FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Adam Ulbricht
Willmar, Minn., Nov. 11, 2014 – In an effort to help connect local food producers with consumers, two Farm Credit organizations – United FCS and AgriBank – donated $25,000 to a new food hub that will be opening its doors in Willmar.
“As a farmer-owned cooperative, United FCS measures the achievement of our mission through the contributions we make to the long-term financial success of our members and rural communities we serve,” said Marc Knisely, CEO of United FCS. “By supporting infrastructure development for local food systems we are demonstrating our commitment to serve all aspects of agriculture, providing a direct economic benefit to local farm families and rural communities while enhancing locally produced food options for consumers.”
Plans for the project would see five tenants operating out of The HUB, located in the historic 313 building in downtown Willmar. This includes a USDA kitchen where local farmers can preserve food and prepare it for area consumers using the latest technology. Three greenhouses will further support local farmers and consumers, allowing for a year-long growing season to improve the availability of fresh produce. Other new businesses housed in The HUB include a restaurant and craft brewhouse.
“We wish a hearty thank you to United FCS and AgriBank for the donation to the Historic 313 Fourth Street project,” said Beverly Dougherty, project coordinator of the Willmar Downtown Development. “The funds will help us realize our complex project involving local foods, processing to save our summer harvest to be used in the winter, and providing a larger market for locally grown foods. It will help us create a micro-economy in this region.”
“Support for local, small farmers is an investment in the next generation of agriculture,” said Bill York, AgriBank’s CEO. “Among the many challenges facing farmers with small operations is the need to wash, store and prepare their harvest in a USDA approved facility. The food hub meets those needs while creating benefits for the entire community.”
A minimum of 25 jobs are expected to be created by this project. The Foxhole Brewhouse will be the first to open to customers in early 2015.
About United FCS:
United FCS 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 and the nation’s rural economy. Serving over 6,000 customer-members and with over $1.7 billion of assets, United FCS has a primary focus in a 22-county service area in West Central Minnesota and North Central Wisconsin providing loans, leases and a wide array of financial services through 12 branch office locations and 185 employees. For additional information on United FCS, visit www.unitedfcs.com.
AgriBank is one of the largest banks within the national Farm Credit System, with more than $90 billion in total assets. Under the Farm Credit System’s cooperative structure, AgriBank is owned by 17 affiliated Farm Credit Associations. The AgriBank District covers America’s Midwest, a 15-state area stretching from Wyoming to Ohio and Minnesota to Arkansas. More than half of the nation’s cropland is located within the AgriBank District, providing the Bank and its Association owners with exceptional expertise in production agriculture. For more information, visit www.AgriBank.com.