SHARING THE STORY
A NORTHERN CALIFORNIA FAMILY IS TELLING THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT FARMING Page 6
2017 DIRECTOR AND NOMINATING COMMITTEE ELECTIONS Page 5
HOW TO PREPARE FOR A FINANCIAL DOWNTURN Page 12
Farm Credit West | Summer 2017
New Website Launched!
2017 Director and Nominating Committee Elections Sharing the Story: A Northern California family is telling the good news about farming
WHO WE ARE One of the West’s leading agricultural lenders, Farm Credit West and its wholly owned subsidiaries are cooperatively-owned lending institutions providing financial services to farmers, ranchers, and agribusinesses. Our offices are located in Arizona and California’s Central Coast, Imperial Valley, South San Joaquin Valley, and Sacramento Valley.
SPOTLIGHT is produced for the customers, employees and friends of Farm Credit West. Comments and story ideas can be submitted by email to the Marketing Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Chairman of the Board Joey Airoso............................................. Pixley, CA
Preparing for a Downturn
Vice Chair of the Board Sureena B. Thiara.............................Yuba City, CA
Benchmarking: Knowing Where You Stand
Robert Amarel, Jr.............................Yuba City, CA
2017 Scholarship Recipients
Mark A. Cook..................................... Willcox, AZ
Cooperatives: A Unique Value
2017 Holiday Schedule
10–11 12 14
Teresa Castanias.................................... Dixon, CA
Gregory O. (Butch) Dias, Jr..................Visalia, CA J. Dick Eastman................................... Powell, WY Catherine Fanucchi........................ Bakersfield, CA
Phishing scams are not going away— time to get aware!
Douglas C. Filipponi...........................Creston, CA
Territory and Office Locations
Craig C. Gnos........................................ Davis, CA
Adam B. Firestone..............................Buellton, CA
Robert N. Hansen..............................Hanford, CA Blake Harlan...................................Woodland, CA
MISSION STATEMENT Farm Credit West will ensure THE CUSTOMER COMES FIRST by providing superior service at competitive rates, in a timely,
professional, and ethical manner, and by delivering a meaningful return on equity through our patronage program.
SPOTLIGHT | Summer 2017
Colin Mellon.......................................... Yuma, AZ Barry Powell..................................Sacramento, CA Brian Talley..............................Arroyo Grande, CA
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE Mark Littlefield, CEO
Farm Credit West is More Than Just a Lender
We Are Your Committed Business Partner As stockholders in Farm Credit West, you had a very good year in 2016. To be specific, net income at year-end was $206 million. This compares with $169 million in 2015 which included two months of earnings from Southwest as a result of the timing of the merger. Last year’s earnings were a result of exceptional loan growth as well as a full year of earnings from the Southwest subsidiaries. As a result of this growth, your Board
However, our belief that the CUSTOMER
superior service in a timely, professional,
of Directors declared the largest cash
COMES FIRST extends beyond just
and ethical manner.
patronage distribution in Farm Credit West’s
offering competitive rates and a
history totaling $79.5 million. This equated
robust patronage. We take seriously
to a 0.75% return of average customer
our commitment to provide you with
borrowings for both Farm Credit West and
superior service. Our teams of highly
Farm Credit Services Southwest borrowers.
trained professionals work with you to
Ultimately, the 2016 patronage declaration
develop the right financing options for
reduced your borrowing costs in an already
your operations. We are your partners
low interest rate environment.
in agriculture, and we believe that we
Farm Credit West’s patronage program is a core component of our mission statement,
As a member-owned cooperative, we have the flexibility to stand by you. This is especially important during uncertain
are a stronger business when you are successful in your business.
times. With political uncertainties, potential sluggish commodity pricing, and the projection that the Federal Open Market Committee (Fed) will continue to increase interest rates throughout 2017, you can remain certain that Farm Credit West will continue to stand with you, providing
as we “ensure THE CUSTOMER COMES
To ensure we are meeting our commit-
steady access to credit during good times
FIRST by providing superior service at
ment to provide the best customer service
competitive rates, in a timely, professional,
anywhere, we follow-up each transaction
and ethical manner, and by delivering a
with a customer survey. The results of these
meaningful return on equity through our
surveys are an important measurement
patronage program.” We are proud of our
tool that keeps us on track with our annual
ability to consistently provide you — our
goals. In 2016, you continually rated our
stockholders — with a robust return on
staff as exceeding your expectations —
holding true to our commitment to provide
Farm Credit West is more than just a lender: we build relationships. This is a key reason for our 100 year history and this will be our continued focus for the next 100 years.
