CoBank Commits $400,000 in Charitable Contributions to Support Wildfire Relief Efforts in Western US

DENVER (October 13, 2020) — CoBank, a cooperative bank serving agribusinesses, rural infrastructure providers and Farm Credit associations throughout the United States, today announced a package of charitable contributions totaling $400,000 to support wildfire relief efforts in California, Oregon and Washington.

  • A $150,000 donation to the American Red Cross for their relief efforts in impacted states.
  • A $110,000 donation that matches the in-kind contributions of CoBank customer Land O' Lakes to food banks in impacted states.
  • A $100,000 matching fund for contributions made by any California Farm Credit association or other, California-based CoBank customer.
  • A $10,000 donation to each of the following, in support of contributions made by Northwest Farm Credit Services: the Oregon Cattlemen's Association, Oregon Farm Bureau, Washington Cattlemen's Association and Washington Farm Bureau.

One after another, the major wildfires exploding across California, Oregon and Washington have added up to one of the worst fire seasons on record. As of October 9, at least 72 large fires -- fueled by continuing dry conditions -- had burned 4.3 million acres in the western U.S., according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

"Tragically, these wildfires have been particularly devastating for farmers and ranchers, many of whom have seen both their businesses and homes destroyed," said Thomas Halverson, CoBank's president and chief executive officer. "We are profoundly grateful to our board of directors and our partner organizations for their generous support of ongoing relief efforts in the region. We hope these contributions will help people to recover and rebuild."

CoBank customer, Land O' Lakes, has identified three food banks in the affected states that will receive in-kind donations of dairy products. The bank will match those donations with financial contributions totaling $110,000. Recipients of the Land O' Lakes and CoBank gifts include the Central California Food BankOregon Food Bank and a yet-to-be-determined food bank in Washington.

"Hunger cuts across all demographics. As a farmer-to-fork cooperative, this is a really important issue for us," said Morgan Kinross-Wright, executive director of the Land O' Lakes Foundation. "With COVID-19 and the economic downturn, there are many people who have never experienced hunger before, and the wildfires across the West have really exacerbated this. We are proud to partner with CoBank to help strengthen our impact in some of the areas hit hardest by the wildfires."

CoBank Matching Fund

The multiple wildfires currently burning in California have created one of the worst fire seasons in the state's history. In response, CoBank is making $100,000 in matching funds available to any California-based Farm Credit association or other California-based customer for charitable contributions in support of western wildfire relief efforts. The fund is available through November 30, or the point at which the fund is fully exhausted. Matches will be offered on a first come, first served basis.

California-based customers may apply for a matching grant by completing the application form.

Questions about the program and/or completed applications may be directed to Sherry Johnson, director of Corporate Social Responsibility at sjohnson@cobank.com or 303-740-6518.

About CoBank

CoBank is a $152 billion cooperative bank serving vital industries across rural America. The bank provides loans, leases, export financing and other financial services to agribusinesses and rural power, water and communications providers in all 50 states. The bank also provides wholesale loans and other financial services to affiliated Farm Credit associations serving more than 70,000 farmers, ranchers and other rural borrowers in 23 states around the country.

CoBank is a member of the Farm Credit System, a nationwide network of banks and retail lending associations chartered to support the borrowing needs of U.S. agriculture, rural infrastructure and rural communities. Headquartered outside Denver, Colorado, CoBank serves customers from regional banking centers across the U.S. and also maintains an international representative office in Singapore.

Media Contacts

Julie Davis
303-740-6581
judavis@cobank.com

Dave Harding
Knowledge Exchange
262-825-7926
david.h.harding@outlook.com