Colorado, Oregon, Montana, Washington and Utah state universities, as well as the University of Idaho are among the western schools that will benefit from a new $5 million grant to fund agricultural research and education from Denver-based CoBank.
They are among more than 30 farm schools nationwide to benefit from the grants, which focus primarily on land grant universities.
The fund will promote student scholarships, cooperative education and leadership development.
"We're pleased to announce the establishment of this new fund," says Everett Dobrinski, chairman of the CoBank board of directors. "For well over a century, land grant universities and other academic institutions have supported the development of the rural economy, helping U.S. agriculture to become the most productive and innovative in the world.
"This contribution, which was unanimously approved by our board, will enhance research and education programs at these schools and promote the continued advancement of American agriculture and rural America."
Recipient institutions were selected based on a wide range of criteria, including the nature and extent of their agricultural programs as well as existing relationships with CoBank, its customers and Farm Credit association partners across the country.
Details regarding gifts to individual universities will be announced over the course of 2013 as the particulars of each grant are finalized.
CoBank is designing each contribution in collaboration with the school as well as customers and Farm Credit associations from the surrounding area.
Bob Engel, CoBank president/CEO, notes that support for research and education is an important part of the bank's broader corporate social responsibility program.
"One of the best ways for CoBank to return value to rural America is by giving to academic institutions that are engaged in agricultural research and training the next generation of rural business and civic leaders," he says.
"We're deeply thankful for our board's generosity and look forward to strengthening our long-term relationships with these great schools."