April, 18 2022
At Farm Credit East’s Annual Meeting, the financial cooperative was pleased to announce two winners of the second annual Lipinski Rural Initiatives award. This award was created by Farm Credit East’s Board of Directors in 2020 to recognize former Farm Credit East CEO Bill Lipinski and aims to recognize innovative and transformational efforts to revitalize Northeast rural communities. Each recipient was awarded $25,000.
Cayuga Milk Ingredients/Cayuga Marketing, two affiliated dairy organizations, were recognized for their innovative workforce development and apprenticeship programs. Recognizing the need for new workers on the farm and in their dairy plant in Auburn, N.Y., the dairy farmer members of the Cayuga Milk entities have worked with local community colleges and high schools to let students know about career opportunities in the dairy industry, both on the farm and in the plant, and is providing apprenticeships to help train their workforce of the future. Cayuga Milk plans to use the $25,000 award to support the growth of the apprenticeship programs by helping to pay for outside training for apprentices that might not otherwise be covered under existing state programs.
The Foundation for Rural Service, a 501(c)3 created by NCTA – The Rural Broadband Association has also been recognized as a Lipinski Award winner in 2022. The Foundation for Rural Service was recognized for its Virtual Living Room initiative in Bristol, Vermont a project carried out in conjunction with Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom. The Virtual Living Room is an innovative program carried out in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to help connect veterans in rural areas with VA physicians and other providers over broadband using telemedicine. The Foundation for Rural Service has pledged that its award will go to support broadband access projects in the rural Northeast.
“Bill Lipinski understood the long-term success of Northeast farm, forest products and fishing businesses is dependent on the health of the rural communities where they are based, so we created this award in his honor to highlight new approaches to enhance the quality of life in rural communities,” said board chair Laurie Griffen. “Both of this year’s recipients are doing excellent work to support their rural communities, which will benefit the Farm Credit East customers who call those communities home. We hope this award helps them further their efforts.”
Funding for the award was made possible by contributions from Farm Credit East matched by its strategic partner, CoBank. Nominations for the 2023 award will open in the winter of 2022.