni and ad­vi­sory com­mit­tees. They have kids in lo­cal FFA pro­grams, and sup­port chap­ters in ev­ery as­pect of what they do. That’s in ad­di­tion to the gen­er­ous fi­nan­cial sup­port.”

Leili Ghazi, pres­i­dent of CoBank’s West­ern Re­gion Agribusiness Bank­ing Group, said Farm Credit sup­ports FFA so strongly be­cause FFA stu­dents re­ally are the fu­ture of farm­ing in the Golden State.

“Agri­cul­ture re­mains a vi­tal part of Cal­i­for­nia’s econ­omy, but more im­por­tantly it is es­sen­tial for feed­ing the na­tion and in­deed the world,” Ghazi said. “By in­vest­ing in young peo­ple to­day, we’re help­ing en­sure the in­dus­try will re­main strong and vi­brant for decades to come.”

Ac­cord­ing to Otto, Farm Credit has con­trib­uted more than a half-mil­lion dol­lars di­rectly to Cal­i­for­nia FFA over the past 25 years and at least that much more in do­na­tions and as­sis­tance to the more than 330 lo­cal chap­ters in both ur­ban and ru­ral parts of the state.

Otto said Farm Credit sup­port has been cru­cial to the suc­cess of nu­mer­ous ini­tia­tives and pro­grams, in­clud­ing:

• In­creas­ing the num­ber of stu­dents who can participate in pro­grams – es­pe­cially im­por­tant as FFA’s mem­ber­ship has grown to an all-time high in re­cent years.

• Keep­ing more than 50 lead­er­ship de­vel­op­ment con­fer­ences affordable for stu­dents, en­sur­ing that de­spite fam­ily in­come, the stu­dents can at­tend and learn.

• Al­low­ing FFA to con­struct a sign out­side its 10-year-old head­quar­ters in Galt, pro­vid­ing ex­po­sure to thou­sands of trav­el­ers a day pass­ing by on High­way 99.

Farm Credit’s lo­cal sup­port in­volves more than just do­na­tions. At the re­cent Cal­i­for­nia FFA State Fi­nals Com­pe­ti­tion at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Farm Credit do­nated ap­prox­i­mately $14,000 to buy food for the end-of-year bar­be­cue and em­ploy­ees of the lo­cal Farm Credit West branch did all the cook­ing. More than 2,500 stu­dents from across the state par­tic­i­pated in the com­pe­ti­tion, com­pet­ing in 21 events, in­clud­ing agron­omy, dairy cat­tle, farm busi­ness man­age­ment, mar­ket­ing, vet­eri­nary sci­ence and weld­ing.

Amer­i­can Ag Credit, Farm Credit West, CoBank, Fresno-Madera Farm Credit, Golden State Farm Credit, Co­lusa-Glenn Farm Credit and Yosemite Farm Credit are co­op­er­a­tively owned lending in­sti­tu­tions pro­vid­ing agri­cul­ture and ru­ral Amer­ica with a de­pend­able source of credit. They spe­cial­ize in fi­nanc­ing farm­ers, ranch­ers, farmerowned co­op­er­a­tives, ru­ral util­i­ties and agribusi­nesses. Farm Credit of­fers a broad range of loan prod­ucts and fi­nan­cial ser­vices, in­clud­ing long-term real es­tate loans, op­er­at­ing lines of credit, equip­ment and fa­cil­ity loans, cash man­age­ment and ap­praisal and leas­ing ser­vices. For more in­for­ma­tion, visit www.farm­cred­i­tal­liance.com.

Cal­i­for­nia FFA serves more than 89,000 Cal­i­for­nia high school stu­dents and strives to make a dif­fer­ence in their lives by de­vel­op­ing their potential for premier lead­er­ship, per­sonal growth and ca­reer suc­cess through ca­reer tech­ni­cal ed­u­ca­tion.

PHOTO CON­TRIB­UTED

Shown, Farm Credit West staff and FFA stu­dents at the re­cent end-of-year bar­be­cue hosted at Cal Poly.

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