Several of the country’s leading agricultural cooperatives are mobilizing to provide support to customers, families, team members and communities impacted by the devastating tornadoes and severe weather that swept the South and Midwest on December 11.
AgFirst, American AgCredit, CoBank, Farm Credit East, Farm Credit Illinois, Farm Credit Mid-America, Farm Credit Services of America, Farm Credit of Western Arkansas, and Land O’Lakes, Inc. have committed more than $700,000 to national, state and local charities to assist families and communities impacted by these catastrophic events.
“The impact of this disaster is severe and is being felt at national, state and local levels,” said Derrick Waggoner, regional president, CoBank. “CoBank and our partners have responded with a package of contributions benefitting a wide array of relief efforts. We hope that our donations will help to alleviate some of the most immediate suffering and provide support for long-term recovery efforts.”
Among the beneficiaries are the American Red Cross, Feeding America, the Kentucky Agriculture Relief Fund, the Kentucky Rural Electric Disaster Fund, the Tennessee Farm Disaster Response Fund, the Mayfield Tornado Relief Fund and Rotary International in Dresden, Tennessee.
“As a federated cooperative system, our ownership network touches communities all across the country including those devastated by the December storms. While natural disasters like this leave behind indescribable pain and challenges, the recovery efforts underscore what we as cooperatives do best: come together,” said Brett Bruggeman, Land O’Lakes, Inc. Executive Vice President & President, WinField United. “With cooperative partners, we’re working to support our owners and their communities as they start to rebuild what was lost.”
The devastation of these storms spread across six Midwest states, leaving unprecedented damage. Residents in Kentucky and Tennessee were among those most severely impacted by the severe weather. Cooperatives continue to identify impacted customers and are working to understand how best to meet their immediate and long-term needs.
“We are grieving with our customers and communities who lost so much and working diligently to find solutions for the obstacles ahead,” said Mark Barker, senior vice president of agricultural lending for Farm Credit Mid-America in Kentucky. “Alongside their communities, we have customers who have experienced significant loss of personal property and businesses. While we are still learning about the full extent of the damage and loss, Farm Credit Mid-America and our fellow cooperatives are committed to being long-term partners to help our customers get back on their feet.”
As part of their contributions, several of these cooperatives are also matching individual contributions made by their employees to organizations like the Red Cross and Salvation Army. In addition, CoBank will offer a $100,000 matching fund for its customers who donate to tornado relief efforts. Information on the matching fund will be provided directly to CoBank customers in the next few days.