AgCredit Leader - December 2021

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Message from the President One of the unexpected outcomes of the pandemic has been a significant number of people changing jobs and careers with one in four workers changing jobs over the past year. The reasons for career changes are varied but include burnout, pandemic fatigue, low wages, poor benefits, work-life balance concerns, and the list goes on. One explanation perhaps not talked about as much is the gap that often exists between what the employee and employer value and a lack of BRIAN RICKER employee connection with the purpose and mission of the company. In a recent study, 90% of millennials said it was either “somewhat important” or “very important” that the work they do has a positive impact on the world. Most people, especially millennials, want a job that feels meaningful and is purpose driven. We have been fortunate over the years at AgCredit to have many loyal, tenured, passionate and hard-working employees. I attribute our good fortune to the purpose of our work, our mission, values, culture and our cooperative structure. The mission at AgCredit is something very fundamental and important to our cooperative’s success. Our mission is talked about during the interview and continues through employee onboarding. When difficult decisions are made, our mission statement, core values and other guiding principles help us with our decision process. I am very thankful to work for an organization and industry that I view as highly purpose driven. I wanted to share a little more depth into our mission and purpose here at AgCredit. The mission statement has changed very little since the board of directors first developed it in the early 1990s. Our mission statement reads as follows: A cooperative lender who returns profits to its borrowers and is dedicated to serving our rural community. We focus on building, nurturing and maintaining lifetime relationships for our customers’ and employees’ success. Being a cooperative lender is core to our mission and our purpose. As a cooperative, our customers are uniquely owners of AgCredit, and they share in its prosperity. Unlike corporate structures where distant investors own the business and expect a favorable rate of return on their investment, our borrowers are the owners. The cooperative model allows our borrower-owners

to be elected to the board of directors and to govern the association. We often say “Who, more than farmers, knows what farmers need?” Returning profits to our borrower-owners through patronage is included in our mission. Our goal is to price to the market and return any excess profits to our borrower-owners. For patient borrowers who study our 34 years of patronage history and consider the entire AgCredit value proposition, they will find an ever-changing market where interest rates are in constant flux. A competitor will invariably have a “special rate” of the week or month, however it is my belief over the long haul, it will be difficult to find a better all-around lender and advisor for your operation. Serving our rural community is an important part of our overall Farm Credit mission, and this allows us to extend our outreach in a giving and serving way to help the rural community where many of us reside. By making an investment in our youth through special YBS lending programs, by supporting FFA and 4-H, by giving through the AgCredit Mission Fund and through many other programs, we strive to meet this broad part of our overall mission. Being there for our rural community in the good and challenging times is an important part of our mission. We believe by tailoring a well-balanced, constructive financial package that enhances the success of a customer’s farm, rural property or agribusiness, we will effectively nurture that lifetime relationship. Ultimately, it is through service to others where a lifetime relationship of trust can be built, and both our customers and our employees enjoy this success. We are here to help our customers choose a product or service that is right for them and is in their best interest. In addition, we serve in an industry that provides food, feed, fuel and fiber to the world. It is this type of purpose that helps us to be thankful we have a career and job that is meaningful and purpose driven. We here at AgCredit are very grateful for all of our borrowers and for the relationships that have been built through the years. We’re looking forward to sharing details about our association patronage and financial results in early 2022. We’ve been fortunate to return on average 33.7% of accrued interest in cash over the past five years and are looking forward to another very successful year. Until then, we would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Winter Webinars Move your business forward in 2022 with our Winter Webinar series. Join from any computer, tablet or smart phone with internet access. Pre-registration is required. To register for webinars, visit or scan the QR code with your phone.

Agriculture Today: It is what it is…what should we do about it? Speaker: Dr. David Kohl, Virginia Tech Dr. Kohl will discuss financial and business management characteristics to focus on while planning, strategizing, executing and monitoring for 2022 and beyond.