Farm Credit West | Summer 2017
New Website Launched FarmCreditWest.com
If you’ve visited our website recently, you’ve likely noticed it has a whole new look. In March 2017, Farm Credit West launched a new and improved website providing more information, faster access, and overall a better user experience. Take some time today to visit the home page and see what’s new.
Welcome to the new myFCW Farm Credit West has relaunched the customer portal, offering exclusive industry news, secure messaging, business tools, and now Online Banking. We simplified the login process for myFCW and Online Banking services. Access FarmCreditWest.com, login to myFCW and select Online Banking to link your profiles. After completing this process, you will have easy access to myFCW resources and tools in addition to Online Banking with only one set of credentials.
Need Help? We’re ready to help. Contact us at 844.454.3131.
SPOTLIGHT | Summer 2017
2017 Director and Nominating Committee Elections Don’t Forget to Vote The strength and long-term success of Farm Credit West depends on continued sound leadership, vision, and direction by the Farm Credit West Board of Directors. This is possible only with a Board composed of industry and community leaders who are committed to the long-term success of agriculture and Farm Credit West. The election package for Board and 2017 Nominating Committee candidates will be mailed on May 19 to all eligible voting stockholders. Complete biographical information for the Board of Directors Candidates will be included in the election package.
Nominating Committee Candidates
2017 CANDIDATES FOR THE FARM CREDIT WEST 2017-18 NOMINATING COMMITTEE: Coastal Region: Nicholas Miller, Mike Richardson, Dana Merrill, Craig Reade
Sacramento Valley Region: Kulwant Johl, Sam Nevis, Matt Mariani, Rajeev Davit
Southern San Joaquin Region: Louis Pandol, Julien Parsons, Michael Dias, Jared Fernandes
Southwest Region: Bill Plourd, Kim Grizzle, Mike Blohm, Larry Ott
BOARD OF DIRECTOR CANDIDATES: Position 1 – Coastal Region Thomas D. Deardorff, II Santa Barbara, CA
Tom Ikeda Arroyo Grande, CA
The Nominating Committee plays an integral part of the success of the Farm Credit West Board of Directors. This group of customers is elected by voting stockholders to serve a term of one year. Their responsibilities include screening, interviewing
Tom Ikeda Arroyo Grande, CA
and selecting director candidates to appear on the ballot in each director election. Eligibility to serve on a nominating committee is limited to voting stockholders, who are not directors, director candidates, officers, employees or agents of the association.
Position 2 – Sacramento Valley Region Blake Harlan
Jonathan Greg Munger
Yuba City, CA
DIRECTOR CANDIDATE VIDEOS Learn more about the Board of Director candidates for 2017! Videos will be posted featuring candidate
interviews on our website at FarmCreditWest.com/
Jonathan Greg Munger Yuba City, CA
About-Us/Board-of-Directors/Director-CandidateVideos starting May 19.
Farm Farm Credit Credit West West || Summer Summer 2017 2017
Sharing the Story
A Northern California family is telling the good news about farming By John Frith
The owners of Muller Ranch, LLC, a sprawling operation outside of Woodland, CA, are farming evangelists. They passionately believe they have a good story to tell and want the outside world to see how farming is beneficial for the economy and for the environment. “Agriculture can be vilified in many circles,
festival that’s been held for a number
and we need to show people that we’re
of years in the nearby Capay Valley.
good stewards of the land and we’re not
Sunflowers are one of the farm’s top
raping Mother Earth,” said Colin T. Muller,
crops, along with tomatoes and peppers,
the farm manager and part of the third
with their seeds exported to Eastern
generation of the family to farm the fertile
Europe and Russia for production of
Sacramento Valley soil.
sunflower oil and other products.
“Farmers are often very secretive people,
Muller said the sunflower fields on either
and we are, too. We don’t want to give
side of busy Interstate 5 in Northern
away any trade secrets. But at the same
California have become popular tourist
time, we need to open up a bit to shine
attractions during the summer months as
a good light on agriculture.”
people from nearby Sacramento and the
To that end, the Mullers are exploring creating an annual sunflower festival in the area, similar to an existing almond
SPOTLIGHT | Summer 2017
San Francisco Bay Area are captivated by their beauty and want to take a tour.
