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spotlight FALL 2017





President’s Message 3 

Financial Highlights 4 2017 Election Results 5

6 – 9

10 – 11

Commitment to Serve: Dean Owen on the ranch and in the air Community Center

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.


Tax Law Uncertainty Should Not 12

Chairman of the Board Joey Airoso............................................. Pixley, CA

2017 Renewal Scholarship 13

Vice Chair of the Board Sureena B. Thiara.............................Yuba City, CA

Delay Succession Planning


California-Style Rajas 14 Why Mechanize? 15 Balancing the Passion 16

and Economics of Farming

DocuSign 17

Robert Amarel, Jr.............................Yuba City, CA Teresa Castanias.................................... Dixon, CA Mark A. Cook..................................... Willcox, AZ Gregory O. (Butch) Dias, Jr..................Visalia, CA J. Dick Eastman................................... Powell, WY Catherine Fanucchi........................ Bakersfield, CA

Protect your online accounts 18

Douglas C. Filipponi...........................Creston, CA

Territory and Office Locations 19

Robert N. Hansen..............................Hanford, CA

with smart password practices!

Craig C. Gnos........................................ Davis, CA

Blake Harlan...................................Woodland, CA Tom Ikeda................................Arroyo Grande, 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 | Fall 2017

Colin Mellon.......................................... Yuma, AZ Barry Powell..................................Sacramento, CA Brian Talley..............................Arroyo Grande, CA


Your Success Is Our Success Building trusted relationships with our customers

As a professional in the agricultural industry, you understand the importance of building a trusted relationship with your lending partner. Unlike other industries, farm and ranch

programs designed to equip staff with the

bring our collective voice to the agricultural

operators have a unique set of challenges

tools and knowledge required to better

industries we serve.

(such as weather, labor, and food safety)

meet your needs. Additionally, we have

that fluctuate regularly throughout a

focused efforts on leadership development

harvest season. At Farm Credit West, our

for younger staff to ensure that we have

staff understands this and is committed

a deep bench for future management

to learning about you as individuals.

of the Association. Combined, these

As a member-owned cooperative, our

efforts enable Farm Credit West and Farm

association has the flexibility to stand by

Credit Services Southwest staff to truly

you in good times and bad, providing

understand your operation and better

steady access to credit while maintaining

meet your financial objectives.

our committment to provide a robust and consistent return on investment through an active patronage program. For over 100 years, we have carried out our mission that the CUSTOMER COMES FIRST, helping countless farmers and ranchers achieve their personal and financial goals.

Last quarter we said farewell to one of our dedicated directors, Adam B. Firestone. Mr. Firestone has given much of his time and talent to provide effective governance and oversight to Farm Credit West. We appreciate his many years of service. As we say goodbye to Mr. Firestone, I would like to welcome Tom Ikeda, a newly elected Board member. Mr. Ikeda resides in Arroyo

Our commitment to providing the best

Grande, where he works for a third-

service possible does not stop with our

generation farming operation of vegetables,

staff. Every decision your association’s

citrus, and avocados. I would also like

Board of Directors makes is done with

to congratulate Blake Harlan on his re-

the purpose of better serving you, our

election to the Board. Mr. Harlan resides

member-borrowers. Your directors

in Woodland, where he farms processing

are each highly qualified industry and

tomatoes, alfalfa, almonds, and various

We pride ourselves on maintaining an

community leaders committed to ensuring

other crops. Much of Farm Credit West’s

expert staff comprised of dedicated

the success of Farm Credit West and

success is attributed to the contributions

individuals, each of whom are recognized

our member-borrowers. Most of your

of the many customers who have served

as having high integrity and a passion for

directors are fully certified graduates of

as directors over the years, and we extend

helping our customers meet their financial

the “Premier Governance Series,” a state

our utmost appreciation to each of them

needs. Furthermore, many of our staff

of the art development program designed

for their leadership, insight, and many

members have direct experience in farming

specifically for high performing directors.

years of dedicated service.

or ranching. This unique experience allows

In addition, each of these individuals are

our team of experts to truly understand

active participants in NACD, a nationally

your agricultural operation, and the

recognized director development

nuances related to running a farm and

program. Your directors have the skills

ranch. For many years, Farm Credit West

and experience needed to provide the

has invested in developing training

association with sound leadership and to

At Farm Credit West, our staff and Board of Directors are dedicated to helping your business succeed. We are committed to you as a partner in agriculture, because your success is our success.

Farm Credit West | Fall 2017


Financial Highlights Farm Credit West reported net income of $110 million for the first six months of 2017. These year-to-date earnings are ahead of our business plan target. Also, during the first six months of 2017 our average earning assets and capital levels increased and we strengthened our allowance for loan losses.






