Donation purchases three new cooling trailers to help keep produce fresh in transit
Three new cooling trailers now transport local produce from New South Produce Cooperative member farms to consumers and farmers’ markets across the state. The trailers are a result of a $30,000 donation from Farm Credit of Western Arkansas, AgHeritage Farm Credit Services, Farm Credit Midsouth and AgriBank, their St. Paul, Minnesota-based funding bank.
New South Produce Cooperative, formerly known as Foodshed Farms, purchases from about 18 farms and has expanded sales from individual Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares to supplying a number of restaurants in Central and Western Arkansas. In 2015, they packed and distributed approximately 76,000 pounds of produce.
“The three refrigerator trailers are a scale-appropriate solution that provides small farmers with the ability to increase their marketing and distribution capabilities. The trailers serve as an important link in the supply chain by preserving product quality and food safety,” says Ben Maddox, New South Cooperative Manager.
Farm Credit made the donation in celebration of its 100-year anniversary on July 17. Congress created the Farm Credit System in 1916 to ensure rural America has access to reliable, dependable credit. Farm Credit is committed to that mission today, and tomorrow.
“As a financial cooperative committed to serving our local communities, we believe it’s important to support local food system initiatives and all aspects of agriculture,” said Greg Cole, President and CEO of AgHeritage Farm Credit Services. “An increasing number of consumers appreciate knowing where their food comes from, and who grows it.”
The three Arkansas Farm Credit associations serve the financing needs of 10,700 farmers, ranchers and rural homeowners with a total of 41 offices and 218 employees across the state. With more than $3 billion in combined assets, Farm Credit is the largest ag lender in Arkansas.
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