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Farm Credit Sponsors Entrepreneur Challenge, Young Farmers and Ranchers Session at Farm Bureau Meeting

WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 9, 2017) – Farm Credit proudly supports the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) and its annual meeting again this year, sponsoring the organization’s work to foster rural entrepreneurship and build the next generation of leaders in agriculture and rural communities.

“Entrepreneurs – whether on the farm or in the community – are the lifeblood of the rural economy. And Farm Bureau’s strong focus on young farmers and agribusiness made it easy for Farm Credit to sponsor the Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge for the past three years. It’s been exciting to see so many great ideas come to fruition as a result of this competition and we look forward to seeing which projects and services will benefit rural communities this year,” said Todd Van Hoose, CEO of the Farm Credit Council.

For the third year, Farm Credit is supporting the Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge, the first national business competition focused exclusively on rural entrepreneurs working on food and agriculture businesses. Individuals and teams compete for $145,000 in start-up funding, including a people’s choice award.

Farm Credit is also pleased to support AFBF’s first Agricultural Investment Summit, bringing together rural entrepreneurs and potential investors for a series of educational workshops aimed at helping start-up companies strengthen their business plans and connect with future sources of capital.

“Innovation and entrepreneurship have always been essential ingredients in the success of America’s farmers and ranchers,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “From the adoption of new business models and the development of new tools and services, to unique adaptations of technology in agriculture, our industry is driven by people with vision who are willing to step forward with fresh ideas. Recognizing their achievements supports a spirit that will drive agriculture and rural America forward.”

AFBF also provides leadership programming, such as the Young Farmers and Ranchers “Achieve and Apply” learning session taking place during the meeting. This Farm Credit-supported one-day event combines leadership training with networking opportunities for outstanding young producers from across the country competing for several national awards.

In addition, Farm Credit will have two representatives on site to speak with the media.

Dave Dornbirer leads CoBank's initiatives to share its financial capacity, strategic alliances, industry expertise, and knowledge to drive private capital into the rural economy in partnership with government agencies and other rural stakeholders. Dornbirer also builds and maintains relationships with rural‐focused organizations to further CoBank’s mission in serving rural infrastructure and rural community needs. In addition, he manages CoBank’s investments in Rural Business Investment Companies licensed by the USDA.

Gary Matteson is the vice president of young, beginning, and small farmer programs (YBS) and outreach at the Farm Credit Council. He has more than 30 years of experience in the farming and agriculture industry and coordinates efforts within Farm Credit's nationwide network and among many national organizations to ensure that YBS farmers have the opportunities they need to success. Matteson also helps the YBS Farmer program build diversity in farming by encouraging agricultural operations that bring a focus to locally grown foods near urban areas.

If media is interested in speaking with the representatives, please contact Mark Hayes at markhayes@fccouncil.com, 202.879.0865 or 574.265.3989.

Farm Credit supports rural communities and agriculture with reliable, consistent credit and financial services, today and tomorrow. It has been fulfilling its mission of helping rural America grow and thrive for more than a century with the capital necessary to make businesses successful and by financing vital infrastructure and communication services. For more information visit www.farmcredit.com.