Dec. 31, 2013

Dec. 31, 2014

Dec. 31, 2015

Dec. 31, 2016

Jun. 30, 2017






Dec. 31, 2013

Dec. 31, 2014

Dec. 31, 2015

Dec. 31, 2016

Jun. 30, 2017

Members’ Equity as a % of Total Assets

Average Earning Assets (in millions)

Average earning assets increased $235 million, or 2.6%, during the first six months of the year. The full impact of the Southwest merger and significant loan growth during 2015 was recognized in the average earning assets calculation during 2016. Farm Credit West is experiencing modest

In the first six months of 2017, total members’ equity increased $123 million, primarily due to net income of $110 million and an increase in the preferred stock balance of $17 million. Partially offsetting net income during the six months were preferred stock dividends of $4 million.

loan growth in 2017.






Dec. 31, 2013

Dec. 31, 2014

Dec. 31, 2015

Dec. 31, 2016

Jun. 30, 2017






Dec. 31, 2013

Dec. 31, 2014

Dec. 31, 2015

Dec. 31, 2016

Jun. 30, 2017

Allowance for Loan Losses as a % of Loans

Our allowance for loan losses totaled $61 million (0.64%

Nonearning Assets (in millions)

of loan principal and interest) at June 30, 2017, compared with

Nonearning assets (nonaccrual loans plus other property

0.59% of loan principal and interest at December 31, 2016.

owned) decreased by $10 million or 7.6% to $132 million

The allowance is our best estimate of the amount of probable

at June 30, 2017. The decrease was primarily due to a $9

losses existing in our loan portfolio as of each balance sheet

million decrease in nonaccrual loan volume as a result of

date. We determine the allowance based on a regular

$16 million in net repayments partially offset by $7 million in

assessment of the loan portfolio, which generally considers

transfers to nonaccrual during the year. The other property

recent historic charge-off experience, collateral evaluations

owned balance decreased by $1 million.

and adjustments for other relevant economic factors.


SPOTLIGHT | Fall 2017

2017 Director and Nominating Committee Election Results Board of Directors

2018 Nominating Committee Sam Nevis, Matt Mariani, Nicholas Miller,

Congratulations to Blake Harlan and Tom Ikeda, who were recently elected

Dana Merrill, Louis Pandol, Michael Dias,

to serve on the Farm Credit West Board of Directors. Farm Credit West

Kim Grizzle, and Mike Blohm

Board members are the governing voice of the Association, acting to

2018 Alternates for Nominating Committee

represent the best interests of the Association’s shareholders.

Kulwant Johl, Rajeev Davit, Mike Richardson, Craig Reade, Julien Parsons, Jared Fernandes, Bill Plourd, and Larry Ott

Retiring Director: Adam Firestone Adam Firestone Blake Harlan

Blake has been reelected to the Farm Credit West Board. His family has a sixth-generation family ranch which farms processing tomatoes, alfalfa, wheat, corn, sunflowers, and almonds in the Yolo County area.

Tom Ikeda

retired from the

Tom is a new member to the Farm Credit West Board. His family has a third-generation diversified farming operation of vegetables, citrus, and avocados in the San Luis Obispo area.

Farm Credit West Board this year. Adam represented Farm Credit West stockholders with

Thank you to those who participated in the election process. You play an

the utmost integrity.

important role in Farm Credit West’s success. We would like to convey our

We thank him for his

most sincere appreciation to those who agreed to serve as Board of Director

dedicated service and wish him well in all future

candidates, Nominating Committee members, Nominating Committee

endeavors. Adam Firestone started on the

candidates and to all those stockholders who cast their ballots.

Central Coast Farm Credit Board in 1997.

Seeking qualified candidates to run for the Board of Directors of Farm Credit West, ACA Directors serve on the boards of Farm Credit West, ACA and each of its subsidiaries. If you are interested in running for a board seat in the 2018 Farm Credit West director election, we would like to hear from you. The following regions will have one director seat available:

Sacramento Valley | Southern San Joaquin | Southwest If you are interested, please contact Chris Brumfield at 916.780.1166 no later than November 3, 2017.

Farm Credit West | Fall 2017


Commitment to Serve Dean Owen, on the ranch and in the air By John Frith

Lt. Col. Dean Owen is firmly rooted in two worlds. When on 30- to 60-day deployments with the Arizona Air National Guard, he flies KC-135 Stratotankers above trouble spots around the world — filling stations at 25,000 feet to refuel Air Force bombers, reconnaissance planes, and other aircraft. But when not on duty, he’s likely to be

Owen grew up in a farming and ranching

piloting a horse as he runs a small cattle

family in southeastern Arizona and knew

ranch and a feed lot in rural Yavapai

he wanted a career in agriculture from an

County, some 100 miles north of Phoenix.

early age. But his dad was among the

“It’s kind of funny,” Owen drawls. “When I’m flying everyone wants to ask me what it’s like being a cowboy. When I’m on the ranch, everyone wants to ask me what it’s like to fly.” One thing’s for certain: Col. Owen is on the ranch thanks in large part to Farm Credit, which actively seeks out qualified veterans to help them get started in farming, ranching, or agricultural-related fields.


