CoBank, Northwest Farm Credit Services Support OSU Forestry Innovation

Media Contact: Molly Brown, OSU Foundation, 541-737-3602

Sources: Thomas Maness, OSU College of Forestry, 541-737-1585
Brent Fetsch, Northwest Farm Credit Services, 503-373-3039
Sherry Johnson, CoBank, 303-740-6518




Two cooperative financial institutions dedicated to supporting forestry and agriculture are investing in the future of U.S. forestry through a partnership with Oregon State University. Northwest Farm Credit Services and CoBank each have committed $250,000 toward construction of the College of Forestry’s Oregon Forest Science Complex.

The 85,000-square-foot complex will serve as the college's new home, supporting its growth. Over the last decade, the College of Forestry’s enrollment has nearly doubled to about 1,000 students. To meet high demand for trained forestry professionals, OSU plans to further increase enrollment to 2,000.

The complex also will include a state-of-the-art advanced wood products laboratory where faculty and students will develop sustainable new building products that could be manufactured in the Northwest. These include cross-laminated timber, the engineered wood panels at the center of growing global interest in substituting wood for steel and concrete in high-rise buildings.

Northwest Farm Credit Services, based in Spokane, and CoBank, based in Denver, are members of the Farm Credit System, a nationwide network of banks and retail lending associations chartered to support the borrowing needs of U.S. agriculture and the nation’s rural economy.

“We see tremendous potential for this Oregon State University initiative to help forestry-related companies in our region seize an opportunity in the global markets, one that could have a huge impact down the road. We’re excited to add our support at the ground level,” said Brent Fetsch, Oregon president for Northwest Farm Credit Services and a graduate of OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

“The forest products industry is a strategically important driver of the Northwest regional economy,” said Leili Ghazi, western region president for CoBank. “We’re extremely pleased to join with Northwest Farm Credit Services on this contribution to OSU, which is already a national leader in forestry education. We look forward to seeing this exciting initiative completed and to the long-term benefits it will deliver to the industry.”

Both companies have generously supported agriculture-related initiatives at Oregon State University in recent years. Among other gifts, Northwest Farm Credit Services was a top-level sponsor of the Oregon Small Farms Conference; supported construction of the Oldfield Animal Teaching Facility; and created an endowed scholarship for students in the College of Agricultural Sciences’ Leadership Academy. CoBank created an endowed scholarship for students involved with MANRRS (Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences), a student-run professional development group.

“We’re honored to have Northwest Farm Credit Services and CoBank add their support to the Oregon Forest Science Complex initiative,” said Thomas Maness, the Cheryl Ramberg Ford and Allyn C. Ford Dean of the College of Forestry. “The initiative will ensure Oregon State remains a place where industry and government partners turn for graduates who can provide innovative and sustainable solutions to some of the world’s most complex forest landscape problems.”

Construction of the Oregon Forest Science Complex will be funded by private gifts and $29.7 million in approved state bonds. The project is one of several fundraising initiatives being led by the Oregon State University Foundation to advance the university's strategic plan – creating transformative student learning experiences and building on the institution's areas of greatest strength and potential impact.

About Northwest Farm Credit Services: Northwest Farm Credit Services is a customer-directed financial cooperative providing more than $13 billion in financing and related services to farmers, ranchers, agribusinesses, commercial fishermen, timber producers, rural homeowners and crop insurance customers in Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Alaska. Based in Spokane, Washington, the company has 45 branch offices throughout the Northwest. More information:

About CoBank: CoBank is a $110 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 75,000 farmers, ranchers and other rural borrowers in 23 states around the country. More information:

About the OSU College of Forestry: For a century, the College of Forestry has been a world class center of teaching, learning and research. It offers graduate and undergraduate degree programs in sustaining ecosystems, managing forests and manufacturing wood products; conducts basic and applied research on the nature and use of forests; and operates 14,000 acres of college forests.

About the OSU Foundation: The Oregon State University Foundation, a private, nonprofit organization, dedicates itself to garnering the resources that enable OSU to achieve excellence in education, research, and outreach. Annual fundraising totals have averaged more than $100 million for the last five years, placing the OSU Foundation among top performing like organizations nationally.

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