“They are beautiful,” he said. “Sometimes working
The farm also carefully tests each field to determine
with them every year you kind of forget that.”
just the right amount of nitrogen to apply and promotes biodiversity, habitat conservation, and soil
A festival would build on other outreach efforts
health. The ranch has also been featured in a positive
the Mullers have been participating in for years,
light by groups that often can be critical of agriculture,
such as the Yolo County Art and Ag Project, which
including the Natural Resources Defense Council.
cultivates a dialogue between artists, farmers, and
We look to continue the tradition my father and uncle started about innovation. the community to raise awareness of the importance
Muller shrugs it off, saying that “it seemed like the
of preserving farmlands and the visual arts. Painters
right thing to do,” and also pointed out that a lot
and photographers are welcomed on their property
of their environmentally friendly practices also save
to capture the beauty of the land and then sell the
works at street fairs and other venues.
The farm’s beekeeper as well, Muller said they support
The Mullers also utilize social media to promote
native bees and other natural pollinators which
farming. One of Muller’s cousins runs the
allows the ranch to get by with fewer captive bees.
California Farms and Ranches page on Instagram, https://www.instagram.com/ californiafarmsandranches/, which features photos of the Mullers’ property and numerous other farms. It has nearly 19,000 followers. Muller Ranch also has a Facebook page, https://www.facebook. com/mullerranch, with more than 1,000 likes. Recent posts include chopping a vetch cover crop to till it back into the ground in preparation for tomato planting and photos of almond blossoms and pollinating bees. Public outreach is just part of the family’s willingness to try new things, Muller said. For example, the farm was one of the first in the area to begin converting to drip irrigation and now uses drip systems on 95 percent of their fields. They still use
Colin Thomas Muller (right) farms with his father Tom Muller (left), uncle Frank Muller (not pictured), and cousin Colin Casey Muller (not pictured) in Woodland, CA.
traditional watering methods for most organic crops, which can’t receive fertilizers via the drip system but instead require compost and chicken manure. In those situations, Muller has
Also, he finds the presence of the wild bees makes the honeybees work harder, improving pollination.
been experimenting with double drip lines that
“We look to continue the tradition my father and
might provide enough water for the compost and
uncle started about innovation,” Muller said about
chicken manure to benefit the crop.
Continued on next page
Farm Credit West | Summer 2017
himself and his cousin — coincidentally
including wine grapes, garlic, onions, corn,
“When you have brothers and cousins
also named Colin — who will take over
and wheat. He said that helps balance
and spouses all involved in the business,
the operation in the next few years.
things out financially — if one commodity
it can get very complicated very quickly,”
“We’ve always been willing to try new
does poorly, others will help cover those
he said, adding the ideas presented
things and are usually the first to try
losses. Having such a wide range of
at Farm Credit West’s program will be
a new crop in the area.”
products also helps with aggressive crop
helpful as the ownership transitions.
As an example, they were the first to grow
The two Colins are the third generation
cucumbers in the area, and now five other
Recognizing the growing demand for
of Mullers to farm the land. Their
farms also do so. And while now famed for
organic produce, Muller Farms started
grandfather, Joe Muller Sr., now 93, is a Swiss immigrant who started out as a logger and then went to work for a dairy in the Salinas Valley. He eventually
When you have brothers and cousins and spouses all involved in the business, it can get very complicated very quickly.
started a dairy operation, later sold it and bought a larger operation in the San Jose area. As suburbia surrounded the dairy, he decided to sell it and in 1967 bought 100 acres outside Woodland — in part because there were other Swiss immigrants farming in the area. The family now farms several thousand acres.
its sunflowers, they also were pioneers with
several years ago with 40 acres and are
that crop in the region, growing them for
now up to several hundred.
over 37 years.
Both Muller and his cousin have
“People around here thought we were
attended Farm Credit West’s Young
crazy. Sunflowers are native to the area
Farmer and Rancher program, and said
and people saw them as just a weed,”
the information they learned at the three-
day invitation-only event was extremely
Over the years, the Mullers have also diversified into a wide range of crops,
SPOTLIGHT | |Summer Summer2017 2017
valuable, especially the need to properly execute succession planning.
