Trustee: California FarmLink

Santa Cruz, CA

Why are you interested in becoming a Trustee?
Becoming a Kiva Trustee will further the mission of California FarmLink, which is to provide farmers with the tools they need to lease and purchase land, access capital, and improve business and financial management skills. Endorsing trusted clients and partners will allow FarmLink to expand our access to capital services and link farmers in need of smaller loans to which they may not otherwise not have access. Kiva Zip provides a conduit for micro-finance that is essential to beginning or expanding small farmers. California FarmLink looks forward to facilitating access to capital for small farmers from the Kiva Zip program, through continued endorsement and support of borrowers.
What is the mission of your organization?
California FarmLink is a small nonprofit organization that provides farmers with the tools they need to lease and purchase land, access capital, and improve business and financial management skills. California agricultural land is being developed at ever-increasing rates. Meanwhile, California farmers age 65 and over outnumber farmers under the age of 25 by approximately 60 to one. Beginning and emerging farmers face numerous obstacles to achieving their dreams. These include a lack of information about financing options and other resources crucial to their success. Retiring farmers lack information about proven, innovative ways to keep land in agricultural production while simultaneously meeting financial goals related to retirement and estate planning. The future of agricultural production and the viability of productive, diversified, and sustainable farms is far too important to be left to a random process of “marry or inherit.” California FarmLink provides a range of services to facilitate a transition from one farm owner to the next.
In the past, how effective have you been in achieving this mission?
California FarmLink has a 10+ year track record of supporting thousands of small and mid-size farms in California. In 2011, FarmLink provided the following services: linking 35 farmers with land leases and partnerships and 15 farmers with loans; assisting 193 farmers with leases and purchases, 130 farmers with financial management, business planning, building and maintaining credit, and 15 farm families with succession planning. 21% of this assistance went to Latino and SE Asian farmers, 60% to limited-resource farmers, and 29% to women farmers. Since launching its own farm microloan program in October 2011, FarmLink has made 15 loans directly to farmers and is quickly establishing itself as a leading non-profit farm microlender in the US.
Do you belong to any organizational networks -- nationally, regionally, or locally? If yes, please list.
Yes, many sustainable agriculture and microenterprise related networks, including, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) and California Association of Micro Enterprise Opportunity (CAMEO).
How will you decide who to endorse as a borrower? What due diligence will you conduct?
California FarmLink plans to endorse farmers with which the organization has an existing relationship, as a client who has received help with accessing land, capital, and/or business training. Oftentimes, the services provided will have included a preliminary business, financial, and/or loan-use assessment. For all potential Kiva Zip borrowers, FarmLink will also do additional due diligence so that we feel comfortable that the farmer has the business and financial capacity to repay the loan. This may include an updated farm business plan assessment, review of financials and/or checking references.
How do you plan to support the borrower, both before and after the loan is disbursed?
For all clieCalifornia FarmLink provides farmers with the tools they need to lease and purchase land, access capital, improve business and financial management skills, build and maintain credit, and longer term planning. California FarmLink will support borrowers endorsed for the Kiva Zip program, from initial assessment to final loan disbursement. Throughout the loan process, California FarmLink plans to maintain communication with the borrower and to offer a suite of services and resources. These resources include workshops and individual consulting on business planning, finance and land access, linking farmers with land leases or partnerships, and loan support.
How will you help us ensure that the loans you endorse have a significant and positive social impact?
An important component of California FarmLink's work is assessment and tracking of key progress indicators which measure progress toward goals which include positive social impact. California FarmLink is ensuring a positive impact through support of sustainable agriculture, local farmers, and the communities benefiting from a successful business venture. Assistance will support farmer demographic groups such as Latino and SE Asian farmers, limited-resource farmers, and women farmers.

About California FarmLink

Trustee Type:
Third Tier trustee
On Zip Since:
Jul 19, 2012
(49 months)
Loans Endorsed:
Total Value:
Paying on Time:
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Repaid in Full:
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