CoBank in Denver is giving $5 million to fund agricultural research and education at land grant universities nationwide.

The $90 billion-asset cooperative said Wednesday the donations will fund academic research, scholarships, education and leadership development at 31 schools, including the University of California, Davis; Washington State University; Auburn University; the University of Wisconsin; and Cornell University.

CoBank, the largest lender in the Farm Credit System, said it selected recipients based on the extent of their agricultural programs and the schools' relationships with the bank, its customers and Farm Credit associations across the U.S.

"One of the best ways for CoBank to return value to rural America is by giving to academic institutions that are engaged in agricultural research and training the next generation of rural business and civic leaders," Bob Engel, CoBank's chief executive, said in a press release. "We're deeply thankful for our board's generosity and look forward to strengthening our long-term relationships with these great schools."

The bank said it expects to announce details of gifts to each university over the coming year as grants are finalized.

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