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Growing the Leaders of Tomorrow

Farm Credit Services of America

Farm Credit Services of America
Ever since Seth Ward at Fort Laramie “accidentally” left his cattle to overwinter along Chugwater Creek in 1852, Wyoming has been a leader in ranching and agriculture. With the help of Farm Credit Services of America (FCSAmerica), the University of Wyoming is growing this legacy into the future.

The new University of Wyoming Ranch Management and Agriculture Leadership Center in the University of Wyoming College of Agriculture and Natural Resources is being established with a generous $1.5 million gift from FCSAmerica, which is doubled to $3 million by the State of Wyoming matching funds program. The center will train the next generation of ranch managers, wildland recreation professionals, and agricultural leadership.

“As a financial cooperative, one of FCSAmerica’s most important missions is to serve agriculture by investing in its future,” says Mark Jensen, CEO and president of FCSAmerica, which lends to farmers and ranchers in Wyoming, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Iowa.

FCSAmerica is proud to finance the growth of rural America, including the special needs of young and beginning producers. With $29.9 billion in assets and nearly $5.8 billion in members’ equity, FCSAmerica is one of the region’s leading providers of credit and insurance services to farmers, ranchers, agribusiness, and rural residents.

Outsized forces such as the weather, trade wars, tough economic cycles, and now COVID-19 have a disproportionate effect on 2 1 small farm operations, especially those just getting started. FCSAmerica is there for the financial needs of this vital industry.

“We all have benefitted from producers and industry leaders who have worked to preserve our natural resources and advocated for policies and infrastructure that guarantees a secure food system,” Jensen adds. “Future generations will be prepared to keep the industry moving forward because of the kind of educational opportunities offered through the Ranch Management and Agricultural Leadership Center.”

The Ranch Management and Agriculture Leadership Center will provide students with technical knowledge and real-world experiential learning opportunities in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors of western agriculture. The curriculum will be guided by ranch owners, agency professionals, agribusiness leaders, industry executives, elected officials, academics, and UW alumni. The program will offer three levels of education—a professional development and certification for current career ranch managers and agricultural leaders and a bachelor’s and master’s in ranch management and agricultural leadership.

In addition, the gift will support students with scholarships during their internship semesters, as well as stipends and program support for students in the postbaccalaureate program. Scholarships for individuals in the certificate and microcredentialing program will encourage individuals with limited means to enroll, as students in this program would not be eligible for federal financial aid.

“What’s really gratifying is that this gift is a foundational step in helping the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources fulfill a very ambitious and aspirational vision,” says Doug Stark, UW Foundation Board member who was formerly with FCSAmerica. “This partnership will jumpstart great things for both the college and the University of Wyoming.”

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