MONDAY, DECEMBER 13, 7:00 PM Webinar will last 1 hour

2022 Market Outlook & Grain Marketing Tips Speaker: Ben Brown, University of Missouri Ben Brown will share his agricultural outlook for 2022 and share his best tips when it comes to grain marketing.

contents 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10


TUESDAY, JANUARY 18, 7:00 PM Webinar will last 1 hour

Business Structure for Farm Business & Solar Development Speaker: Ryan Conklin, Wright & Moore Law Co. Ryan Conklin will discuss different business structure options to help you determine what’s best for your operation. He’ll also host a brief discussion on solar development.


TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 7:00 PM Webinar will last 1 hour


How do planting decisions and weather trends affect my operation? Speakers: Caleb Douce, Douce Agency and Aaron Wilson, Atmospheric Research Scientist Caleb Douce will walk us through different types of planting (early planting, re-plant, late plant, prevent plant) and what they mean for your operation. Aaron Wilson will be discussing weather trends and how to use these trends to plan for your operation.

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 7:00 PM Webinar will last 1 hour

I am buying my first farm, what do I need to know? Speaker: Kathy Frombaugh, Frombaugh Law We’ll walk you through the steps from pre-approval to signing your purchase contract and what to expect at the closing as well as afterwards.

TUESDAY, MARCH 8, 7:00 PM Webinar will last 1 hour

PRESIDENT - Brian Ricker BOARD OF DIRECTORS Dustin Sonnenberg, Chairman David Conrad, Vice Chairman Deborah Johlin-Bach Gary Baldosser Kevin Flanagan Daniel Rengert Scott Schroeder David Stott, Ph.D. Michael Stump Michael Thiel EDITOR - Kayla Laubacher Address changes, questions, comments or requests for copies of our financial reports should be directed to AgCredit, ACA by writing 610 W. Lytle Street, Fostoria, OH 44830, or calling 800-837-3678. Our financial reports can also be obtained on our website: IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE We may report information about your account to credit bureaus. Late payments, missed payments, or other defaults on your account may be reflected in your credit report. WHISTLEBLOWER INFORMATION Reports of suspected or actual wrongdoing can be made anonymously and confidentially through the SpeakUp Whistleblower hotline or online. All information submitted to SpeakUp is taken seriously and investigated thoroughly. WHISTLEBLOWER HOTLINE WITH SPEAK UP: 1-844-850-6494 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) WHISTLEBLOWER ONLINE REPORTING: We are an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. We recruit, hire, train, and promote individuals without regard to race, religion, color, sex, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, parental status, marital status, political affiliation, military service, or any other non-merit based factor.


Higher Loan Limit Now Available


for USDA Guaranteed Farm Loans

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on October 4th that a higher loan limit will be available for borrowers seeking a guaranteed farm loan starting October 1, 2021, from $1.776 million to $1.825 million. “Farm loans are critical for our customers’ annual operating and family living expenses, emergency needs, and cash flow,” Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Zach Ducheneaux said. “Raising the guaranteed loan limit will allow FSA to better meet the financial needs of producers as natural disasters and the pandemic continue to impact their operations.” FSA farm loans offer access to funding for a wide range of producer needs, from securing land to financing the purchase of equipment. Guaranteed loans are financed and serviced by commercial lenders. FSA provides up to a 95% guarantee against possible financial loss of principal and interest. Guaranteed loans can be used for both farm ownership and operating purposes. In fiscal year 2021, FSA saw continued strong demand for guaranteed loans. FSA obligated more than $3.4 billion in guaranteed farm ownership and operating loans. This includes nearly $1.2 billion for beginning farmers. The number of guaranteed borrowers has grown by 10% to more than 38,750 farmers and

ranchers over the last decade. FSA expects the increasing demand for farm loans to continue into fiscal year 2022. AgCredit is a preferred lender with USDA FSA and is pleased to see a higher loan limit was made available. AgCredit, along with the Farm Credit Council and other Farm Credit System institutions, have advocated for the limit to be increased. Approximately 28% of AgCredit’s loan volume is guaranteed through USDA FSA.

