Our magazine has a new name and design!
YO UNG , B E G I N N IN G FA RM ERS A M B E R A N D C H A D S H IPP ON TH EI R P E R RY COU N TY FA RM . SUMMER 2018
Enriching rural life.TM
On the Cover
The Rural Scene replaces Farming with Family & Friends. You’ll find the member stories and association news you’ve come to expect, along with a few new features that help convey how Farm Credit of Western Arkansas is Enriching rural life. ™
Amber and Chad Shipp on their Perry County farm. Page 6
In This Issue
5 Farm Credit of Western Arkansas is a customer-owned financial cooperative providing financing and related services to farmers, ranchers, rural homeowners, agribusinesses and timber producers in 41 western Arkansas counties. With a loan volume of $1.2 billion, Farm Credit of Western Arkansas is a member of the 102-year-old Farm Credit System, a nationwide network of borrower-owned lending institutions providing more than $217 billion in loans to rural America.
Director Scene 2018 Director Nominations
A word from Dr. Kohl
Patronage and member education
Commentary, wisdom & more from Dr. David Kohl
Arkansas ag highlights
National Farm Credit Scene
The Farm Credit System’s National Reach
Committed and connected to rural Arkansas
2018 Photo Contest
Learn more about our annual photo contest
Office Locations and Loan Officers
Arkadelphia 2858 Walnut (870) 246–8061 Rachael Godwin, David Smith
Greenbrier 89C N Broadview St. (501) 679–5464 Cecil Oursbourn
Ozark 1808 Farm Credit Dr. (479) 667–3855 Tom White
Benton 15227 1-30 South (501) 860–6391 Kevin Barham
Harrison 129 W Industrial Park Rd. (870) 741–2020 Brad Matlock, Dan Benton
Paris 3772 W Hwy 22 (479) 963–2841 Donna Cunningham
Bentonville 1080 SE 14th St., Suite A (479) 273–3311 Darla Larson, Dilynn Dodd
Hope 1722 E 3rd St. (870) 777–6704 Jerry Nance, Clay Lance
Prairie Grove 1181 E Heritage Pkwy (Hwy 62) (479) 400–6160 Daniel Keeton, Michael Ferguson
Clarksville 1007 Interstate Dr. (479) 754–2876 Anna Lester, Sherry Boen
Huntsville 14238 Hwy 412 (479) 738–6622 Misty Eastep
Russellville 2797 E Parkway (479) 968–5030 Jim Taylor, Anna Lester
Danville 302 E 5th St. (479) 495–2711 Lora Briggs
Magnolia 1703 Pittman St. (870) 234–8611 Shaun McKamie
Siloam Springs 4970 Hwy 412 East (479) 524–6754 Savannah Dickinson
De Queen 800 E Magnolia Ave. (870) 584–3113 Jordan Pearce
Mena 1607 Hwy 71 North (479) 394–1027 Rex Dollar
Texarkana 2305 Trinity Blvd. (870) 772–1882 Jonathan Shumate, Jennifer Hooper, Rustin Watson
Fort Smith 12907 Hwy 71 South (479) 434–4040 Andrea Leding, James Crabtree
Morrilton 1329 Hwy 9 (501) 354–2377 Hank DeSalvo
Glenwood 131 Hwy 70 East (870) 356–2023 Rachael Godwin
Nashville 302 W Bishop (870) 845–2221 Denise Sweat
Tontitown 1091 W Henri De Tonti Blvd. (479) 717–6740 Misty Eastep Waldron 502 Frankie Matthew Dr. (479) 637–2087 Rex Dollar
Board of Directors Chair Randy Arnold, Alma Vice Chair Chuck Davis, Jr, Ashdown
Letter from the CEO
Kenny Brixey, Casa Troy W. Buck, Alpine Steve Burke, Washington Scott Carter, Danville Bob Dixon, Havana Dusty Hampton, Russellville Kim Hogan, Ozark Ron Hubbard, London Bill Linton, Dover Kenny Martin, De Queen
Welcome to the fresh, new look of our member magazine – The Rural Scene. Thanks to Jill and Lindsey for their creativity and to Gaylynn Alvey, Financial Services Specialist in Russellville, for suggesting the new name! Like our former magazine, The Rural Scene will continue to be a great source of information regarding the rural western Arkansas lifestyle and our association – Arkansas’ leading ag lender.
