As part of Farm Credit East’s mission, we strive to be an advocate for, and a responsible, committed member of the Northeast farm and rural community. The entire Farm Credit East team is committed to this mission. We strive to fulfill it through financial support and staff participation in events and activities that strengthen agriculture and enhance its future in local communities.
Throughout 2022, Farm Credit East staff, board members, family and friends from across our eight-state territory have given back to their communities through various stewardship events and volunteer activities. Read on for some of the activities our team has taken part in.
The team from our Enfield, Conn., office sorted and boxed 10 tons of food over two days at the Connecticut Foodshare in Bloomfield, Conn. Connecticut Foodshare partners with the food industry to rescue surplus food and relies upon volunteers to sort and pack this food, which is then distributed to pantries, meal programs and mobile sites throughout Connecticut.
Melissa Benvenuto, branch operations associate in the Enfield, Conn., office, commented, “Volunteering at Foodshare opened my eyes to the food needs we have right here in Connecticut. I was overwhelmed by how much food isn’t bought at stores and thankful stores donate that food to Foodshare for people in need. I left with a sense of fulfillment knowing that I am fighting hunger in my community.”
The team from Claverack, N.Y., volunteered over 50 hours at the Cornell Cooperative Extension office in Hudson, N.Y. Together, they rebuilt the Master Gardener’s garden and restored a hiking trail used for 4H and other activities.
All four Vermont office locations joined together to host “back-to-school” drives to support local schools systems. The collected school supplies were distributed to North Country Union Junior High School, Riverbend Career and Technical Center at Rivendell Academy, Alburgh Elementary, Shoreham Elementary, and Vergennes Elementary.
Staff from Potsdam, N.Y., were joined by board member LouAnne King to volunteer at A Day at the Farm event. The event, hosted by C&M Dairy, provided an opportunity for the non-farm public to tour the dairy; listen to various industry experts talk about what is required to operate a farm; and then enjoy farm-related games and activities.
After a 2-year hiatus, the Cortland, N.Y. office, was pleased to again participate in the 2022 Cortland Dairy Parade. Together with family and friends, they celebrated the local agriculture community by creating a Farm-to-Table themed float.
In support of agriculture education, the Flemington, N.J., office hosted a charity golf tournament in August. More than 100 golfers raised about $30,000 for New Jersey ag education and ag-related organizations.
The above events are just a highlight of the many events the Farm Credit East team participates in throughout the year and the array of organizations the customer-owned cooperative supports. Farm Credit East is proud to be part of the region’s agricultural community and this involvement is just part of the organization’s commitment to supporting our customers, the industries they are part of and the Northeast rural communities they call home.
Michael Somma, loan officer in the Flemington, N.J., office, summed up Farm Credit East’s volunteer philosophy well. He commented, “Taking time out of our busy schedules may seem like a chore, but helping others in need is very rewarding. If time is our most valuable asset, then it would make sense that our time would be the greatest gift we have to give. Volunteering locally is a great way to give back to the community and reconnect with some peers that we may not see as often as we used to.”