2022 Agricultural Census The USDA needs your help to accurately portray Ohio’s agriculture story by participating in the 2022 Agricultural Census. Statistical information drives decision-making at all levels of the government. The Agricultural Census is an indispensable tool that assists in developing and administering programs that oversee and promote farm vitality, consumer protection, conservation, trade, and economic development. Every five years, the USDA is charged with estimating crop and livestock production through the Census of Agriculture, and they need your help to make the upcoming census possible. From the smallest operation to the largest, every farm counts, so please participate. Visit www.agcounts.usda. gov/getcounted to complete the survey.



Set Up to Succeed: My business transition story BY RYAN CONKLIN, ATTORNEY, WRIGHT & MOORE LAW CO., LPA

I’ve been sharing advice farm families and land owners can use within the pages of this magazine for several years. Consistent with the focus of Wright & Moore, these articles primarily focused on succession planning. This time, rather than sharing advice on preserving and growing operations for future generations, I’d like to offer you a more personal story and a few of the lessons I’ve learned from that experience.




A few weeks ago, our office announced that my bosses, Robert and Kelly Moore, are selling the firm to me effective Jan. 1. Only six years into the practice of law, here I am set to take over a firm deeply rooted in Ohio’s agriculture industry. With our long-standing focus on business transitions, Robert, Kelly and I felt this was a change we had to get right. Heading into my tenure as principal of the firm, several factors fill me with confidence that this is going to work out. First, while the transition kicked into high gear this year, the Moores identified me as their successor years ago, mentored me at every opportunity over the years and gained my commitment to stick around. The transition began with short discussions about office management, continued with the gradual opening of financials and peaked when management decisions started coming my way. Training to run the business takes time, so we agreed it was important to start early. Second, proper preparation prevents poor performance. After Robert and Kelly told me about their impending exit, we immediately prepared a working outline of the

subjects we needed to address over the course of the coming year. That list was three pages long, but it ensured we stayed on course and tackled all transition elements. By preparing our to-do list early, it kept us on-task throughout 2021. Third, we were able to achieve buy in and advice from key stakeholders early in the process. Changing ownership of Wright & Moore can’t occur in a vacuum; rather, it takes many professionals who can identify blind spots and address potential issues. For this reason, Robert, Kelly and I engaged our accountant, bookkeeper and colleagues to ensure we were covering all the bases. Fourth, and most importantly, maintaining open lines of communication was essential. Recognizing my knowledge gaps early on, I sought every opportunity to gain as much knowledge as possible. Robert and Kelly responded with grace by making themselves available to advise whenever I needed their wisdom and experience. There’s never a penalty or cost to over-communicating. Undercommunicating, however, often leads to significant problems down the road. Bringing a new owner into a business is a sink-or-swim situation, regardless of the amount of preparation. However, there’s a big difference between trying to swim in the 15-foot end of the pool vs. the shallow end. For an additional set of “floaties” in that pool, Robert and Kelly are staying with the office long-term. I’m grateful to have their guidance at the ready when inevitable challenges arise. As you transition a farm or business, I hope you’ll feel free to borrow from these lessons and improve your own experience. I look forward to interacting with many of you in the coming years as Wright & Moore continues its sustained relationship with AgCredit.

