The last weekend in November, shoppers across America showed their support for small businesses during Small Business Saturday, an annual event to help recognize and strengthen small businesses, integral to many local economies. Launched by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday has received recognition from President Barack Obama, and participation from thousands of businesses and millions of consumers.
Farm Credit, too, supports small agricultural businesses with financing as part of our mission to serve all of agriculture. Among these businesses are the Smolenski family, who sell their pickled asparagus to local restaurants and consumers; Rose and Jay Lewis, who raise 60 pounds of oyster mushrooms a week; Scott Edwards, who raises organic produce on a one-acre plot; and David Souza, who launched his sweet potato vodka in 2011. In 2015 alone, Farm Credit made more than 150,000 loans to small producers.
Farm Credit’s individual organizations each have a commitment to support small farming operations as well as young and beginning farmers. In one unique example, four Farm Credit associations in California banded together to establish Valley Small Business Development Corporation, a Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives honoree that delivers mobile financial literacy education directly to small farms and beginning farmers to help them develop the foundation to thrive.