Joe Sr. had five sons, all of whom worked in the family business for a time, with Frank and Tom still actively involved but looking to retire in the next five or six years. Muller recalls that like most children of farmers, he grew up sweeping the floor and doing other odd jobs, and like many teenagers in similar circumstances he decided he didn’t really want to be a farmer. He went to work for a supermarket
while in high school and went off to Cal
Those new standards have forced the
always work to be more efficient, to save
Poly to study business, expecting to
Mullers to become even more productive,
money where we can. We’ve been able to
become a financial planner. But the more
for example by converting their planting
adapt and stay profitable,” he said.
he got involved in business studies, the
and harvesting equipment from three beds
more he began thinking that he really
to five, so one farmworker can basically
wanted to come back home. Colin and
become twice as productive.
his cousin joined the ranch in 2013.
crops except in California.”
regulators from outside the farm belt would
his cousin has three children in the fourth
come out to see the impact of those laws
generation of the family business that he
and regulations in the real world, and also
wants to stay on the farm.
get a better perspective on how the vast
in which to do business, and Muller worries about the impact of such new laws as the $15 an hour minimum wage and the mandatory eight-hour day — which most of the farm’s workers
know where else you would grow all these
Muller wishes more legislators and
And while Muller only recently married,
California is an increasingly difficult place
“But we can’t move, and besides I don’t
majority of farmers are good stewards of the land. While he’s not hopeful that many urban lawmakers will take them up on the offer, he does share a farmer’s natural optimism for the future of agriculture in the Golden State.
oppose because they will actually earn
“We’ve had to deal with more and more
less money without overtime.
regulations for years, and we have to
Farm Credit West | Summer 2017
Everyone Wins at the Grocery Cart Race Tulare Regional employees participate in the annual Young Farmers & Ranchers Grocery Cart Race. L-R: Andrew Houtby, Linda Nichols, Sheila Holdridge, Alyssa Perez, Melanie Baeza, Sasha Gonzalez, April Perry, Jill Horstmann, Amanda Sumpter, Danielle Vietti.
On March 26, teams gathered at the
grocery cart to benefit the Tulare County
become part of National Agriculture Week
Foods Co grocery store in Tulare, CA
FoodLink. They were the biggest winner,
celebrations to promote food security and
to celebrate agriculture through a
receiving over 1,700 pounds of non-
the value of the American Farmer to our
competitive morning of grocery shopping
perishable food for those in need.
economy and our way of life. The YF&R
for a cause. Teams consisting of Young Farmers and Ranchers, Farm Bureau employees and members, Farm Credit West staff, and others, raced to fill their
As a sponsor of this event, Farm Credit West paid to enter up to four teams in this year’s event. This annual contest has
committee members in Tulare County work to promote agriculture awareness and appreciation through their active involvement in Farm Bureau.
Congratulations to John Lacey Recipient of the Centennial Cattleman Award
Farm Credit West congratulates Paso Robles cattleman John Lacey, recipient of the California Cattlemen’s Association Centennial Cattleman award. Lacey, who served as CCA President in 1985 and 1986, went on to become the first person to serve as president of both the National Cattlemen’s Association and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. In addition to his leadership in his state and national trade associations, he also has served as chairman on the National Cattlemen’s Foundation, served on numerous committees and served as a board member for various other organizations like the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the National Livestock and Meat Board, and in many other capacities, as well.
Community Center Farm Credit West donates nearly $800,000 in 2016 RURAL COMMUNITIES $148,000
Farm Credit West staff believes that our association is about more than great rates and products. We are also about service and stewardship: Service to our customers and the communities we live in, and responsible stewardship of the capital you have built and entrusted us to protect. In 2016, our association donated nearly $800,000 to activities,
INDUSTRY SUPPORT $338,000 YOUTH PROGRAMS $261,000
events, scholarship programs and fundraisers in our various local communities. We take great pride in supporting the FFA, 4-H, community service clubs, Farm Bureau events, food banks, local schools and much, much more. Our staff also leads by example, having donated over 11,850 hours to assist these organizations in fulfilling their mission. We take seriously our commitment to local communities, both financially and through volunteer hours. Through our customer relationships and dedication to stewardship, we have become even more active in the communities we serve
LOCAL FOOD PROGRAMS $19,000
in recent years. As Farm Credit West grows, we remain committed
EDUCATION AND RESEARCH $24,000
to supporting our customers at a grassroots level.