Meeting with Congressman Troy Balderson Meeting with a representative from Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur’s office

Discussing issues with Congressman Bob Latta

Pictured with Courtney Hruska from Congresswoman Kaptur’s office

Farm Credit Fly-In


Pictured with Congressman Bob Latta




In November, employees and members of Farm Credit associations from across the nation gathered in Washington, D.C. for the Farm Credit Fly-In. The purpose of the fly in is to educate legislators about the Farm Credit System and share the message of how AgCredit and Farm Credit support rural America. We were also able to share products produced by our members at the Fly-In Congressional Reception and Marketplace. Here are some photos of AgCredit representatives at the fly-in

Meet the Douce Agency Team BY CALEB DOUCE, DOUCE AGENCY, LLC

As another year has come and almost gone, I cannot help but look back and be thankful for what this year has given us. I am thankful, first and foremost, for God who blessed my life. I am thankful for my family and business as they are the reasons I push forward and do what I do every day. I am also thankful for a bountiful harvest this year, and I am thankful for you, the farmers, that help bring that harvest to our tables.




The relationship my agency has with AgCredit is something else to be thankful for. The Douce Agency (formally Milligan Agency) and AgCredit are in year 15 of a close, working relationship. AgCredit can be your one-stop shop for all things crop, as well. Your paperwork can be turned in at your local AgCredit office and when it comes time for crop insurance sign-ups, the agents of the Douce Agency can meet you there, at our office or at your farm. Crop insurance is also important to AgCredit as the profit they receive helps their bottom line. I am thankful for the team I have that takes care of our customers. I want to take this opportunity to ensure everyone is familiar with the crop insurance team at the Douce Agency:

is revered and trusted by all he comes in contact with. Allen also has a farming background having grown up on and farmed a 350-acre farm. Andy Schultz is an agent with the Douce Agency, specializing in farm and crop insurance. Andy has been with the agency since August of 2017. Having been in the insurance field for approximately six years, he brings that expertise to all his clients. Andy also has an extensive farming background having grown up on a 600-acre farm. He has helped manage all aspects of farm operations from raising corn, soybeans and wheat to raising cattle. Rounding out the team of crop experts at the Douce Agency are Shiloh Stimson and Nadine Miller. These team members are the administrative assistants to Caleb, Allen and Andy and help with all aspects of the crop insurance product. As an agency, we are so happy you have chosen us to take care of your needs, and it is certainly our pleasure to do so. Remember, crop sign-ups are in March, so if you would like to bring your crop insurance to AgCredit and the Douce Agency, please call us in January or February to make that transition. Have a safe and happy holiday season!

I’m Caleb Douce, the owner and principal agent of the Douce Agency, LLC. I have been involved with insurance and financial services since 2008 when I graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University. My experience and expertise are vast, not only in personal insurance needs, but also farm, crop, commercial services, life and financial policies and long-term care planning. I have a farming background having grown up on a 350-acre farm. I have helped manage all aspects of farm operations from raising corn, soybeans and wheat to raising and showing sheep. Allen Douce is an agent with the Douce Agency, specializing in farm and crop insurance. Allen has been with the agency since 2004. Having been in the insurance field for approximately 17 years, he has certainly found his niche and


An equal opportunity provider

Residential Lending hits record growth BY MANDY STACY, RESIDENTIAL LENDING SUPERVISOR

What exactly sets AgCredit apart in the area of home loans? The biggest difference in comparing AgCredit to others is our high level of local service as we offer loans that are held and serviced locally. We are able to finance homes on larger parcels of acreage while many lenders have acreage limitations. AgCredit is also unique MANDY STACY

in that we saw a need and designed a product specific to pole building houses. We use an as-will-be appraisal on home refinances to include funds for home improvements and pole buildings. Our lot loan program, which allows lots to be refinanced into our highly competitive fixed-rate construction product, continues to be a leader in the market. We are here as a resource and ask that you reach out to any of our mortgage loan originators as they each have a wealth of knowledge in home lending. We all look forward to continuing to educate our local communities in home lending and want to be the expert you call for all of your home lending needs. Please remember AgCredit and all we have to offer anytime you hear of someone in the market for a home loan.