SPOTLIGHT | Fall 2017

few family members who had chosen a non-farm career path, choosing to serve in the Air Force and then as a full-time member of the Air National Guard. So he knew he was going to have to figure out a way to acquire land and capital. He helped put himself through the University of Arizona by working on ranches and shoeing horses, and after graduating in 1997 with a degree in animal science, he worked as a cowboy

on various ranches and continued serving with the

Farmer Veteran Coalition, a nationwide nonprofit based

Air National Guard, which he had joined while in

in Davis, California that’s funded in part by Farm Credit.

high school. In 2000, he was offered a pilot position that would allow him to save more to eventually buy livestock. Six years later, after serving in the Middle East on active duty and then as a Guard reservist, he had enough set aside to lease nearly 13,000 acres,

“There’s a resoluteness about them, a willingness to stand up when they’re knocked down that ties in well with the ups and downs of farming. They’re drawn to the challenge.”

allowing him to raise 125 head of cattle. But of course, he needed financing, which most banks were reluctant to offer somebody just starting out. “I barely had enough money to buy my cows, and every time I visited a bank loan officer they wanted my first-born as collateral. I called my college professor and he said to come down to Phoenix and visit him and to bring all the documents I would bring into a bank interview,” he recalled. After reviewing Owen’s situation, the professor thought his business model penciled out and suggested they go to lunch with a friend of his, Frank Shelton, a former vice president with Farm Credit Services Southwest (now a subsidiary of Farm Credit West). “He looked at my portfolio, shook my hand and said he’d give me a line of credit and $40,000 to start…

Len Monaco is a Marine veteran and a retired

I love Farm Credit,” Owen said.

Farm Credit West Portfolio Manager who currently

In return, Farm Credit West loves veterans.

serves as the association’s veteran coordinator

The cooperative and several other farm-based organizations are working hard to connect returning veterans with agricultural careers, believing that

supervises a companywide mentor program and where he reaches out to veterans wherever he can. He says the financial institution has found veterans to be great employees.

He looked at my portfolio, shook my hand and said he’d give me a line of credit and $40,000 to start … I love Farm Credit. veterans’ skill sets blend seamlessly with the

“We’re always looking for qualified people, and we

demands of farming and ranching.

feel veterans, for the most part, exhibit the character

“We found from our own internal data over the years that once a veteran makes a decision about a career

and honor and integrity we want in our workforce,” Monaco said.

path, there’s a certain tenacity about sticking with it,”

He said in California it’s more difficult for a veteran to

said Michael O’Gorman, Executive Director for the

acquire the land needed to make farming or ranching Continued on next page

Farm Credit West | Fall 2017


It’s always a bonus if we can help someone who is a veteran and has served our country. work, unlike other parts of the country

to help people getting started to obtain

O’Gorman said he launched the program

where land and regulations are less

that capital.”

in 2008 after surveys showed that while

expensive. So part of the outreach effort is to encourage veterans to pursue careers in farm-related services, such as lending, chemicals, transport, and appraisals. Monaco visits colleges such as Chico State, Fresno State, and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to reach out to veterans, which he compares to finding needles in a haystack as there may be 200 veterans on a campus of 20,000 students. Farm Credit also offers scholarships for veterans and others to attend the Center for Land-Based Learning’s California Farm Academy, which trains young farmers and ranchers. Monaco also said the cooperative’s recruiters also look for veterans to hire. Doug Norton, a Farm Credit Services Southwest vice president who works with Owen, said the organization makes it a point to help younger, smaller operators.

“It’s always a bonus if we can help someone who is a veteran and has served our country.”

them get into agriculture. He said that was a glaring omission since so many people from rural areas join today’s all-

notes, has a number of programs

volunteer armed forces.

available to help finance a veteran’s transition to agriculture, including educational conferences and small grants

And he said linking veterans and farmers is a win-win for both.

averaging between $4,000 and $5,000 to

“For every veteran we’ve helped find

pay for such things as pregnant heifers,

purpose in a meaningful career and

drilling wells, and greenhouses. The $1.5

perhaps helped them overcome traumatic

million in grants made so far has been

experiences, we get a good person into

donated by a number of sponsoring

the agricultural industry, which is in dire

organizations, including Farm Credit and

need of new blood and talent,” he said.

the Newman’s Own Foundation. Another major sponsor, Kubota, donates four tractors each year that the Coalition can give away.

