The San Joaquin AgFest, a multi-day event that showcases Future Farmers of America and 4-H members’ vocational and livestock projects, has received a donation of $10,000 from CoBank on behalf of David S. Phippen, a member of the cooperative bank’s board of directors.
CoBank’s donation will help pay for event expenses, including professional judges and prizes that will be awarded to first- through third-place winners in 250 categories.
About 650 youths will exhibit more than 1,000 projects in beef, swine, sheep, goats, dairy, rabbits, cavies, poultry and dogs at the show and auction. Non-animal exhibits will feature projects in welding, wood, plants and vegetables.
The event, scheduled for June 11-19, is produced by volunteers through the non-profit San Joaquin Junior Show & Auction Council, which was formed by parents, leaders and advisors who stepped in after the county fair was canceled in late 2013.
“Last year’s event was virtual, and the kids are very excited to be showing their projects in person this year,” said Molly Watkins, an AgFest volunteer coordinator. “We appreciate the continued support from CoBank and Mr. Phippen as we work to enhance participants’ essential life skills and help groom the next generation of potential ag industry leaders.”
The event is the only one geared to junior exhibitors in San Joaquin County. Watkins said money the participants earn from the auction not only helps pay for their projects but often becomes an investment in a college fund or a start-up business.
“AgFest provides an opportunity for young people to gain hands-on experience and be recognized for their work,” said Phippen. “CoBank is honored to help continue the tradition of livestock shows and sales and other projects that inspire our youth to become passionate about agriculture.”
Phippen is an owner of several entities in Manteca and Ripon that perform almond farming, processing and sales operations. He also serves as a director for the San Joaquin County Farm Bureau and other civic organizations.
The contribution is part of CoBank’s corporate citizenship program which, in 2020, provided more than $13.2 million in aid to charitable organizations throughout the country. As part of the program, CoBank allows its employees and board members to direct bank donations to their choice of non-profit organizations and programs, benefitting local communities where its employees and directors live and work.
CoBank is a $148 billion cooperative bank serving vital industries across rural America. The bank provides loans, leases, export financing and other financial services to agribusinesses and rural power, water and communications providers in all 50 states. The bank also provides wholesale loans and other financial services to affiliated Farm Credit associations serving more than 70,000 farmers, ranchers and other rural borrowers in 23 states around the country.
CoBank is a member of the Farm Credit System, a nationwide network of banks and retail lending associations chartered to support the borrowing needs of U.S. agriculture, rural infrastructure and rural communities.