At CoBank, our mission is to serve as a dependable provider of credit to vital industries throughout rural America: agribusiness, water, communications and power. Yet we recognize that the landscape of agriculture and rural America is diverse and complex, and that some small or emerging cooperatives are sometimes overlooked when it comes to financing and other technical assistance. To truly fulfill our mission and strengthen our rural communities, we want to serve them too whenever possible.
Many of today’s successful agricultural cooperatives and rural infrastructure providers once faced similar challenges such as undercapitalization, lack of financial tools tailored to meet their needs and inadequate technical support to build their businesses. Through its Growing Rural America initiative, and in partnership with Farm Credit associations, cooperative development centers and those committed to the development of rural America, CoBank wants to help those entities to grow and succeed.
Besides outreach to those small cooperatives, rural infrastructure providers and local food systems, the Growing Rural America initiative also focuses on the importance of education and health care in rural America. In 2012, CoBank contributed $2.5 million to the University of Colorado Denver's new first-of-its-kind Center for Commodities and provided scholarships for students across the country pursuing studies in finance, agribusiness, cooperative management and related disciplines.
Also in 2012 a new health care clinic opened in Limon, Colorado, thanks to financing from CoBank's innovative Agricultural and Rural Communities (ARC) bond program. Authorized by the Farm Credit Administration, the ARC bond program targets investments that meet the growing and changing financing needs of American agriculture and rural communities.