AgCredit Mortgage Loan Originators:

CRAIG COUGHLIN NMLS#339722 Erie, Huron & Lorain counties


NMLS#499868 Henry, Wood & Lucas counties

MICHAEL KLEINKNECHT NMLS#965776 Crawford, Marion & Morrow counties



AgCredit’s residential lending department has experienced record growth over the past year. The low interest rate environment provided the opportunity for refinance transactions, causing the referral business to take off. AgCredit is competitive with a number of our home loan products and word is getting out, thanks to you, our members!


NMLS#2160394 Ottawa, Sandusky & Seneca counties

ALLISON WALTON NMLS#519889 Hancock, Hardin & Wyandot counties









As the holiday season approaches, year-end is just around the corner. With each year-end comes the task of deciding in which year to make loan payments for tax planning. Following are tips to keep in mind to help you as you plan.

Loan Payments

• AgCredit branches will close 2021 business at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 31. » Payments received after this time will be credited in 2022. » We encourage you to make payments before Dec. 31 and specify how you would like them applied. » Please consider mail time. Payments are effective when they are received and not by the check or postmark date.


Shows interest paid for any loan secured by real property and made to a person (an entity using a Social Security number). Any interest refinanced or paid with funds from another loan is not reported.

• Form 1099-INT – Interest Income Shows interest of $10 or more earned on funds in escrow (funds held) and/ or Voluntary Advanced Conditional Payment Account (VACP or Reserve Account).

• Form 1099-DIV – Dividends and Distributions Shows dividends of $10 or more earned on Class A Preferred stock.

• Form 1099 PATR – Taxable Distributions Received from Cooperatives Shows the amount of taxable patronage you received by either check or notice. Any patronage refund and disbursement of allocated equities is at the discretion of the Board of Directors. The taxable patronage for 2021 is your 2020 cash patronage that was distributed in late March or early April.

Member Summary Statements

• AccountAccess payments prior to the daily cut-off time will post to your account the next business day.

AgCredit mails summary statements to each borrowing entity at the end of January, but they are available on AccountAccess in mid-January. These statements are informational in nature and are not sent to the IRS.

» The cut-off time is generally 2:30 p.m., but it may be earlier. AccountAccess provides the actual cut-off time.

Your member summary statement shows beginning and ending loan balances, interest paid, fees paid, stock and allocated equity balances.

• You can pay all or a portion of your accrued interest in 2021 and get credit for 2021. » The team at your local AgCredit branch can help you to determine the amount.


• Form 1098 – Mortgage Interest Statements

• You can pay your Jan. 1 mortgage loan payment before the close of business in 2021 and get credit for the interest in 2021.


You can conveniently manage your account information anytime from anywhere with AccountAccess. • Free, 24/7 access to your account. • Quicker availability of IRS tax forms and the member summary statement. • Request draws on your line of credit and make loan payments.

» You cannot use escrow (funds held) interest credit to pay a portion of the payment and get credit in 2021.

• See loan balances, activity, interest paid, billing statements and more.

• Interest paid during 2021 on your loans secured by real estate will appear on IRS Form 1098, Mortgage Interest Statement or your annual statement.

• Link up to three checking or savings accounts to make your payment.

• Consult with your tax preparer on interest deduction tax reporting.

Reviewing 2021 Payments Through AccountAccess

You can help ensure the accuracy of your loan transactions for 2021 through AccountAccess. Doing this before Dec. 31 will give you time to notify the office if there is an issue and allows time to make the changes in 2021. This will help ensure that your tax and other annual statements are correct.

IRS Informational Returns

We report informational returns under the person or entity listed as the primary borrower for the borrowing entity. Statements are available on AccountAccess in mid-January. Paper forms, along with your Member Summary Statement, will be mailed in late January.

• Avoid late fees. Your payment is posted as soon as the next business day. • Download our free mobile banking app to your smart phone from the Apple App store or the Google Play store. Search for AgCredit Mobile. If you’d like to sign up for AccountAccess or if you’ve forgotten your password, please call 1-844-275-9534 or email Finally, as we approach the end of the year, remember to jot down your inventories and other information to complete a balance sheet and income statement in preparation for the financial analysis of your business. If you need help with this process, contact your AgCredit team. Thank you for choosing to do business with us! All of us at AgCredit wish you a joyous holiday season.