Gene Pharr, Lincoln Mark Wilcox, Greenbrier L. Duane Wilson, Springdale
President and CEO Glen Manchester
About the Rural Scene The Rural Scene is produced for members and friends of Farm Credit of Western Arkansas. Address comments and story ideas to Editor, The Rural Scene Farm Credit of Western Arkansas 3115 W. 2nd Court • Russellville, AR 72801 Editor Jill Robertson Jill.Robertson@farmcredit.com Contributing Writer and Photographer Lindsey Triplett Lindsey.Triplett@farmcredit.com myaglender.com
Our 2017 Annual Report was mailed to owner/borrowers this spring. I’m proud to confirm that Farm Credit of Western Arkansas recorded strong earnings, customer growth, loan portfolio quality and a host of other accomplishments in 2017. My thanks goes to the entire team that makes success a regular occurrence for Western Arkansas. The fact is, for an almost $1.3 billion dollar financial institution to laser its efforts across rural western Arkansas, it takes many relationship efforts. First, my sincere thanks goes to every employee in our 41-county network. In the same breath, a wholehearted thank-you to owner/borrowers. Your referrals are making a huge difference! In fact, by telling others about Farm Credit, you can help us top 6,000 in membership by year-end. Behind the scenes, skilled collaboration provides fast, efficient, quality service. My thanks to each person who works to make our partnerships a win-win for all of us. Without a doubt, our success is based on people. Our dedicated board of directors, hard-working employees and committed members. These relationships, coupled with the year-end financial statement, tell the full story of Farm Credit of Western Arkansas’ success. God’s richest blessings,
Article quotes have been edited for content and appropriateness.
Glen Manchester President and CEO
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Find as at “Farm Credit of Western Arkansas” on Facebook, and @FarmCreditWEAR on Twitter and Instagram.
Member of the Cooperative Communicators Association. © 2018 Farm Credit of Western Arkansas. Farm Credit of Western Arkansas is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, marital status, amnesty, or status as a protected veteran in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws.
DIRE C TO R SC E N E
Letter from the Board Chair As Glen shared in his column, 2017 was another strong year for our financial cooperative. As members, we enjoyed a healthy share of Patronage Cash in February in celebration of the association’s 2017 business success. As members, we share in the profits because that’s one of the seven cooperative business principles Farm Credit adheres to. Democratic member control is another, equally important, cooperative business principle we follow. This means that, as members, we elect fellow members to serve as nominating committee members and directors. The nominating committee members we elect are responsible for slating qualified candidates for the director ballot the following year. As in any democracy, it is our responsibility to thoughtfully consider nominating committee and director nominees and to exercise our right to vote. In May, I challenge you to go a step further and contact a current Nominating Committee member (page 5) with the names of persons you believe would well represent member needs as either a future Nominating Committee member, or Director.
Online Banking & Mobile App Simplify your life by checking your account information and making payments anytime you want with our free online banking feature, or free mobile app. Sign-up for online access to your account information 24/7 at myaglender.com. Look for “online banking” and follow the simple sign-up instructions. OR, enjoy the freedom and ease of accessing your account information and making payments from your mobile phone with our Farm Credit of Western Arkansas APP. It’s available for both android and iPhone use, from the APP store. Call your branch office with any questions.
The seven cooperative principles are just one thing that sets Farm Credit apart from traditional lenders. As a part of the national Farm Credit System, we are also charged with supporting all types of agriculture. At Farm Credit of Western Arkansas we do this in a number of ways. We supply small loans to producers selling direct to consumers with our Fresh and Local loan program. We also support a number of nontraditional agriculture groups. Most recently, we have pledged our support to the newly– formed Arkansas Agritourism Association. We’ve offered both financial sponsorship and leadership to this new group as it explores how to best serve the growing agritourism industry across the state. Farm Credit’s commitment to all types of agriculture, as well as to the cooperative business principles that set us apart from traditional lenders, surely plays a role in our continued growth and success.
Randy Arnold Chair, Board of Directors
Siloam Springs ●
Nominate a qualified member for a director position.
● Tonitown Madison Washington
● Prarie Grove
Van Buren Pope
● Clarksville Conway
● Fort Smith
Morrilton ● Yell
Nominees must meet the following general requirements, as well as all other Farm Credit conditions: 1. Be a voting stockholder, at least 18 years of age, and a bona fide farmer (person owning agricultural land or engaged in the production of agricultural products, including aquatic products under controlled conditions) in the association’s 41-county western Arkansas territory. 2. Must have an active loan balance and acceptable credit classification rating.
Director Positions Open for Election
Nominations will be accepted through May 24, 2018. Please contact a Nominating Committee member with suggestions for nominees.
● Waldron Scott Saline Polk
● De Queen Sevier
You’re invited to contact a current Nominating Committee member if you would like to: • be considered as a director nominee • nominate a fellow stockholder for a director position, or • nominate a fellow stockholder for the Nominating Committee
As a financial cooperative, Farm Credit is owned by the members it serves. Members have the responsibility of nominating and electing fellow members to serve as directors. Directors meet ten times a year and work with management to guide strategic direction and general practices. Directors are compensated for their time and travel. The Nominating Committee is now accepting nominations for director positions that are up for re-election this year. Directors commit to a four-year term that begins once election results are final.
