Extension grant

Bolivar Farmers Exchange General Manager Steve Austin presents a $10,000 matching grant from the Board of Directors and CoBank to University of Missouri Extension council chair Rachel Lightfoot.

Good news — in the form of a $10,000 grant — recently arrived at the doorstep of the University of Missouri Extension in Polk County.

According to an Extension news release, Bolivar Farmers Exchange’s Board of Directors has received charitable matching funds through the Sharing Success program to provide $10,000 to the Extension. 

Velynda Cameron, Polk County Extension community engagement specialist, said in the release the organization will use the money to support agriculture, 4-H youth and other educational programs. 

Bolivar Farmers Exchange General Manager Steve Austin said a CoBank representative from St. Louis first called him in 2012 to ask if he knew of any local organization that would benefit from the grant, the release said. 

He said he thought of the Extension. 

Bolivar Farmers Exchange has been open since 1921, and Austin said that over the years, they have had many people come in to ask questions about farming and other topics. They often send people to the Extension. 

“The Extension is a good place to go,” Austin said in the release. “I like to participate with the Extension and the 4-H groups. They are our future leaders.” 

He noted “the Extension is a vital place to go for information.”  

“It doesn’t matter what it is, they’ve got a program there,” he said. “They have a great staff, and if you have questions, it’s a great place to start.” 

Austin asked the Bolivar Farmers Exchange Board of Directors if it would match a potential grant, and the board agreed to provide $5,000. Austin applied for the grant for the Extension, and found out earlier in the year they would receive a $5,000 grant for a total of $10,000. 

“Extension offers a wide variety of educational programs in the community, including agriculture, nutrition and health, child and family development, and of course 4-H,” Cameron said. “We really appreciate the Bolivar Farmers Exchange Board of Directors and managers for seeing the value in what Extension does in the local community and being willing to support us. Their support will allow us to provide more education for local citizens and reach more people.”

About CoBank

CoBank is a cooperative bank “serving agribusiness, rural infrastructure providers and farm credit associations throughout the United States.” 

Austin said Bolivar Farmers Exchange has been a part of the bank since the 1980s.

According to a news release from CoBank, “under the bank’s new ‘Sharing Success’ program, CoBank will match contributions by its cooperative customers to nonprofit organizations of their choice.”

The Sharing Success program has provided more than $3 million to cooperative organizations, the release said. The program was launched to coincide with the United Nations International Year of Cooperatives in 2012.  

“Shared success is a hallmark of the cooperative business model, so we’re absolutely delighted to be announcing this new program,” Robert B. Engel, CoBank’s president and chief executive officer, said in a news release. “Throughout rural America, cooperatives of all sizes are working not only to provide value to their members, but to improve the quality of life in their local communities.”

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