Young Farmer Rancher Institute Once again, Farm Credit West welcomed a new class of young farmers and ranchers to our 2017 Executive Institute last February. During the three-day training, 26 young farmers, ranchers, and representatives from agricultural business industries came together to learn from Farm Credit West Directors and staff, Cal Poly Agribusiness Department professors and other industry leaders. This marked the 17th class of the Young Farmer Institute. Farm Credit West founded this program as a means to provide valuable development opportunities for our customersâ€™ next generation of leaders. The Institute was launched in 2000, and over the past 17 years more than 345 young customers have graduated from the program. To learn more about Farm Credit Westâ€™s involvement in our communities, visit our website at:
Farm Credit West | Summer 2017 11
Preparing for a Downturn Advice from an Experienced Loan Officer By Jon Kennedy, Senior Vice President — Credit (Tulare)
There is an old saying that goes something like this: It’s not what you do in the bad times that will get you through, it’s the steps you take during the good times. In agricultural farming operations, the
borrowed money that increases leverage
Options to mitigate downside risk take
potential for hard times that are out of a
to the balance sheet, the downside risk
several different forms, depending on the
producer’s control is ever-present. This
increases significantly. (Leverage is the
type of negative event. For weather risk,
includes everything from unwelcome
amount of borrowed money that you have
operators may wish to consider crop
weather events to fluctuations in prices
compared to your own equity and it works
insurance, installing secondary sources
resulting from changes in supply and
for you in an appreciating market. It works
of water for irrigation, installing frost
demand. With that in mind, it is critical
against you in a declining market.) Proper
protection, etc. For economic events,
for producers to make plans to cover
risk management entails assessing the
individuals may investigate forward
downside risk associated with a drop
probability of an event actually occurring in
contracts on major input costs in
in prices and/or yield reduction.
addition to the potential impact if it actually
addition to commodities sold. While this
did occur. If there is high probability of
could potentially limit future profits, it
an event happening and the impact has
most certainly limits future losses. Efforts
significant negative consequences, steps
should be made to increase efficiency
should be taken to mitigate that downside
and reduce costs of production on
potential. With higher risk, there is a
a per unit break-even price while not
potential for higher reward, but also
sacrificing product quality. Fixed interest
a much greater downside risk.
rates, revenue insurance, establishing
The tendency among operators is to focus on the upside potential of the business, anticipating future profits with the assumption that prices and yields will continue to be maintained at recent high levels. If these plans are financed with
12 SPOTLIGHT | Summer 2017
an estate plan, life insurance, and
to manage through the downturn.
to creep into operations via increased
having a business plan are all forms
Be careful to not make a plan in haste,
lifestyle expenses, acquisition of lazy
of risk management.
but evaluate multiple options prior to
assets, and expansion at appreciated
selecting a course of direction. You may
land values. Sharpen your pencil and
find meeting with a financial advisor and
search for assets acquired that are
your attorney is helpful in accomplishing
nice to have, but not a necessity that
this objective. Regardless of how you
contributes towards your profitability.
approach it, be certain to run multiple
Evaluate your operation’s cost structure
scenarios and place priorities on what
and their impact to the bottom line.
In the event that financial stress appears on the horizon, take some time to assess of your situation.
Below are a few steps to consider: 1. Know your financial position — Regardless of your current financial
The tendency among operators is to focus on the upside of the business, anticipating future profits with the assumption that prices and yields will continue to be high.
position, assess your cash liquidity and your sources of cash to cover your immediate and long term needs. Determine your liabilities by identifying who you owe, the payment terms, and the consequences if you are late on payment. Identify if you can make near term debt obligations and how long you can operate before you are in a cash crunch. Keeping accurate records in the good times will help you make informed decisions during financial stress. Develop a system to keep clear enterprise cost accounting by crop or
you are willing to do to keep your operation
Once identified, reduce your overhead by
financially sound. Chronicle your options
liquidating lazy assets. Remember that
little choices during good times can have big benefits during lean times.
ranch to know what is profitable, and
3. Communicate with your lender —
what is not.
Communicate with your creditors, in
Regardless of your current financial
particular your operating lender, to fully
situation, always strive to maintain
evaluate your options. Presenting a clear
liquidity and to grow at a sustainable
plan to your lender creates much greater
rate. Use credit wisely and remember
confidence than if you bury your head
that high commodity prices and strong
in the sand. Provide your lender with
demand today is not guaranteed
current financial statements including
tomorrow. Expansion decisions should
projected cash flow and income for the
be based on what is sustainable and
next operating period.
should not put everything at risk.