DIRE C TO R SC E N E
2018 Director Nominations
● Bentonville Benton
● Texarkana Columbia
2018 Nominating Committee Members AREA 1
William “Will” P. Lane • Benton Kevin Harmon • Benton
(918) 253–7344 (479) 220–2901
Justin “Taylor” Gattis • Franklin James A. Ford • Franklin
(479) 438–9009 (479) 667–4772
Gerald Strobel • Logan Casey T. Cotton • Logan
(479) 934–9217 (479) 518–1362
James W. Mann • Perry Jerry L. Hartwick • Faulkner
(501) 759–3119 (501) 472–6876
Linda Kitchens • Howard Randy W. Peck • Hempstead
(870) 583–6104 (870) 887–3635
Matthew M. Cobb • Little River Michelle K. Sawyer • Sevier
(870) 898–3536 (870) 784–8931
The current 15-member Farm Credit of Western Arkansas Board of Directors is comprised of a combination of twelve member-elected directors, one inside-appointed director, and two outside-appointed directors as dictated by association bylaws. Each director serves a four-year term. Our bylaws require at least 60% of directors to be elected by stockholders; FCA regulation requires a minimum of two non-stockholder directors.
M E M B E R SC E N E
A herd of their own Young, beginning farmers find success partnering with family Story & photos by Jill Robertson
Amber and Chad Shipp exchange knowing looks, smile and chuckle quietly when asked about the challenges they face as part-time farmers. It’s soon obvious that it’s not the challenges of farming but rather the phrase part-time farmer they find amusing.
Amber works as a Certified Veterinary Technician for Magie Vet Clinic several days a week and Chad has a full-time position with the Arkansas Highway Department. Their careers away from the farm categorize them, by definition, as part-time farmers in Farm Credit’s eyes. Obviously tickled, Amber points out that there’s nothing part-time about the responsibilities of herd care and farm work. “We have off-farm jobs, but we come home and easily put in another full day with the cattle,” she smiles. “We often WISH the cattle were part-time,” she jokes, affirming the feelings of part-time farmers everywhere. “We don’t know what free time is,” Chad adds with a grin.
The hard-working, easy-going couple married in 2014. They’re living a shared dream of building their own commercial cattle herd on the family farm and they purchased 40 head of cattle with their first Farm Credit loan last fall. They live on the farm owned by Amber’s parents Anthony and Rhonda Miller. The Millers have an Angus and commercial cross-breed beef cattle and hay operation in Perryville. Anthony is from Perry County and Rhonda grew up in nearby Ada Valley. They combined land from each of their families to create the 160-acre farm they operate today. Anthony and Rhonda are the third and fourth generations, respectfully, to farm their current acreage. The farm is very much a family affair and Anthony, Rhonda, Amber and Chad make it look easy. While Anthony has been primarily responsible for the farm work in the past, he’s delegating more of the work to Amber and Chad as he heals from a back issue. Amber and Chad are currently doing all of the cattle work. Rhonda is the local postmistress, and lends a helping hand with farm chores when she’s available.
Amber and Chad’s home is on the farm, not far from her parent’s house. The Millers and the Shipps have created an effective working arrangement that utilizes all their skills, maximizes farm efficiency, and allows both couples time away from the farm, when needed. “We all help one another. While our cattle are separate, we cover for each other when needed. It allows my parents freedom to be away from the farm from time to time, and vice versa. It’s really the best way to do it,” Amber concludes. Too busy in the summer with hay season, Chad and Amber often vacation during the winter months when it’s quieter on the farm. They have four horses and enjoy traveling across the country to trail ride. Sharing farm responsibilities with Amber’s parents gives Amber and Chad peace of mind, knowing their cattle are in good hands when they’re away. While Amber is Anthony and Rhonda’s only child, Amber is quick to explain she’s never felt pressured to continue the farming tradition. Instead, she emphasizes that she’s always wanted to live on the farm and raise cattle of her own.
“Farming is a passion for all four of us, or this wouldn’t work,” explains Amber.
M E M B E R SC E N E
“I was raised a farm kid,” Amber shares. “I had my share of chores growing up. I’d check cattle and watch cows for calving so it seems natural for me to stay on the farm. I’ve always had an interest in animals.” Amber’s interest in animal care lead her to earn a Vet Tech degree from Arkansas State University – Beebe. She’s assumed the responsibility for herd health. She works closely with her local large-animal veterinarian on the farm’s healthcare protocol and maintains an extensive vaccination schedule which she says has maximized profit for their family. “Our calves are healthy from the beginning. We keep most of our heifers for replacement cows, although we do have a reputation for good herd health and our calves are in high demand,” Amber shares. Chad came by his passion for livestock by spending time on his grandparent’s farm helping with beef and dairy cattle. Chad explains that machinery repair and welding most often fall to him. He takes the lead in cutting and baling hay, as well. “I’m also really good at simply doing what I’m told, which works pretty well,” Chad laughs.