Like many professions, farming is rapidly aging as the baby boomer generation nears retirement. But unlike others, farming is often passed from generation

The organization is now ramping up a

to generation, and about half of all

membership program that links veterans

American farmers left their fields during

with vendors willing to offer discounts

the farm crisis of the 1980s.

and also holds career fairs and even has

out and make credit available to young,

a small 6-acre training farm in San Jose

beginning or small operators who have a

where four veterans are now learning the

desire to be in agriculture,” Norton said.

ropes. And it has created a Homegrown

“We understand that it takes upfront

by Heroes label that participants can put

capital to do that and we look for ways

on their packaging materials.

SPOTLIGHT | Fall 2017

help veterans, none were there to help

The Farmer Veteran Coalition, O’Gorman

“It’s one of our focus areas to reach


there were 40,000 groups organized to

“Farming is not usually something you decide to start in your 20s by saying to yourself, ‘I’m going to work twice as hard as everyone else and maybe I’ll make a little money and maybe I won’t.’ Typically, farms are handed down to the next

generation, but we can no longer rely

opened a feed lot where they custom-

home, I focus on ranching, the feed lot

on that,” he said.

feed up to 1,000 calves being weaned.

and my family.”

Owen agreed that agriculture needs to get more young people involved, but said financing is usually a problem if you’re not inheriting an existing operation. “The problem is that young people need to be financed. I’d give anything to be able to leave the military and do this full-time, but can’t do so yet. But if a guy goes into Farm Credit with some money

And while his children are still young – he and his wife, Jessica, have three girls ages 6 to 11 and an 18-month-old boy – he said the kids already love ranching so there’s hope a new generation will become ranchers as well.

contact them. For more information

working with me.”

the two worlds parallel each other in many ways, even though he is able to compartmentalize them.

work vaccinating calves one time. They’ve

“They both take the same skill set –

helped me work my way out of tough times

attention to detail, leadership, integrity,

and I know they’re on my side.”

and the feeling that the buck stops with

at 125 head of cattle, Owen recently

916-780-1166 and Len Monaco will

call 530-756-1395.

vs. being a cattle rancher, Owen says

Unable to obtain more land and capped

at HR@farmcreditwest.com or call

about the Farmer Veteran Coalition,

As for what it’s like flying a military jet

meet with you. I even put Doug Norton to

them to reach out to Farm Credit West

help already,” he said. “The kids love

you 100 percent,” he said.

earth. And they’ll drive out to your place to

interested in a career in agriculture, ask

“My older daughter in particular is a big

and a good business plan, they’ll back

“They know agriculture and they’re down to

If you know of a veteran who might be

you,” he said. “But when I’m on duty, I focus on flying and when I’m back

Farm Credit West | Fall 2017


Community Center

Passing the Gavel: Arizona FFA Annual Meeting In June, 2017, Farm Credit Services

invites a past state president to begin the

year’s kick off ceremony was particularly

Southwest Portfolio Manager, Mark

meeting by directing a ceremonial kick

meaningful as he passed the gavel to the

Brawley, attended the 2017 Arizona

off in place of the current state president.

current State President, his daughter,

FFA Annual Meeting and presented a

This year, Farm Credit West Director Colin

Makenna Mellon. This event was a surprise

scholarship to a deserving student.

Mellon (Arizona FFA State President in

to Makenna and there was more than a

Each year at this event, the Arizona FFA

1987) was asked to serve in this roll. This

few tears in the audience.

Congratulations to David Gill

Recipient of Western Grower’s 2017 Award of Honor David Gill will be presented with the 2017 Award of Honor during the Western Growers Association Annual Meeting in October of this year. Western Growers notes that Gill’s visionary leadership has played an integral role in the success of Rio Farms, Gills Onions, Growers Express, True Leaf Farms - Church Brothers Farms, American Farms, G&H Farms and Mission Ranches, growing the capacity of each company to bring fresh produce to the state, nation and world.

10 SPOTLIGHT | Fall 2017

Community Center Farm Credit West Sponsors the Epicurean Esprit Farm Credit West staff, in addition to members of the Yolo County community, joined together earlier this year at the “Epicurean Esprit – A taste of Yolo County’s Finest Wine and Cuisine” located near Woodland, CA. This prestigious wine and food tasting event, sponsored in part by Farm Credit West, is one of two major fundraisers sponsored by Friend of Meals on Wheels. Funds collected during this event ensure continued daily meal preparation and delivery to over 350 seniors in Yolo County. Unique to the Yolo County program, the Elderly Nutrition Program operates a full restaurant style kitchen to prepare fresh cooked meals daily. Volunteers from the community, including Woodland Portfolio Manager Chuck Moore, deliver noon time meals five days a week to the homebound elderly.