When presented with financial stress, take some time to understand your current situation. Evaluate if this is a onetime disaster or an extended downturn. Understand what the outlook is on crop prices and what it will take to improve them. Finally, take some time to review all bank documents, payables, and receivables. 2. Have a Plan B & C — Assess all options and consider multiple scenarios
4. Trim the fat — During extended periods of high profits and positive markets, there is a tendency for overhead
Farm Farm Credit Credit West West || Summer Summer 2017 2017 13
Knowing Where You Stand By John Barcelos, Chief Risk Officer
Volatility in agriculture seems to be the new norm. Producers are highly dependent upon factors such as weather, trade, competition, and the strength of the Dollar, to name just a few. These dynamics create volatility — and in some cases opportunities — for Farm Credit West customers. benchmarks. Farmers routinely do this
information in hand, you are better
on the production side—comparing
equipped to manage your operation.
yields to an industry average (or even to
Farm Credit West benchmarks too
the neighbor) is a form of benchmarking. While production benchmarking is a critical component for comparing your operation to others, it is not the only opportunity to see how you rank. It is just as important to compare your financial performance to a standard. Some industry groups publish their own benchmarks for financial performance. These studies serve as excellent resources for you to compare your operation. If your industry does not Volatility can be difficult to manage through. Sharp decreases in crop prices or large increases in input costs can wreak havoc on profitability. However, if you have a solid understanding of your operation’s strengths and weaknesses, you are better-equipped to minimize the negative impacts of volatility. In addition, you may be able to position yourself to capitalize on opportunities that volatility can sometimes bring. The key is to
publish financial benchmark information, all is not lost. Your local Farm Credit West loan officer can provide you with insights about how you ‘stack up’ financially by comparing your operation to Farm Credit West’s loan underwriting standards. Underwriting standards are benchmarks utilized by Farm Credit West to guide the loan approval process. For example: Are you average, below average, or above average when considering your
‘know where you stand’.
Debt Coverage Ratio (a ratio that
How do you stack up?
of assessment will prompt additional
assesses repayment ability)? This type
When trying to assess where you stand,
discussion of why your operation may
it is helpful to know how you rank
be better (or weaker) than the
relative to other producers, or to other
established standards. With that
14 SPOTLIGHT | Summer 2017
The same advice applies to Farm Credit West as well. Management regularly compares Farm Credit West’s financial performance to other Farm Credit Associations. These comparisons help our association to assess the effectiveness of its strategic objectives. It also allows management to understand how Farm Credit West can leverage its strengths and minimize its weaknesses in order to continue to deliver value to its customer-owners.
Farm Credit West can help At the end of the day, benchmarking is not magic. Used in isolation it cannot (and should not) directly drive how you manage your operation. Instead, it is simply another tool in the toolbox to help assess the strengths and weaknesses of your business. Knowing how you compare to industry standards provides insights to help you make more informed decisions. Farm Credit West can help you through this process. Reach out to your loan officer today to schedule a time to discuss where you stand and see how you stack up.
Congratulations to our 2017 Scholarship Recipients! Over 23 years Farm Credit West has awarded over $737,500 in scholarships to 202 students. Recipients have clearly demonstrated their commitment to
renewing their scholarship, please send your 2016-17 transcripts
agriculture and worked to make a difference in their communities.
to email@example.com by July 1, 2017.
These students will receive a $1,500 scholarship towards higher education for the 2017-18 school year. Scholars that continue to maintain academic excellence are eligible to renew their $1,500 scholarship for up to three years after their initial award, bringing the total award available to $6,000 per scholar. For students
Farm Credit Westâ€™s college scholarship program is an important component of our commitment to young and beginning farmers. By supporting the education of these students, we are investing in the future of agriculture.