“To check all of our cattle takes the entire day,” Amber explains. The family says that in their area, it’s nearly impossible to purchase adjoining land. They’ve had to purchase farm land that was available and build their business plan around the fact that they have to move between five separate farm locations. “Chad and I have a long-term goal of growing our herd, but available land is a real problem,” Amber explains. “Finding available, affordable land is definitely an obstacle for young people who want to start farming in this area.” So, is working with family always easy? The four are honest and admit there are times when issues arise. Not often, but it’s inevitable when you work closely together, every day. They appear to take it in stride and agree the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. “There are times when one of us may need a few moments away,” Chad again smiles. “No big deal, we’ve learned to simply take a time out and go sit on a bucket.”
Amber and Chad implemented the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture’s 300 Days of Grazing Program last fall. They work closely with their local county extension agent, Kevin Lawson, and planted winter wheat for cattle to feed on in winter as a part of the program. While dry conditions thwarted their plans for winter wheat, Kevin says he is still gathering valuable data from the records they keep regarding the supplemental feeding they’ve done, instead. “We embraced the program and will try it again,” Amber says. “Having the extension agent out here consulting with us regularly has been a real benefit and we’re learning a lot. We’re the only ones doing the program in Perry County right now.”
The family says having their acreage spread between five locations creates their biggest challenge. In essence, they have five separate farms. To be efficient, they keep a tractor at each site. Chad says growing hay at each location increases efficiency because it eliminates transportation time.”
“Sorry for what I said when we were working cattle.” Amber says this t-shirt aptly captures what it’s like working with family on the farm.
“When we were starting out in the early 1980s, we went to Farm Credit for our first loan,” Anthony shares. “We borrowed money to buy our first 12 heifers,” Rhonda adds. “I still remember how Farm Credit made us feel,” Anthony continues. “Our loan officer put us at ease and said he wouldn’t let us sink. Those were his exact words; that he wouldn’t let us sink.”
“Farm Credit is committed to young, beginning farmers,” Hank continues. “We’re able to relax some of our normal loan requirements to help people just getting started.” “Actually, I’d say the best part of my job is helping young people realize their farming dreams,” Hank confides.
M E M B E R SC E N E
Farm Credit’s Role
“I think it’s tougher today than it used to be. Land prices and availability and start-up costs can be challenging.”
“That was huge. We were young and borrowing what felt like a lot of money. Knowing Farm Credit believed in us, and was there for us, made all the difference,” Anthony remembers. The Millers continue to do business with Farm Credit of Western Arkansas’ Morrilton branch office. Vice President and branch manager Hank DeSalvo is their loan officer. Hank has also become Amber and Chad’s loan officer.
Anthony and Rhonda Miller discuss the role Farm Credit has played in their farming success with long-time loan officer Hank DeSalvo, vice president and branch manager of the Morrilton branch office.
“Hank’s been great to work with,” says Amber. “I simply called him. Since he was familiar with mom and dad’s operation and our farm, our loan request was pretty simple.” “Chad and I didn’t know what to expect, but Hank made it easy and took care of everything,” she adds. “Chad and I may be new customers, but I feel like I know Farm Credit. Growing up on the farm, with my parents working with Farm Credit, it was an easy choice for Chad and me,” Amber continues. “I had the opportunity to see Amber involved on the farm when she was growing up,” Hank shares. “It’s fun to be able to support her and Chad as they get started in farming.”
Amber says her greatest joy in farming is being able to farm with family. “It’s something we all enjoy,” she says. “Spending time together and working together to make the farm better every day is pretty special.” “Dad has always said, ‘Find something you enjoy doing and you’ll never work another day in your life.’,” Amber explains.
“That sums it up for me. I love working on the farm and love that I get to do it with my husband and parents. It doesn’t feel like work, at all.” 9
C O O P E RAT IVE SC E N E
7 Cooperative Principles Voluntary Membership Democratic Member Control Members’ Economic Participation Autonomy and Independence Education, Training, and Information Cooperation Among Cooperatives Concern for Community
Members’ Economic Participation Members contribute equally to, and democratically control, the capital of the cooperative. This benefits members in proportion to the business they conduct with the cooperative rather than on the capital invested.
Patronage Cash 5,800 Farm Credit of Western Arkansas members shared $8.8 million in Patronage Cash this spring. Members share in the profits when our association has a strong capital position and earnings. It’s the cooperative way of doing business. Patronage is determined at year end and Patronage Cash for 2017 earnings was distributed in February. Each members’ share correlates with the amount of business they do with the cooperative and amount of interest paid the previous year. Our association has a proud history of Patronage Cash with more than $110 million back in members’ hands since 1997. We hosted Patronage Open House events across the association to celebrate this valuable and unique member benefit. It’s our favorite time of year – there’s nothing better than handing our members their share of the profits!
