Farm Credit group donation will help Black Soil increase diversity


LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ / Press Release) – Farm Credit Mid-America donates $ 200,000 to Black Soil KY, an agri-tourism social enterprise that promotes greater market share for black Kentucky farmers.

This four-year partnership will support agricultural education and diversity initiatives across the Commonwealth, including Lexington, Louisville and Hopkinsville.

“Black Soil KY’s focus on agricultural education, innovation and diversification aligns with Farm Credit Mid-America’s goal of securing the future of rural communities and agriculture,” said Mark Barker, senior vice president of Ag Lending for Kentucky. “This investment is part of Farm Credit Mid-America’s continued commitment to invest in programs and initiatives that develop the next generation of agriculture, champion the industry, and invest in programs that strengthen rural communities. This includes supporting organizations like Black Soil KY that promote diversity and inclusiveness in agriculture.

The investment will be paid over four years in installments of $ 50,000 from 2021 to 2025.

Farm Credit Mid-America’s commitment will support:
• Urban High Tunnel Project: The grants will support a collaboration between Black Soil, Grow Appalachia and Seedleaf to build and install forty-eight urban micro-farms (called high tunnels) in Hopkinsville, Lexington and West Louisville. These micro-farms will cultivate organic, seasonal produce in market gardens with the aim of reducing residential food insecurity, increasing the supply of specialized crops into the local food system and cultivating new and beginning farmers.
• Black Soil KY Grow Kits: Grow Kits are home gardening kits that allow families to learn how to grow their own food while also creating an interest in urban gardening and farming. The investment will support the distribution of two hundred grow kits to middle and high school students in Kentucky, including Hopkinsville, Lexington and West Louisville each year of the partnership.

• Virtual Learning Modules: The grow kits will complement virtual learning modules featuring black Kentucky farmers and provide information on diverse and sustainable farming practices and career exploration. These modules will also provide information on farm finance, loans and capital needed to develop a farm.
• Volunteer Opportunities: Farm Credit Mid-America will also continue to engage with Black Soil Kentucky over the next four years through a variety of volunteer programs and opportunities, including volunteering to help Black Soil Farmers. in Lexington, Louisville and Hopkinsville to glean, pack and distribute locally produced sharecroppers.

Black Soil KY is a Lexington-based non-profit organization whose mission is to reconnect Black Kentuckians to their heritage and agricultural heritage and to encourage lifelong learning among its audiences of all ages. , from kindergarten to adulthood.

“Diversity is not only socially necessary, but it is also essential to the application of agriculture,” said Ashley Smith, co-founder and COO of Black Soil KY. “We are delighted to be able to partner with Farm Credit Mid-America to further our cause by fostering greater market share for black farmers and producers in the Commonwealth of Nations.”

Farm Credit Mid-America is a financial services cooperative that has served the credit needs of farmers and rural residents of Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee for more than a century.

With more than $ 28.8 billion in assets, Farm Credit Mid-America provides loans for real estate, operations, equipment, housing and related services such as crop insurance and vehicle, equipment and construction leases.

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