Today Farm Credit wrapped up a series of celebratory events held in Washington, D.C. recognizing its 100th anniversary of providing reliable, consistent credit to rural American communities and agriculture. Farm Credit 100 activities began Tuesday, June 14 and concluded this afternoon on a high note with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack delivering a keynote speech acknowledging Farm Credit's centennial milestone at the Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives Award Luncheon.
"Today, we are building a 21st century agricultural economy that is stronger and more diverse than ever before, carrying on the rural values that represent the very best of us. Rural America is seeing the benefits of the seven strongest years for agricultural exports in history, increased demand for local and regional foods and expansion of the bio-based economy, and Farm Credit has been a strong partner in making all of this possible," said Secretary Vilsack. "For the past century, Farm Credit has delivered on its mission to provide reliable access to financing, supporting rural Americans in times of hardship and making it possible for more Americans to get involved in farming. These services have helped meet the evolving needs of rural America and will play a vital role in shaping the future of American agriculture."
Farm Credit 100 Week highlights include:
- On Tuesday, Farm Credit 100 Week kicked off on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives with an hour-long recognition of Farm Credit's mission and 100 years of service to rural communities and agriculture.
- Farm Credit hosted two panel discussions in Capitol Hill addressing rural infrastructure services and the needs of young, beginning and small farmers, all of which are essential for the long-term viability of agriculture and rural communities.
- Wednesday evening, a Congressional reception featured a pop-up farmer's market with local food products grown and raised by Farm Credit customers across the country.
- The final event of the week, the Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives award luncheon, was the culmination of a year-long program featuring a national search to identify 100 leaders who are shaping the future of rural communities and agriculture. Honorees were recognized by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and presented with a hand-crafted commemorative item unique to each recipient.
The Wednesday panel discussion was hosted by Farm Credit in collaboration with Representatives Austin Scott (R-GA) and David Scott (D-GA), Chairman and Ranking Member, respectively, of the Commodity Exchanges, Energy and Credit Subcommittee. The panel addressed the critical needs of rural communities and agriculture for clean water, efficient energy and modern telecommunications services in order to continue to provide food, fuel and fiber, and compete in an evolving global economy, and featured Farm Credit customers who provide these essential rural infrastructure services.
"I would argue that a farmer three miles down a dirt road needs the same robust broadband that a Wall Street banker does," said panelist Mike McClain, chief strategy officer at ComSouth.
Following the panel at the House, a reception at the Library of Congress was held for members of Congress, Farm Credit employees, members of Farm Credit boards of directors, and customers. Attendees included Representatives Michael Conaway (R-TX) and Collin Peterson (D-MN), Chairman and Ranking Member, respectively, of the House Agriculture Committee at the reception. At the event, a pop-up farmer's market featured more than 60 products grown and raised by Farm Credit customers, including nuts, dried fruits, coffee, honey, syrup, jerky, pickled asparagus, jams, salad dressing and beeswax lip balm.
This morning, Senators Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, respectively, hosted a panel discussion about the future of agriculture, including the need for, and unique challenges of, young, beginning and small farm operators. Farm Credit has a long-established mission of supporting this important sector. After opening remarks provided by the Senators, three agricultural producers and a representative from the Farmer Veteran Coalition – which helps military veterans get started in agriculture – discussed their challenges and opportunities.
"We're creating opportunities for people to not only have food, but also jobs, encouraging young people to stay on the farm or go into agriculture," remarked Sen. Stabenow on the future of agriculture and rural America.
"Farm Credit is proud of our century of service, but even more important is our commitment to support the future success of rural communities and agriculture with essential financing," said Todd Van Hoose, president and CEO of the Farm Credit Council. "Farm Credit was created to support these critical industries in good times and in bad, and as we recognize our century of service, we are committed and well-positioned to continue this support long into the future."
About Farm Credit
Farm Credit supports rural communities and agriculture with reliable, consistent credit and financial services, today and tomorrow. Farm Credit has been fulfilling its mission of helping rural America grow and thrive for a century by providing farmers with the capital they need to make their businesses successful and by financing vital infrastructure and communication services. For more information about Farm Credit please visit www.farmcredit.com.