Paul Bennett, Joyce Ridenour, Andrea Leding, Suzanne Scowden and James Crabtree of the Fort Smith branch office prepare to welcome members to their Patronage Open House.
Jerry Nance of the Hope branch office (right) presents member Maria Contreras-Munoz and her daughter Lorena with their patronage check at the Hope Open House event.
We’re committed to providing educational opportunities for our members. We were proud to host the second statewide Arkansas Farm Credit Young and Beginning Farmers Conference in February, in conjunction with AgHeritage Farm Credit Services and Farm Credit Midsouth.
Voluntary Membership Democratic Member Control Members’ Economic Participation Autonomy and Independence Education, Training, and Information Cooperation Among Cooperatives Concern for Community
C O O P E RAT IVE SC E N E
2018 Future Legacy Young and Beginning Farmers Conference
7 Cooperative Principles
Education, Training, and Information Cooperatives provide education
The 2018 conference was held in North Little Rock with 42 participants from across the state. During the event, attendees had the opportunity to network with other producers as they discussed creating goals for their farms, the future of agriculture and how to ensure success on their own operations. Keynote speaker for the conference was Dr. David Kohl, a leading ag economist, entertaining speaker and author. “As a presenter, I wanted to go up 50,000 feet and look at some of the global events and mega-trends that are impacting the agriculture industry,” Dr. Kohl said. “And then, in a nutshell, I tried to bring it down to their individual businesses and look at some of the best management practices farmers and ranchers can proactively do as they move forward in their operations.” Dr. Kohl encouraged the young and beginning producers at the conference to find ways to stand out among competition and reach for success by covering topics such as goal setting, family planning and the outlook for the future of agriculture. If you’re interested in attending our Young and Beginning Farmer Conference in 2020, please contact your local loan officer or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
and training for members, elected representatives, managers and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperative. Members also inform the general public about the nature and benefits of cooperatives.
Commentary, wisdom, and perspectives from globally renowned agricultural economist, Dr. David M. Kohl.
Beneficial Practices in Today’s Economic Environment At a recent conference, one producer asked what business practices would be most beneficial in today’s economic environment. While he may have been looking for something more earth-shattering, I responded focusing on the basics is critical during any part of the economic cycle. The needs of each business are different, so let’s take a look at some of the basic, fundamental business practices that rank high in priority in the current cycle.
IDENTIFY SPECIFIC AREAS TO FOCUS ON The first and foremost basic practice is an assessment of each major stakeholder in the business. This involves one and five year goals for the family, business, and personal life. In tough economic times, this often requires some introspection or soul searching to define success. Recently, a number of farm managers indicated this process helped them scale back their operations and concentrate focus on their most profitable areas. In turn, this shift resulted in an improved balance between business and lifestyle endeavors.
In addition to personal introspection, the process of setting goals provides for crucial conversations with others to determine which interests are aligned or divergent. The basic practice of goal setting provides focus and structure in a world where information overload can become counterproductive to the business strategy. Without goals, one can easily be taken for a ride on a financial and emotional roller coaster.
CREATE A PROJECTED CASH FLOW Next, planning and monitoring are critical in this economic environment. The basic practice of projected cash flow can be a big step forward. Actually, cash flow planning is up to 80 percent of an overall business plan for most operations. This process requires one to think critically through production, schedules, cost, marketing, financials, as well as a system to execute the plan. One of the keys of cash flow planning is to periodically compare the actual outcomes with the projections and identify variations. Determine if the variations were due to macro or microeconomic factors, or both. For example, one dairy producer recently indicated he evaluates cash flow every two weeks or upon collection of revenue. This approach allows him to tweak his business plan as production and prices change. START SCENARIO PLANNING AS AN ALTERNATIVE For those claiming levels of uncertainty are too high to allow for cash flow planning, the answer is scenario planning by identifying key production, price, and cost adjustments that will impact the bottom line
and test them at various levels. In a recent seminar, a former Marine – now a beginning producer – shared scenario planning was one of his most valuable tools in the Marine Corps and remains so in his agricultural business. He said, “If it is good enough for the Marines, it is a good practice for any farm.”
his self-worth. Leaning on his spouse, lender, and community, today this producer runs a successful business even in the midst of another economic reset. Because of his experience, this producer calls himself a “guide dog,” making time to lend advice to young producers who are navigating the tough terrain.
BUDGET FAMILY LIVING EXPENSES Another necessary component to weathering this economic cycle is a family living budget. The link between personal finances and business success has become increasingly apparent. In addition to limiting how much, many businesses face the challenge of limiting how many. As family businesses become larger and more complex, there are often multiple generations or siblings included in business operations. In other words, the number of parties or people drawing from the business also needs to be included in the budget.
