St. Paul, Minn. – Three Farm Credit organizations in Minnesota have joined together to support the 10th Annual Immigrant and Minority Farmers Conference (IMFC) to be held this Saturday and Sunday, February 7 and 8, at the University of Minnesota Continuing Education and Conference Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Agricultural lenders AgStar Financial Services and United FCS joined AgriBank, their St. Paul, Minn.-based funding bank, in sponsoring the two-day event designed to support new and aspiring farmers and their contributions to building an adequate supply of local foods, local economic development and healthy communities.
“There are a lot of barriers facing farmers trying to get their start,” said Bill York, AgriBank CEO. “Efforts like these that share information and create connections for fledgling farmers are an important way to fulfill Farm Credit’s mission to support all agriculture.”
“Agstar’s committed to promoting opportunities for immigrant farmers,” said Sai Thao, emerging agribusiness officer, AgStar. “We believe these entrepreneurs serve as important role models for their communities and provide fresh and healthy foods to local consumers.”
Hosted by a collaborative of farmers, volunteers, and government, nonprofit, and University of Minnesota personnel, the conference provides education and resources to small-farm operators, and fosters relationships between farmers and community partners. The event is free for farmers, and language interpretation is available in Spanish, Hmong, Karen, Bhutanese and Somali.
“Immigrants and minorities have always played a vital role in Midwestern agriculture,” said United FCS CEO Marc Knisely. “It is important to the future of ag that we help support and educate new entrants, particularly those that participate in local food systems.”
More than 12 different workshops featuring experienced farmers and professionals will cover topics essential to successful farming and vegetable production. Past workshops have included topics such as understanding the rules and regulations that govern the production and sale of food and flowers, marketing concepts and practical skills, critical but basic recordkeeping, modern farm practices, food safety for specialty crop farmers, soil health and USDA programs that can improve and strengthen farms.
AgriBank is one of the largest banks within the national Farm Credit System, with more than $90 billion in total assets. Under the Farm Credit System’s cooperative structure, AgriBank is owned by 17 affiliated Farm Credit Associations. The AgriBank District covers America’s Midwest, a 15-state area stretching from Wyoming to Ohio and Minnesota to Arkansas. About half of the nation’s cropland is located within the AgriBank District, providing the Bank and its Association owners with exceptional expertise in production agriculture. For more information, visit www.AgriBank.com.
AgStar Financial Services, ACA, headquartered in Mankato, Minn., employs more than 600 full-time team members. The company is part of the national Farm Credit System and has a public mission to serve 69 counties in Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin. AgStar’s industry specialization, client segments and market delivery systems result in diversification nationwide. The company has expertise in the corn, soybean, swine, and dairy and bio-energy industries. AgStar has developed successful programs in loans, leases, rural community development, crop insurance, consulting and rural home mortgages. As a value-added financial services cooperative, AgStar allocates patronage dividends to its 15,000 stockholders. The company is also committed to giving back to rural residents, organizations and communities through AgStar’s Fund for Rural America. Visit www.AgStar.com for more information.
United FCS is a member of the Farm Credit System, a nationwide network of banks and retail lending associations chartered to support the borrowing needs of U.S. agriculture and the nation’s rural economy. Serving over 6,000 customer-members and with over $1.7 billion of assets, United FCS has a primary focus in a 22-county service area in West Central Minnesota and North Central Wisconsin providing loans, leases and a wide array of financial services through 12 branch office locations and 190 locally-based employees. For additional information on United FCS, visit www.unitedfcs.com.
For more information and to register for the conference visit: http://www.imfconference.org/.