Research and Higher Education

At CoBank, we believe that research and education play a vital role in the health of rural America, today and in the future. CoBank has supported many land grant universities and other institutions that are developing the next generation of American farmers, ranchers and rural business leaders. The research they conduct fosters knowledge and innovation that benefits rural industries—from agriculture to energy to international trade in commodities. In addition, the bank is committed to seeking out university partners that are conducting research into the social and economic issues impacting rural communities.

In addition, the bank committed to seeking out university partners that are conducting research into the social and economic issues impacting rural communities.

In late 2017, the bank partnered with the Cooperative Development Foundation to establish the CoBank Advised Fund which provides grants to universities and colleges whose programs are consistent with the bank’s corporate citizenship programs and objectives. CoBank’s initial investment in the fund totaled $3.5 million.

CoBank has supported many land grant universities and other institutions that are developing the next generation of American farmers, ranchers and rural business leaders.

Under the agreement, CoBank provides recommendations for university programs that meet its criteria. Grants are then considered by CDF’s board of directors and administered by the foundation.

"CoBank is proud to partner with CDF on the CoBank Advised Fund," said Tom Halverson, CoBank president and chief executive officer. "We know that research and education will continue to be an important part of our corporate citizenship programs. Establishing a donor-advised fund allows us to make financial contributions now that can be invested by the foundation and distributed over time as we identify institutions and programs that align with our priorities and those of the industries we serve."

In 2018, CDF made the first grants from the CoBank Advised Fund, including

  • Grants to Kansas State University’s Arthur Capper Cooperative Center and the University of Minnesota in support of cooperative education and research initiatives.
  • Grants to Purdue University to support research on the economic impact of rural broadband investment and deployment, and to support enhancements to the facility housing the university’s agricultural economics programs.
  • A grant to South Dakota State University to support development of its new Precision Agriculture facility.