IMPLEMENT BASICS BEST SUITED FOR YOUR BUSINESS To answer the producer’s question regarding beneficial practices – use the basics. An important part of weathering today’s economic environment is to know the reality of one’s own situation. Some producers may need to develop family budget or cash flow scenarios, while others might incorporate more exercise or the positive counsel of advisors into their routine. Regardless, for those implementing the basics to weather today’s economics, the benefits will last well beyond the current cycle.
PRACTICE PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL SELF-CARE Finally, take time to invest in yourself. Especially in stressful times, exercise and healthy eating can be critical to maintain energy and focus. In addition, a supportive advisory team, a network of positive people, or an experienced mentor can be the mental lift needed to maintain vision in an environment that often appears to be clouded with negativity. One producer shared his story of buying high-priced land just prior to the farm crisis in the 1980s. Of course, he watched the economic environment collapse around him, but never once did he equate his net worth with
Dr. David Kohl is Professor Emeritus, Agricultural and Applied Economics and member of the Academic Hall of Fame, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA. He is considered an expert in the field of agriculture economics and provides training for Farm Credit members and employees across the country. A visionary leader, he is chancellor of Farm Credit University. He is also a business coach and part owner of Homestead Creamery, a value-added dairy business in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
AG SC E N E
Arkansas Ag Facts
Agriculture is the
industry in Arkansas.
Arkansas ranks in the top 25 in the nation for the production of more than 15 different agricultural commodities.
out of every
6 jobs in Arkansas is related to agriculture.
All of Arkansasâ€™
75 counties produces some sort of crop, livestock, or timber.
in the nation with
$8 billion in total cash receipts from agriculture.
farmers & ranchers contribute more than
$21 billion to our economy on 43,000 farms that cover 14 million acres.
Arkansas is among the
Arkansas grows more rice than any other state.
farmers rank among the top 10 for broilers, soybeans, cattle, eggs, turkeys, corn, and hogs.
top 25 states for acres
harvested in specialty crops such as blackberries, dewberries, peas, okra, and turnips.
PEACE OF MIND during the storm
Easy, low interest storm shelter loans are available to eligible borrowers* Purchase and installation of professionally manufactured storm shelters Up to $7,500 per storm shelter | 3, 5 and 7-year loan options Low, fixed rates | Quick credit approval *Eligible borrows reside on farms or in homes in the country in one of the 41 counties served by Farm Credit of Western Arkansas.
2 01 8 R E F E R R A L PR OG R AM
Thank you for spreading the word about Farm Credit! Our members are the best advertising tool we have. Potential new members are quick to trust a friend or family member who shares their own, personal Farm Credit story. Personal referrals are much more effective than magazine, radio or TV ads. You probably know people who are a lot like you. People who would appreciate the benefits Farm Credit can offer. Refer as many people as you like! We’re happy to give you a gift for each person who closes a new loan.
How It Works
Friendly, local service
Long-term, fixed interest rates, and flexible terms
Financing homes on any size acreage in the country (loans stay with Farm Credit).
Special discounts for military veterans, young/beginning farmers and even small producers selling direct to consumers.
Patronage Cash. Members share in the profits when the association has a good year.
Employees who understand agriculture and are involved in your local community.
1. Encourage a friend to talk to Farm Credit about their financing needs. 2. When they close a loan with us, we ask who referred them. 3. We will invite you to visit and pick a gift from the options below.
Cast Iron Skillet
There are more than 60 separate, independently owned and operated Farm Credit associations across the U.S. Each association carries out the national mission of providing reliable and dependable credit in their territories. The Farm Credit Council is the Farm Credit System’s trade association, ensuring Farm Credit has a national voice. Farm Credit of Western Arkansas is a part of the Farm Credit System. Farm Credit strongly supports programs tailored to the unique needs of rural America, especially programs that attract more private investment in rural infrastructure. The Farm Credit Council is taking action to support and strengthen rural communities and agriculture in Arkansas and across the nation.