Farm Credit Washington D.C. Fly-In As part of our commitment to serve our member-owners, six Farm Credit West Board members and two Executive Staff traveled to Washington D.C. this summer to meet with Arizona and California lawmakers. This event was orchestrated through a larger “Farm Credit Fly-In,” coordinated by the National Farm Credit Council. As such, representatives from

California State FFA BBQ

Farm Credit associations across the nation were present to communicate the value the Farm Credit system brings to rural America

Earlier this year, Farm Credit West joined with Farm Supply, and J.B. Dewar

and specifically, young, beginning, and

to sponsor the annual BBQ at the California FFA State Finals at Cal Poly, San

small farmers. The highlight of the week

Luis Obispo. Approximately 28 Farm Credit West volunteers from several

was a reception hosted by Farm Credit at

branches (many of whom are FFA alumni) donned their Farm Credit West

the Great Hall of the Library of Congress

aprons and got to work trimming and slicing approximately 2,300 lbs. of Harris

for Legislators and their staff. Customer

Ranch Beef Tri-Tip and slicing, buttering, and toasting hundreds of loaves of

photos, stories, and products were

French bread. This was the 37th year Farm Credit hosted the FFA BBQ.

featured at this event.

Farm Credit West | Fall 2017


Tax Law Uncertainty Should Not Delay Succession Planning By Sil Reggiardo

President Trump promised and will pursue tax reform, but Congress must agree to any proposal. For the most part, a majority vote in both houses would allow tax reform for about a decade, and at least sixty Senate votes would be required for “permanent” tax reform. Getting even a majority vote in both

special use valuation rules may apply).

estate will not be subject to transfer taxes

houses could be a chore. Therefore, any

This leads to valuation discounts because,

due to the large exemption now in effect,

tax reform is likely to be temporary. Tax law

for example, a buyer would not pay 25%

discounts reduce tax basis without saving

uncertainty, however, should not prevent

of a property’s value or company’s value

transfer taxes – a bad result. Current

farming business succession planning as

for a 25% interest. That buyer would not

estate planning often focuses on the

part of overall estate planning.

have control of the property or company

interplay of valuation discounts and basis

Relevant Tax Law Changes and Overview

and could not easily market the interest.

adjustments (along with some income

Due to valuation discounting under rules

tax planning). It is more complicated than

that ignore whether family members own

ever and involves uncertain outcomes.

Federal gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer taxes may apply to farmers and others. (California has no such transfer

the entire property or entity, estates that would initially appear taxable are actually

President Trump wants to eliminate the “death tax” and change the basis

taxes.) There is one unified exemption for

below the exemption.

gift and estate taxes, and an identical one

Although these valuation discounts are

his plan are not clear.

generally good if they reduce transfer

Importance of Non-tax Planning

for generation-skipping transfers. Two decades ago, these exemptions were a mere $600,000 and the top tax rate was 55%. Today, the exemptions are $5,490,000 (rising with inflation) and the top tax rate is 40%. Spouses may now transfer their gift/estate tax exemption to each other. Interests in closely-held businesses and fractional interests in real estate are valued based on what an informed and motivated buyer would pay (although certain farm

12 SPOTLIGHT | Fall 2017

taxes, these days they can actually be bad. As property passes through estates, it generally receives a new market value income tax basis. This basis adjustment can, among other things, reduce or even eliminate taxable gains if the next generation sells. The valuation discounts have a dampening effect on market value and, therefore, this basis adjustment. If the

adjustment rules in estates. The details of

Farmers like other family business owners cannot simply stop succession planning as part of their estate plans because we have significant tax law uncertainty. Uncertainty about the laws and everything else will exist. In many ways, uncertainty creates a need for good planning. Tax laws are relevant but should not drive planning. Focus first on business and family issues. Run a mental movie regarding how


the farm or other business might stay within the family. Think about how family members might interact with each other and whether they

Holiday Schedule

are likely to stay in the business. Some may remain in (and even run) the business, while others might be a poor fit. Family members who do stay should be treated fairly (not necessarily equally) and in a manner that does not drive non-family key personnel away.

Labor Day

Consider limiting business ownership to those involved in operations

Monday, September 4, 2017

while allowing a broader family group to own the land and even equipment. Choosing appropriate ownership structures and having


proper agreements can be important. Centralizing ownership

Columbus Day

and decision-making in long-term trusts can promote long-term

Monday, October 9, 2017

family ownership.



Thanksgiving Day

Good succession planning requires a focus on estate planning

Thursday, November 23, 2017

and business planning, and in the family farm context it involves family members and real estate. It is complicated, and tax laws


are just one factor.

Christmas Day

Sil Reggiardo is a Partner in Downey Brand’s Sacramento office.

