As a mission-based cooperative lender and member of the Farm Credit System, CoBank is committed to serving as a good corporate citizen. The bank maintains a variety of corporate social responsibility programs primarily focused on rural America and the vitality of rural communities and industries.
CoBank’s various corporate social responsibility programs fall into six different focus areas.
In 2017, CoBank made a total of $12.3 million in charitable contributions to hundreds of organizations, most of it directed to rural communities across the United States. Our corporate giving includes our signature Sharing Success and No Barriers programs as well special, one-time contributions made in partnership with customers and other stakeholders or in response to external events. For example, in response to the significant number of natural disasters that impacted rural communities in 2017, the bank provided nearly $1 million to support relief programs across the country, helping communities to recover, rebuild and move forward.
Support for Agriculture and Local Foods
With retail and wholesale agribusiness portfolio totaling approximately $80 billion, CoBank serves as one of the nation’s largest agricultural lenders. In addition, we support agriculture through a variety of citizenship initiatives, including Young, Beginning & Small (YBS) farming programs; urban agriculture programs; and local food programs that create new markets and sources of demand for farmers.
Cooperative Advocacy and Industry Support
Sponsorship of trade and industry associations is core part of CoBank’s commitment to corporate citizenship. In 2017, the bank contributed over $3 million to more than 300 national, state and local organizations that promote the policy interests of cooperatives and the rural industries we finance.
Research and Higher Education
Since 2012, CoBank has contributed over $10 million to America’s land grant universities and other institutions that are developing the next generation of farmers and rural business leaders. These contributions underwrite university-based cooperative development centers; scholarships for students pursuing careers in rural industries; and research that fosters knowledge and innovation that benefit rural America, from agriculture to energy to international trade in commodities.
Rural Community Development
In addition to its core lending business, CoBank is an investor in equity funds that promote job creation and economic development in rural communities, including a number of funds formed under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Business Investment Program. As of March 31, 2018, CoBank’s financial commitment to rural economic development funds totaled approximately $72.5 million. CoBank has also partnered with other Farm Credit organizations, USDA and community banks to facilitate over $300 million in community facility bond investments.
Sustainability and the Environment
CoBank supports solar, wind and other renewable energy projects throughout the United States in partnership with its customers in the rural power industry. The bank’s portfolio of renewable energy loans totals over $3 billion, making it one of the largest underwriters of renewable energy in the country. In addition, the bank has a wide array of programs in place to reduce the environmental impact of its business operations.
Growing Rural America
We encourage you to learn more about corporate citizenship at CoBank by reading our annual corporate social responsibility report, Growing Rural America. The report provides complete information about our various citizenship programs as well as stories that illustrate the real-world impact of these programs have in rural communities.