Supporting a Strong Farm Bill Farm Credit supports passage of a strong Farm Bill in 2018. Declines in commodity prices in the past several years are pushing down farm income and many farm families are making adjustments to their operations. For the most part, farmers entered this lower price cycle with healthy balance sheets but the long period of low prices is taking a toll. Farm families need a Farm Bill that provides a safety net for their operations to help them make it through this cycle. We encourage Congress to pass a strong Farm Bill at the earliest opportunity. Farm Credit’s priorities for the Farm Bill include: • boosting investment in rural infrastructure • strengthening the federal crop insurance program • expanding the Farm Service Agency guaranteed loan program
Rural Infrastructure Farm Credit organized the Rebuild Rural Coalition of more than 200 farm and rural groups to advocate for the unique infrastructure needs of rural communities and agriculture. USDA’s rural infrastructure programs remain critical to providing clean water to rural families, modern telecommunications to rural communities and reliable energy to rural homes and businesses. In addition, USDA’s Community Facilities program is strengthening rural communities by helping to build and modernize critical access hospitals, senior care facilities, schools and more. #RebuildRural
Farm Service Agency (FSA) Loan Programs The Farm Credit System is committed to supporting our customer-owners during the current low price cycle. We remain financially strong and are using that strength to ensure a stable flow of credit to farm and ranch families. FSA guaranteed loans are a critical tool as Farm Credit institutions work with their customers, especially young and beginning producers. Unfortunately, loan size limitations on FSA guarantees no longer adequately meet the needs of many producers. As land, crop input and facility costs have increased during the past decade, FSA loan limits have not kept pace. Farm Credit supports the continuation of the FSA-guaranteed and direct loan programs and increasing the volume of loans available. We also support increasing the loan size limits for FSA-guaranteed loans.
Congress created the crop insurance system through the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) to promote the economic stability of agriculture. A successful public-private partnership, crop insurance is federally regulated and delivered by the private sector to help farmers maintain the country’s safe, affordable food supply. Given the trend in recent years of lower prices for commodities and declining farmer net income, it is critical for policy makers to maintain a strong farm safety net that includes affordable crop insurance. Participation by producers of all types – small and large – is vital to the safety and actuarial soundness of the crop insurance program. Impairments to the program, such as shrinking the risk pool, could make crop insurance unavailable, or unaffordable, to producers. Farm Credit believes crop insurance must provide more coverage options for specialty crops while continuing to serve its traditional commodity constituencies. Without the risk protections provided by crop insurance, agricultural lenders would be forced to tighten underwriting standards. The consequence of tighter credit would make it more difficult for farmers to plant crops and replace capital assets. Economic growth would slow and rural communities would suffer.
N AT IO N AL FARM C RE DIT SC E N E
The Farm Credit System’s National Reach
The Farm Credit Council is the national trade association representing Farm Credit System institutions before Congress, the Executive Branch, and others. The Farm Credit Council provides the mechanism for member grassroots involvement in the development of System positions and policies with respect to federal legislation and government actions that impact the System.
C O M M U N IT Y SC E N E
2017 School Garden Contest Winners
Farm Credit of Western Arkansas, AgHeritage Farm Credit Services and Farm Credit Midsouth partner with the Arkansas Agriculture Department to sponsor an annual statewide Arkansas Grown School Garden Contest. The contest promotes the importance of involving students in cultivating fresh food and understanding the growing process. The Arkansas Agriculture Department administers the program and a panel of experts selects winners. Farm Credit provided the $3,000 in prize money. All Arkansas schools are eligible. Information about the 2018 school garden contest can be found at www.aad. arkansas.gov/aad-programs.
$1,000 – Overall Winner Mayflower Elementary School (Mayflower, AR) Vice President Cecil Oursbourn of Farm Credit’s Greenbrier branch office toured the Mayflower Elementary School garden with sponsors Brooke Lasey and Lynn Raney and Principal Candie Watts.
$1,995 Donations to Arkansas FFA & 4-H Farm Credit of Western Arkansas members earned $1,995, both, for the Arkansas FFA Foundation and Arkansas 4-H Foundation by simply completing a valid stockholder’s voting ballot in our fall director election.
$500 – Best Nutrition Education Program King Elementary (Van Buren, AR) Garden coordinator for King and Tate Elementary Schools, Mary Stoneking, with Vice President Andrea Leding of Farm Credit’s Fort Smith branch office.
$500 – Best Community Involvement Program James R. Tate Elementary (Van Buren, AR) Farm Credit Assistant Vice President James Crabtree of Fort Smith visited with Tate Elementary students in their winning garden.
Paris FFA Day Employees from Fort Smith, Mena, Paris and Russellville joined together to cook for over 1,400 Arkansas FFA members during their Career Development Events Field Day in Logan County.
$500 – Best Environmental Education Sheridan Intermediate School (Sheridan, AR) Vice President Rachael Godwin of Farm Credit’s Arkadelphia branch office toured the Sheridan Intermediate School garden with students.
$500 – Best Start-Up Garden
Clarendon High School (Clarendon, AR)
Pictured left to right: Jim Taylor, Josh Jones, Lindsey Triplett, James Crabtree, Rex Dollar, Donna Cunningham, Paul Bennett and Andrea Leding.
Farm Credit of Western Arkansas, AgHeritage Farm Credit Services, and Farm Credit Midsouth partnered with the Arkansas Agriculture Department to sponsor a statewide grant program that provides farmers markets from across the state with funds to promote their markets. The Agriculture Department administers the program and Farm Credit provided $8,000 in grant money. 20 farmers markets each received a $400 grant to help fund permanent signage, advertising and publicity.