OUR 2017 SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS: Harjot Dosanjh Bakersfield, CA Cal Poly, SLO Major: Agribusiness Baljit and Paramjit Dosanjh
Grace Guthrie Porterville, CA Cal Poly, SLO Major: Agribusiness John C. and Renee Guthrie
Stephanie Stewart Atwater, CA Modesto Junior College Major: Agribusiness Steve and Kathleen Stewart
Katie Lacey Lone Pine, CA Oklahoma State University Major: Agribusiness or Pre Law Mark and Brenda Lacey
Colby Pantaleoni Gridley, CA Cal Poly, SLO Major: Bioresource and Agriculture Engineering Dino and Christine Pantaleoni
Madison Mellon Yuma, AZ Texas A&M University Major: Animal Science Matthew and Amanda Mellon
Nitin Gupta Tulare, CA Undecided Major: Agribusiness or Business Administration Vinod and Lovleen Gupta
Chloe Richardson Fillmore, CA Cal Poly, SLO Major: Experience Industry Management Mike and Heather Richardson
Amairan Chohan Yuba City, CA Yuba College Major: Business Harsbinder and Jasbir Chohan
Peyton Fernandes Tipton, CA Cal Poly, SLO Major: Agricultural Systems Management Gary and Victoria Fernandes
Macy Hill Live Oak, CA Undecided Major: Agribusiness Justin and Sara Hill
Simrit Pamma Live Oak, CA UC Davis Major: Biology Amarjit and Parminder Pamma
Jack Grizzle Holtville, CA Cal Poly, SLO Major: Crop Sciences Kevin and Kim Grizzle
Ryan Montemagni Visalia, CA Kansas State University Major: Agribusiness Eric and Maria Montemagni
Arvin Sihota Selma, CA Fresno State Major: Agribusiness Simon and Summer Sihota
Farm Credit West | Summer 2017 15
Cooperatives: A Unique Value By Dr. David M. Kohl
the foundation and structural modifications that are now the Farm Credit System. Today, I am a customer of Farm Credit, but most importantly, have the opportunity to join them in educating customers and others across the country. From these various perspectives, I see first-hand how cooperatives, like Farm Credit, continue to make the difference for those in agriculture and rural America. One specific benefit of the cooperative system, as Farm Credit exhibits, is the connection to its customer base, or its grassroots. Leadership and change are driven from the bottom to the top, with input from producers and people on the front-lines. The leaders at Farm Credit are involved in everyday activities of the industry, living and breathing the challenges and change. In recent years, the formation of advisory boards, and the appointment of board members with specific expertise better ensures a cooperative that is well-managed and responsive to the marketplace. Additionally, it creates a leadership body that is more reflective of the customer base.
From a young age, cooperatives have been part of my way of life. I remember fondly the trips to the feed cooperative and riding on the milk truck to deliver cans to the local cooperative plant. In FFA, cooperatives sponsored our
Farm Credit cooperative culture balances the importance of bottom line numbers with the passion and desire to make a positive difference.
youth seminars on leadership and various topics. With principles that stretch beyond just money, Farm Credit rises to the top
networking with global market-movers. In
as one of the most useful, valuable and
fact, Farm Credit sponsored the fellowship
well-managed cooperatives. In my youth,
for my doctoral education at Cornell
Farm Credit sponsored the Farm Credit
University. Their cooperative support
Fellows program which included visits to
offered me the opportunity to work with
Wall Street, the Funding Corporation, and
professors whose lineage traced back to
16 SPOTLIGHT | Summer 2017
Employees often comment that working with Farm Credit evokes a sense of family. This culture is one of balance between the head and the heart. In other words, the Farm Credit cooperative culture balances the importance of bottom line numbers
with the passion and desire to make a positive difference. As a lender in a cooperative environment, one has the ability to give back to the community, work side-by-side with customers, help a farm business evolve, and many times, watch a family grow. From an educator’s point of view, another benefit of a cooperative is the investment in
customer education. For example, Farm Credit’s many programs for young, beginning and small farmers throughout America are a testament that cooperatives care about more than just the next quarter’s results. Investments into young entrepreneurs, family business transition, and financial and business management plant the seeds for more sustainable businesses as well as a stronger overall economy. Cooperatives such as Farm Credit strive to help farm businesses navigate challenging economic times and changing market forces. In many regions of America, Farm Credit aligns with other cooperatives to provide educational experiences for producers, spouses and children. In some cases, Farm
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Credit has even partnered with competitors to offer better, expanded programs. This
sense of cooperation permeates their work with the objective of bettering agriculture
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and rural America. A powerful part of the cooperative heritage is the ability to offer patronage dividends. Rather than Wall Street, distinct stockholders, or a few in the community, profits are returned to all borrowers. This often acts as a multiplier for local businesses
Columbus Day Monday, October 9, 2017
and communities. In fact, every dollar returned results in four to eight times the
spending as money circulates through the locale. The ripple effect of this patronage
materializes into employment opportunities and economic growth for local Main Street businesses and others. Finally, the mentality of a cooperative system encourages members and employees to act as advocates. With the rapid urbanization of U.S. and global populations, the challenges and opportunities of connecting the general population to agriculture
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Christmas Day Monday, December 25, 2017
continues to grow. Yet, this connection is critical for the future success of farmers and ranchers, and rural communities. Whether it is on the steps of the state or U.S. Capitols, interchange with school groups, or presenting a balanced perspective to nongovernment organizations on issues like animal welfare or water quality, cooperative resources are critical. As a student, an educator, and a business owner, my life’s circle has afforded a varied perspective of cooperatives. In short, the cooperative system offers unique value. It is refreshing to observe how Farm Credit has evolved to stay competitive, effective and useful while making the lives of families, businesses, and the individuals they serve a priority in a wide spectrum of ways.
