Leading Lender to California agriculture focused heavily on diversity, equity and inclusion
Farm Credit organizations serving California’s farmers and ranchers contributed $870,000 during 2021 to nonprofit organizations working to support the industry, preserve agriculture, and raise awareness of the importance of agriculture.
In addition, the participating members of the nationwide Farm Credit System – American Ag Credit, CoBank, Colusa-Glenn Farm Credit, Farm Credit West, Fresno Madera Farm Credit, Golden State Farm Credit and Yosemite Farm Credit, provided critical funding to several nonprofits working to strengthen efforts to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in the state’s agricultural community.
“Both at the national level and here in California, Farm Credit is committed to supporting people of color in agriculture and rural communities,” said Mark Littlefield, President and CEO of Farm Credit West. “By supporting these organizations, we are reaffirming our commitment to that mission.”
Keith Hesterberg, President and CEO of Fresno Madera Farm Credit, added that it is particularly important for California agriculture to become more inclusive to ensure the state’s farmers and ranchers continue to help feed the nation and the world in the years to come.
“Latinos now comprise the state’s largest single ethnic group in California but are underrepresented in agricultural ownership and management,” Hesterberg said. “That’s why Farm Credit is proud to support the Latino Farmer Conference, the Multicultural Scholars in Agriculture program at Fresno State University, and numerous other programs promoting diversity in farming and ranching.”
Organizations promoting diversity that were supported by Farm Credit in 2021 included:
- The Latino Farmer Conference, which brings together Spanish-speaking farmers from around California to share their experiences, network with other farmers, and attend workshops about marketing, production practices, farm finances and other topics.
- The Multicultural Scholars in Agriculture program at Fresno State, which was established by Farm Credit in 2013. Funds are used for a variety of academic and student success activities as determined by the Dean of the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, including student mentors, outreach to middle schools, high schools and rural communities across the Central Valley and student scholarships.
- Women of the Vine, a symposium that attracts 750 attendees from five countries. The organization empowers and equips women to advance their careers and fostering gender diversity and talent development.