Saturday, October 31, 2015

Kiva Celebrates 10 Years of Microlending

Founded in October 2005, Kiva currently networks with 302 Field Partners in 83 different countries, and has provided $733,911,800 in microloans to 1,787,306 borrowers. To date, the Common Curator has made 142 loans through Kiva to small entrepreneurs in 79 countries. Kiva loans are interest-free and the overall repayment rate presently stands at 98.47%. As loans are repaid, most Kiva lenders choose to reloan their funds to new borrowers of their choosing.

Visit the Kiva website to learn more about microfinance and how the lending process works, as well as the many milestones in Kiva's history as an organization dedicated to alleviating poverty around the world.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Tim Smith (pictured third from right), the owner-operator of the Smith Farm in north-central Iowa, was recognized in Washington, D.C. on October 26, 2015 as one of twelve White House Champions of Change for Sustainable and Climate-Smart Agriculture. The event in its entirety is viewable via the White House's YouTube channel. As stated in the White House press release:
These individuals were selected by the White House for their achievements and will be honored for exemplary leadership and innovation in agricultural production and education. The Champions have helped implement agricultural practices that promote soil health and energy efficiency, improve water quality, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change can no longer be seen as a distant threat. It is already impacting forest, grassland, and cropland systems in the United States, and is threatening agricultural producers and their communities. These Champions understand the challenges our nation is facing from a changing climate and are taking steps to build resilience to the impacts of climate change, which also protects their bottom line. The program will feature remarks by United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.
Smith's accomplishments were described as follows:
Tim Smith is a fourth-generation farmer who raises soybeans, corn and cover crops on his family’s Century Farm in Wright County, Iowa. In addition to raising crops, Tim is focused on strengthening soil health and improving water quality. He has worked with a number of organizations, including the Iowa Soybean Association and the Soil Health Partnership, to implement new farming methods. Tim travels throughout Iowa and the United States advising farmers on how to approach new sustainability efforts. 
The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White House to feature individuals who are doing extraordinary things to inspire and empower members of their communities. Previous Common Curator posts about conservation practices on the Smith farm include: Iowa Soil Conservation Farmer of the YearCover Crops Reduce Nitrogen Run-Off, Improve Water Quality and The Boone River Watershed: Why Strip-Till and Cover Crops Matter.