Around AgCredit

Stay Connected with us! Email to join our email list!

2021 Calendar photo contest winners

Little Cowboy by Brooke Baldosser

Fields of Gold by Crystal McCown

Otis at Lierenz Family Farm by Joe Lierenz

Rustic Images by Deb McDonald

Out for a Stroll by Theresa Seigley

Kicking Up Dust by Cassie Eddington

Corn Planting by Steve Polter

Strawberry Harvest by Steve Polter

Strip Till Wheat by Don Boehm

All Tuckered Out After Celebration by Mary Maag

Sunflower by Jane Brause

Nellie by Valerie Wallis



Around AgCredit Welcome New Employees!

BARBARA SETZLER Barbara Setzler joined the Fremont team as a Loan Processor in June.

SHELLY HAFER Shelly Hafer joined the Residential Lending team as a Loan Accountant in September.





Hailey Cunningham began her career at AgCredit as the Training Coordinator at our Administrative office in September.

Tiffany Carey started as a Loan Accountant in Bucyrus in September.

Collin Snyder rejoined the AgCredit team as a Business Analyst in November.

Kelly Guthrie began her career at AgCredit as a Commercial Credit Analyst with the Agribusiness department in November.



Evan Bowersock is working as an intern in the Van Wert branch this Fall/Winter.

Congratulations to Tom Moser, Capital Markets Officer, on his retirement! Tom retired on December 1 with 39 years of service at AgCredit.



Years of Service Awards SEPTEMBER-DECEMBER





Save the date



The 2022 Northwest Ohio Women in Ag Conference will be held on Friday, March 25, 2022 at Nazareth Hall in Grand Rapids, OH. Keynote speaker is Katie Dilse.







Stay Connected with us! Email to join our email list!

2021 Scholarship Recipients Congratulations to our 20212022 Joe Leiser Memorial S c h o l a r s h i p re c i p i e n t s . Each student was awarded $3,000.00 to use towards their agricultural education. “AgCredit is proud to invest in the next generation of agricultural leaders,” said President and CEO Brian Ricker. “These young men and women are key to transforming our nation’s ag industry as science and innovation spark solutions for the challenges 21st century producers face.”

CLAIRE MEYER Claire Meyer of Wood County is a junior at The Ohio State University, where she is studying agricultural communication and agribusiness.





Eric Ritter of Hancock County is a senior at The Ohio State University, where he is majoring in agribusiness, applied economics and coaching education.

Elizabeth Strine of Marion County is a junior at The Ohio State University, where she is majoring in community leadership and development and strategic communication.

Ryanna Tietje of Wood County is a sophomore at The Ohio State University, where she is majoring in agribusiness and applied economics.

Elizabeth Vorst of Van Wert County is a junior at The Ohio State University, where she is majoring in agribusiness, applied economics and animal sciences

Congratulations Congratulations to Herringshaw Farms for being recognized as an Enduring Farm by Legacy Farmers Cooperative.



Pictured is Gary Herringshaw with his son, Nate.


Offices Closed

December 24 & 27 January 3 January 17 February 21

Christmas New Years Martin Luther King Jr. Day Presidents’ Day

Your efforts and equipment drive your profits. We want to share ours. Let Farm Credit EXPRESS reduce your cost of borrowing by returning a portion of our income through our patronage program*. *Past patronage distributions are not indicators of future ones.






610 W. Lytle Street Fostoria, OH 44830





For farm newbies and seasoned professionals alike! Tips and resources from experienced ag lenders Special guest expert interviews from across the agriculture industry Insights, advice and must-have information on all things rural living

Topics include: Agronomy Farm security

Succession planning Equipment financing

And much more

Share your own questions and topic ideas with us!



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