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Farm Credit West | Summer 2017


Spotlight 3

President’s Message


New Website Launched!

5 6

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 marketing@farmcreditwest.com.


Community Center

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

18 19

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


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

and bad.

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 — 

your investment.

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

Woodland, CA

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

them money.

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

rotation schedules.

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-

he recalled.

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,


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


in recent years. As Farm Credit West grows, we remain committed


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 customers’ 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 West’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

in writing.

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 scholarships@farmcreditwest.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 West’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


Holiday Schedule

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

Memorial Day Monday, May 29, 2017 u

Independence Day Tuesday, July 4, 2017 u

Credit has even partnered with competitors to offer better, expanded programs. This

Labor Day

sense of cooperation permeates their work with the objective of bettering agriculture

Monday, September 4, 2017

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

Thanksgiving Day

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

Thursday, November 23, 2017 u

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

financial information

• 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.

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DINUBA 940 W. El Monte Way Dinuba, CA 93618 559.591.9378



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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





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. We’re paying $79.5 million in cash dividends for 2016, for a total of more than $508 million since 2002 Nice job, boss.

FarmCreditWest.com 800.909.5050

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FCW spotlight summer 2017  

FCW spotlight summer 2017