Monday, December 25, 2017

His practice focuses on estate planning, taxation and transactions. He can be reached at sreggiardo@downeybrand.com

2017 RENEWAL SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS Congratulations to all of our 2017 renewal scholarship recipients! These students continue to maintain academic excellence in an agricultural related major. Scholarship recipients are eligible to renew their scholarship for up to three years after their initial award. This year’s students renewing their scholarship will each receive $1,500 towards their education. Cameron Abatti Brawley, CA

Angelica Fernandes Tipton, CA

Markus Kasbergen Woodland, CA

Stephanie Pandol Delano, CA

Kavin Sihota Selma, CA

Remington Campbell* Brawley, CA

Eleanor Harlan Woodland, CA

Kaycee Larios* Holtville, CA

Matt Pandol III Delano, CA

Kelsey Swall Tulare, CA

Jason Couto Jr. Riverdale, CA

Foster Hengst Woodlake, CA

Alexandra Lavy Yuba City, CA

Sydney Parsley* Buckeye, AZ

Elizabeth Talley Arroyo Grande, CA

Joshua Cramer Lemoore, CA

Anna Hinrichs San Miguel, CA

Macy Lavy Biggs, CA

Olivia Rome El Paso, TX

Logan Taylor Yuba City, CA

Lauren Danna Yuba City, CA

Hattie Jameson Visalia, CA

Maggie Madden Paso Robles, CA

Harleen Sandhu Yuba City, CA

Caroline Van Ruiten Robbins, CA

Sarah Dreyer Exeter, CA

Cory Kasbergen Woodland, CA

Elena Montemagni Visalia, CA

Allison Schindler* Buckeye, AZ

*Recipient of FFA renewable scholarship

Farm Credit West | Fall 2017


From the Farmer’s Kitchen

Photo: Bottle Branding

California-Style Rajas

Found on page 110 of Our California Table: Celebrating the Seasons with the Talley Family By Brian Talley

Classic Mexican Rajas consist of strips of grilled poblano peppers sautéed with onions, herbs, and a little cream. They are so good and so common in Mexico that it’s surprising that they aren’t on more menus in Mexican restaurants in the United States. I was first introduced to them at a restaurant called La Super-Rica Taqueria in Santa Barbara, which Julia Child made famous when she declared it her favorite place in town. La Super-Rica’s version is made in the traditional manner and served atop a fresh corn tortilla. My version incorporates red and yellow bell peppers, which adds a nice bit of sweetness that plays off the bit of heat from the poblanos. This dish is versatile and can be served as a side dish or turned into a main course with the addition of shrimp or chicken. It’s also great with pasta.

SERVES 3 PREP TIME: 1 hour if roasting peppers, 30 minutes if peppers are already roasted and peeled

Add bay leaves and herbs. Deglaze with

2 poblano peppers

vegetables. The idea is to do this fairly

1 red bell pepper

white wine. Add broth and sour cream, and simmer until most of the liquid is gone and the remainder simply coats the quickly so the peppers don’t get too soft.

1 yellow bell pepper

Check seasoning, add salt as needed.

1 medium onion, sliced

To Roast Peppers

2 tablespoons olive oil 2 cloves garlic 2 bay leaves ½ teaspoon mixed dried herbs: marjoram, thyme ¼ cup white wine ¼ cup chicken broth 2 tablespoons sour cream Kosher salt, about ½ teaspoon Roast and peel peppers according to the directions below. Remove seeds

Sauté sliced onions in oil over mediumhigh heat until it begins to brown, about 7 minutes. Stir in garlic and pepper strips and cook an additional 2 minutes.

The Austrian variety of Gruner Veltliner is excellent with this dish and the vegetables in general. If you want something less obscure, try Reisling or Sauvignon Blanc.

Cut the peppers in half, and remove the entire stem and core. Flatten the halves. Toss the pepper halves in canola or olive oil to coat. Place them on a baking sheet and roast, skin-side up, at 350° F for 10 – 15 minutes, until the skin turns black. Or grill the pieces, skin-side down, until the skin turns black. Either way, watch them carefully, and remove from heat as soon as the skin is charred all over. Place the blackened peppers in a covered bowl — not a bag — and allow them to steam for at least 5 minutes. When they are cool enough to handle, the skins will slip right off. Reserve all the juices that comes out of the peppers and add it back into whatever recipe you’re using.

Brian Talley on the farm

For additional seasonal recipes, seek out Brian Talley’s book Our California Table: Celebrating the Seasons with the Talley Family, available on their website: www.talleyvineyards.com/Our-Wines/Cookbook.

Photo: Bottle Branding

and chop into strips about ¼ inch wide.

What to Drink

Why Mechanize?

Challenges Managing Field Labor By Kevin Layne, Vice President — Key Relationship Manager (Tulare)

As a grower or rancher, you are not a stranger to regulations and their impact on your business. Perhaps the most challenging set of regulations to manage are those relating to farm labor. Regardless of where your operation is

the U.S. Department of Labor verifies that

In addition to loans, Farm Credit West

located, you are subject to many layers

migrant worker regulations are being met,

also offers several leasing programs for

of regulation from local, state, and federal

as well as the Migrant Seasonal Protection

the same types of equipment. Our leasing

entities. To comply, growers must sift

Act (MSPA), I-9 inspections, joint liability,

program provides options with no down

through each of these layers frequently

and discrimination and retaliation claims.

payment, interim funding for large projects,

to determine the most conservative

All the above regulations are further

competitive pricing, flexible payment

regulation, particularly as they relate to

compounded during labor shortages.

terms, and choice of residuals. Leasing

labor wage and hours, safety, and hiring/ terminating employees. Typically, taking a conservative approach is the most successful path to avoid a violation.

