During the month of October, we will be focusing on rural hunger. Russ Tomky is a great friend of Care and Share, and we wanted to share his perspective. Russ grew up on a small grain, sugar beets, alfalfa hay, and livestock farm in northeastern Colorado. He began his Farm Credit career in 1981 as a Loan Officer with the Federal Land Bank Association (FLBA) of Denver, originating farm and rural home loans as well as conducting real estate appraisals. In 2009, Russ was appointed the President and CEO of Farm Credit of Southern Colorado where he now supervises a staff of 68 employees, six branch offices, and a $930 million loan portfolio. Enjoy his post!
Being involved in rural America and agricultural production my entire life, I have had the opportunity to see first-hand the incredible capacity our farmers and ranchers have to feed the world, and I have seen the devastating effects of poverty and hunger in rural communities in Colorado. A majority of our small rural communities have seen tremendous losses in main street businesses, schools, churches, medical services, and jobs over the past thirty years. For Farm Credit of Southern Colorado and CoBank, the erosion of rural communities and the resulting impact on those that remain is a concern, and we are compelled to assist however we can.
Assistance to rural communities can come in many forms, and the financial partnerships we have with rural grain cooperatives, health, water, telecommunications, and utilities wasn’t enough. There is a more personal issue facing rural Colorado, and that is hunger. Our Mission Statement is to Provide innovative financial solutions to a diverse rural America, one relationship at a time. To honor our mission, we as an organization and for me personally, knew we had to find a way to reach out to the less fortunate in our communities and join the fight to end rural hunger. We found the perfect partner, Care and Share. Rural communities are the life line in the production of food. It would not be just for some in those same communities to go hungry.