Farm Credit West | Summer 2017 17
Phishing scams are not going away— time to get aware! By Michael Levin, CEO / Founder of the Center for Information Security Awareness Every day, millions of business
Most of us are naturally curious when we get new email
and personal email accounts are
messages, and the scammers craft their fake email to
exposed to “phishing” scams.
exploit our curiosity. In our busy day to day lives, we are
Phishing is the #1 risk to our business and personal financial accounts! Phishing is defined as “an attempt to acquire sensitive information
frequently in a hurry, and the scammers are hoping you will rush to open every email and click on every link and attachment you get. Some of the risky email messages to look for could include any variation from:
such as usernames, passwords, and financial information
• Email from a name you recognize
by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic
• Banks – Credit Card Companies
communication.” This is often performed through malicious attachments and links inside fraudulent emails. Phishing is a form of “social engineering” where the criminal known as a “phisher” attempts to trick you into falling for their scam. The criminals in phishing attacks go to great lengths to create legitimate looking email messages designed to trick you. They want you to open the email and click on links or
• IRS or Government Agency • Charity – Causes – Disaster relief • University or school • Security Alert – Urgency • Stores you know or “great deals” First off, understand that any email address can be faked or spoofed. URL spoofing is the process of creating fake
attachments that will infect your computer and network.
or forged URL’s that are often used in phishing attacks.
Phishing email messages can be used to deliver and
you open the email, try hovering the mouse over the
facilitate a wide variety of threats to you including any of the following:
Never trust the display name in the email address. Before email address or links in the preview message to view the full information.
• Computer viruses, spyware and ransomware
Every time you click on a link or attachment, you risk
• Stealing of personally identifiable information — PII
infecting your computer with a virus. By just reducing the
• Theft of your credit card numbers and other
number of email messages you open you will decrease your
• Hijack your usernames and passwords • Turn your device into a remote bot computer
to commit other crimes
18 SPOTLIGHT | Summer 2017
risk. So, stop automatically clicking on every email you get and try to slow down and protect your data. Security awareness training options can be found at the Center for Information Security Awareness, CFISA: www.cfisa.org.
Territory and Office Locations ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE 3755 Atherton Road Rocklin, CA 95765 916.780.1166 CAPITAL MARKETS 1446 Spring Street Suite 201 Paso Robles, CA 93446 805.237.0998
Yuba City Woodland
Farm Credit West Administrative Office
DINUBA 940 W. El Monte Way Dinuba, CA 93618 559.591.9378
Tulare Capital Markets Templeton Kern County Santa Maria
HANFORD 1111 W. Lacey Boulevard Hanford, CA 93230 559.584.2681
IMPERIAL VALLEY 485 Business Park Way Imperial, CA 92251 760.355.0291
Tempe Imperial Valley Yuma
Rural Arizona/ Safford
19628 Industry Parkway Drive Bakersfield, CA 93308 661.399.7360
3003 S. Fair Lane Tempe, AZ 85282 602.431.4100
RURAL ARIZONA / SAFFORD
1120 S. 20th Avenue Safford, AZ 85546 928.348.9571
175 Cow Meadow Place Paso Robles, CA 93446 805.434.3665
2031 Knoll Drive Ventura, CA 93003 805.477.1020
900 Tharp Road Yuba City, CA 95993 530.671.1420
1178 Tama Lane Santa Maria, CA 93455 805.922.7991
200 E. Cartmill Avenue Tulare, CA 93274 559.684.1478
440 Pioneer Avenue Woodland, CA 95776 530.666.3333
2490 S. 5th Avenue Yuma, AZ 85364 928.344.3200
Farm Credit West | Summer 2017 19
3755 Atherton Road Rocklin, CA 95677
You had a very good year. As a Farm Credit West member owner, you share in the profits. Weâ€™re paying $79.5 million in cash dividends for 2016, for a total of more than $508 million since 2002 Nice job, boss.
Committed. Experienced. Trusted.