To mitigate potential violations, you may be looking for an alternative to hiring field labor. The solution can often be found in mechanizing your field labor.

In California, the regulatory environment

By purchasing or leasing equipment,

can feel overwhelming. Adding to the

your up-front costs may be higher, but

complexity is the fact that these regulations

in the long-run, your money is usually

are dynamic, changing significantly every

well spent. Not only is mechanization

year. It is important to note that several

cost effective, but it also reduces the

new laws received wide spread publicity

risk of violation, and can greatly simplify

in early 2017. These include regulations

your operation and reduce headaches.

related to sanitation and field safety

Furthermore, you are reducing the risk

(enforced by Cal/OSHA). Specifically,

of labor shortages and creating

Cal/OSHA inspectors now include in

consistency in your end-product.

their review the following items when

How Farm Credit West Can Help

evaluating grower operations: incidents of valley fever, heat illness prevention, nitrates in groundwater, night lighting, and sexual harassment and abusive conduct trainings. Through the U.S. Department of Labor, regulators review grower operations to identify violations as they relate to payment of non-productive time, minimum wage increases, paid sick leave and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Furthermore, the California Department of Pesticide Regulations evaluates grower operations for new worker protection standards while

can be a great tool for tax planning.

At Farm Credit West, we offer a variety


of equipment financing options. We offer

• Bureau FELS and Ag Alert

loans for both new and used equipment

• CA Association of Winegrape Growers

such as tractors, trailers, implements, harvesting equipment, packing and processing equipment, cold storage equipment, winery equipment and facilities,

• Western Growers • A  gricultural Personnel Management Association (APMA)

systems, and solar systems. We offer

• F  arm Labor Contractor (FLC) 9-Hour Continuing Education Courses

competitive interest rates, both variable

• Leginfo.legislature.ca.gov

dairy equipment, above-ground irrigation

and fixed rates, with several different options including no pre-payment penalties.

• AgSafe

Farm Credit West | Fall 2017


Balancing the Passion and Economics of Farming By Dr. David M. Kohl

The agriculture industry is being transformed at an accelerated rate by global and domestic economics. Coupled with major megatrends such as consumer taste, demographic and generational shifts, technology, and a widening disconnect between farm and city, the landscape is definitely evolving. So, what is required of today’s producer to be successful? In short, the answer is balance. While facilitating a young farmer

recently celebrated the 50th anniversary

solutions and teamwork. Interestingly,

conference, I asked participants to

of the boys basketball team’s 104

each of these skills has a direct business

name some topics that they would

winning streak; a modern-day record.


consider industry opportunities, even

One teammate was critically injured on

if some may view the same topics as

the front lines in Vietnam and returned

industry challenges. The topics they

home. He served as an inspiration to all

listed included: the local fresh organic

the players during the streak.

movement; farm transitioning, whether

One of the keys to being a viable and sustainable agricultural business is balancing the passion and desire of farming with the logic of economics.

For the veteran group, we asked how

In other words, how does one translate

military experience and training could

passion into an actual and viable

be advantageous in operating a farm

business? That is where the logic of

business. Clearly energized by the

economics comes in. So, let’s examine

question, the responses included critical

the necessary elements of the economics.

This same session included a group

thinking skills, strategic planning and

of military veterans looking for ways to

execution, contingency planning, global


reconnect with agriculture and the land.

awareness, attention to detail, coping

This group struck me as special; in part

with adversity, strong work ethic, good

because alumni from my high school

communication, and the ability to develop

generational or retirement; multi-complex businesses; entrepreneurial endeavors inside and outside of agriculture; and a younger group that often multitasks.

16 SPOTLIGHT | Fall 2017

Before embarking on any business adventure, one should articulate one’s goals in writing. In other words, a working document that can be reviewed is

necessary. This process should include goals that are one to five years out, and separated by business, family and person. In order to maintain focus and balance in your goals use the S.M.A.R.T. principle (specific, measurable, attainable, reasonable and rewarding, and timely). This goal setting process establishes the mission and vision of the business.

Cash Flow The next step is a cash flow statement. This step exercises one’s critical thinking skills. In essence, the cash flow is simply an outline of your production plan and timetable with numbers. Specifically, use different


scenarios of price and cost. For example, conservatively estimate different levels (low, average, and high) of bushels per acre and price per bushel, or production and price per pound of meat or milk, to develop a cash flow for the farm. For the military, this is similar to contingency planning, or planning for the unknown.

