The Federation of Southern Cooperatives Land Assistance Fund's 46th Annual Meeting, "Rural America Matters - Fighting for Fair and Equitable Policies," was held in Alabama. The celebration was launched with the Estelle Witherspoon Lifetime Achievement Award to Reverend C.T. Vivian (right) for his profound lifetime work for justice. He was so honored because of his outstanding and consistent lifetime work for justice in America and throughout the world.Reverend Vivian joins Harry Belafonte, Danny Glover, Reverend Joseph Lowery, Alice Walker, The Honorable Bennie Thompson, The Honorable John Lewis, Attorney Hank Sanders, Tavis Smiley and others who have been so acknowledged by the Federation for their outstanding advocacy for humanity.
The Federation's longevity is due to a strong and supportive membership as well as mutually beneficial collaborative relationships with both the public and private sectors. They have remained steadfast in their belief that cooperatives are vital to the economic survival and prosperity of not just their membership but rural America in general.
During the past year, the Federation dealt with multiple challenges, including cutbacks in USDA programs, federal budget sequestration, and a Farm Bill extension that omitted many critical programs that served small and socially disadvantaged family farmers as well as other low income rural residents, and that cut the food stamp program for hungry people.