Article by: Beverley Kreul, farmflavor.com
No farms. No food. The message is simple and clear. America’s farmers and ranchers provide an abundance of fresh, healthy and local foods, but over the past decade, thinking has turned to the demands of feeding a rapidly growing population with the land and resources on hand. Fortunately, Kentucky farmers are gathering support within their own communities.
Independence Bank understands supporting local foods and farms is more important than ever. They have sponsored a number of events to show their appreciation and commitment to local farmers. Located in western Kentucky, this community business is one of the largest agricultural lending agencies in the nation, allowing producers the opportunity to grow and expand their operations with relative ease.
“I think we are somewhat unique in the fact that we are a community bank that hasn’t forgotten where we come from,” says Wayne Mattingly, an agricultural lender at Independence Bank. “Agriculture has allowed our community to become what it is, and it will continue to be a major part of our growth over the next 30 to 40 years.”
That commitment and support is reflected in events such as the Sounds of Independence concert hosted by Independence Bank in May 2012. More than 8,000 people attended a John Mellencamp concert to benefit Farm Aid, a nonprofit organization working to keep family farmers on their land. The concert highlighted local foods from surrounding farms in its concession areas.
Additionally, Independence Bank donated $50,000 to support Farm Aid efforts.
Because of the work Farm Aid does for the agricultural world and the efforts put in by Independence Bank lending to the agricultural community, the commissioner of agriculture named both organizations Honorary Commissioners of Agriculture for the state of Kentucky, as well as Honorary Ambassadors of Agriculture.
“Independence Bank, Farm Aid and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture all have similar initiatives,” says Jennifer Mueller, director of business development for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. “We all want consumers to support and buy Kentucky products wherever they can. After all, ‘Kentucky grown keeps Kentucky growing.’ It’s good for the consumer. It’s good for the farmer. It’s good for Kentucky.”