Balance Sheet The development of a balance sheet, both business and personal, allows one to determine the net worth, examine debt levels, and identify the assets and resources available to generate earnings. Often, the processes of developing cash flow and the balance sheet require one to work side-by-side with a lender, spouse, partner, mentor or team of advisors. Financial documentation such as credit scores and reports for each type of business entity adds reality to the pursuit of dreams and goals.

Projected Income Statement Finally, a projected income statement can be a useful tool in monitoring results. One of the keys to a successful strategy is monitoring results because it reveals the tweaks needed along the way. This attention to detail in production, marketing, finance, and risk management increases the probability of long term success. Whether it is on the basketball court, in a military operation, or in business, long term sustainability requires a balance between one’s passion and the logic of economics. Undoubtedly, farming is a passion and those in the industry, either young or older, share a passion for producing. However, in a rapidly evolving industry, the economics must be present to turn passion into profit; and specifically, the elements of setting goals, projecting cash flow, and developing balance and income statements. The critical thinking and planning on the economic side of the scale balance the passion, but remember that neither passion nor economics are as strong without the other.

Farm Credit West has joined forces with DocuSign to develop an e-signature platform. What is DocuSign? DocuSign is an e-signature product that allows customers to view and sign documents electronically. No longer is there a need for paper, fax, shipping and re-keying errors. The DocuSign platform helps manage every aspect of every transaction from preparing and sending documents to signing and managing them. Using DocuSign, we can have faster turnaround times. And, you can rest assured that everything stays secure, legal, and visible, with a complete audit trail.

What are the benefits? • S AVE TIME FOR CUSTOMER Instead of emailing, faxing or others ways to present a paper document, you can have the information signed in a matter of minutes and not days. • PAPERLESS No more printing, finding an envelope, postage, locating a post box and waiting for your document to be returned to the office. • E ASIER FOR YOU DocuSign ensures the signing process between the lender and customer is seamless. It’s a great way to make things easier for both parties. • S AFE AND SECURE PROCESS Electronically signed and sealed documents are more secure than their paper counterparts because they tend to contain more information about who signed them, and they can be protected from unauthorized tampering.

DocuSign is expected to be released in late 2017.

17 Farm Credit West | Summer 2017


Protect your online accounts with smart password practices! By Michael Levin, CEO / Founder of the Center for Information Security Awareness Many businesses and websites enforce password requirements and best practices. If your workplace or website account does not have a password policy, use the following tips to help make stronger passwords: • Passwords should be at least eight characters in length and include both upper and lower case letters • Passwords should include a number • If possible, passwords should include special characters or symbols such as the dollar sign or percentage symbol. Every additional character you add to a password makes it more difficult for a hacker to guess or break your password. By using a mixture of letters, numbers and symbols, you make password discovery, whether by guessing or using password cracking tools, EVERY DAY IN THE NEWS we are reminded that cybercrime is on the rise. Recent global ransomware and phishing attacks indicate that security awareness training is now required for everyone. Think about how you secure your home at night. Many homeowners use three layers of security, including a standard lock plus a deadbolt and alarm system to feel safe. But what about securing your online accounts? Your passwords are like the locks on your home, and without strong passwords, your data and financial accounts are left wide open for any hacker. Passwords are the most valuable prizes to any hacker — it gives them opportunity to enter your accounts and spend as much time as needed to steal your data. That’s why it’s vitally important to develop strong password practices and to protect your password at all times. Not only do intruders exploit easy-to-guess passwords, they also try to take advantage of the ways many users fail to protect their passwords, such as: • Never changing a password • Not changing a password after being notified that a site was hacked • Using one password for everything • Using home and personal passwords at work • Sharing passwords with others • Sending passwords by email without encryption • Writing down a password and keeping it near the computer • Hiding a password in a desk drawer

more difficult. There are various password security recommendations to consider. Many security experts recommend avoiding the use of words that are found in a dictionary. One option would be to pick a word, replace one or more letters in the word with a number and add some special characters. You can also consider a pass phrase — a short phrase that is easy for you to remember, but would be almost impossible for an intruder to predict. Once you have such a phrase, you can easily create a complex but memorable password simply by using the first character or letter in each word of the phrase. For example, the sentence “I wish my brother Tom was here too!” could create a nine-character password — IwmbTwh2! — that contains uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. Just select the first letter or number in each word, and include a couple of uppercase letters. Michael Levin has a long and distinguished career in computer forensics and cybercrime investigations. He is the founder of the Center for Information Security Awareness (CFISA), an organization offering online and in-person security awareness training. To read more from Michael, log in to your myFCW account at FarmCreditWest.com, select My Industries and search the keyword “security”.

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

« Rocklin

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





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 | Fall 2017


3755 Atherton Road Rocklin, CA 95677

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FarmCreditWest.com 800.909.5050

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Profile for Farm Credit West

FCW Spotlight Fall 2017  

FCW Spotlight Fall 2017