2018 Farmers Market Grant Winners
C O M M U N IT Y SC E N E
2018 Farmers Market Promotion Grant Program
Fishtown Farmer’s Market Lonoke, AR
Arkansas Women in Ag The Farm Credit associations in Arkansas are proud to be a major sponsor of the annual Arkansas Women in Agriculture Conference. In March, nine of our employees attended the conference in Little Rock, which gives participants a chance to network with other women in agriculture and learn more about hot ag topics, resources for their farm, issues in production agriculture and today’s family concerns. To learn more about the Arkansas Women in Agriculture organization, visit arwomeninag.org.
Paragould Farmers Market Paragould, AR Hot Springs Village Green Market Hot Springs Village, AR Green Acres Locally Grown Atkins, AR Hot Spring County Farmers Market Malvern, AR Gateway Farmers Market Texarkana, AR Main Street Dumas Farmers’ Market Dumas, AR Alma Farmers Market Alma, AR Tri County Market Booneville, AR
Pictured left to right: Lindsey Triplett, Jill Robertson, Chantel McClung, Anna Lester, Becky Bedell, Emily Russell, Gaylynn Alvey, Breana Brewer and Donna Cunningham
Arkansas Local Food Network Little Rock, AR Harrison Farmer’s Market Harrison, AR
River Valley Beef Cattle Conference
Booneville Farmers Market Booneville, AR
We enjoyed joining more than 125 attendees at the 2018 River Valley Beef Cattle Conference in Russellville during February. The event focused on topics important to beef producers such as disease prevention, working facilities, nutrition, weed control and more. We helped wrap up the end of the conference with a steak dinner cooked by some of our crew!
ASU Regional Farmers Market Jonesboro, AR Dardanelle Farmers Market Dardanelle, AR St. Joseph Farm Stand North Little Rock, AR Conway Arkansas Farmer’s Market Conway, AR Fayetteville Farmers’ Market Fayetteville, AR
Pictured left to right: (front) Donna Cunningham, Jim Taylor, Lindsey Triplett, Anna Lester (back) Hank DeSalvo and Lora Briggs
Perry County Farmers Market Perryville, AR Downtown Newport Farmers Market Newport, AR Fort Smith Farmers Market Ft. Smith, AR
W E ST E RN SC E N E
CARLA PETTUS assumed the duties of Accounts Payable Specialist in the Russellville Central Office on January 2. Originally from Dardanelle, she is a long-time Russellville resident and brings experience from her position in the accounts payable department of St. Mary’s Hospital. Carla has two adult children, Brittany and Dillion, and enjoys hiking and reading.
New Responsibilities DENISE SWEAT, Vice President and Branch Manager of the Nashville branch office is now Regional Branch Manager for the Nashville, Glenwood and Arkadelphia offices. Denise has been with Farm Credit for 19 years. ANDREA LEDING began her Farm Credit career as a loan officer in 2001. She has been Vice President and Branch Manager of the Fort Smith branch and is now Regional Branch Manager of the Fort Smith, Mena and Waldron offices. JIM TAYLOR of Russellville came to Farm Credit in 2012 as Vice President and Branch Manager of the Russellville office. He is now Regional Branch Manager for Russellville, Clarksville and Morrilton.
PAUL BENNETT joined Farm Credit on January 2. He is a Regional Field Services Officer in the Fort Smith office. Paul earned a BS in ag business from Arkansas Tech University in 2017. Paul is from Roseville and his hobbies include hunting and fishing.
Loan Officer RUSTIN WATSON joined the Texarkana branch office in November. Rustin, wife Megan and their children Lily (age 5) and Brooks (age 2) moved to Texarkana from New Boston, TX. He brings 11 years of experience as a loan officer for Lone Star AgCredit.
KEVIN BARHAM of the Benton office is now Regional Branch Manager of the Benton and Greenbrier offices. Kevin has been a loan officer and branch manager in Benton for four years.
MICHELE BEACH assumed her duties as Loan Documentation Specialist in the Paris branch office in mid-March. Michele recently moved to Booneville, AR from Imperial Valley, California where she worked as a Senior Credit Support Specialist with Farm Credit West for 10 years. Michele’s three grown children and four grandchildren brought her and her husband back to Arkansas.
A number of employees assumed new, additional responsibilities on February 1. LORA BRIGGS joined Farm Credit in 2015 as Vice President and Branch Manager of the Danville office. She is now Regional Branch Manager for Danville, Paris and Ozark.
DANIEL KEETON joined Farm Credit in 2013 as Associate Vice President and loan officer in Fayetteville. He has been named Vice President and Branch Manager of the Prairie Grove office.
JONATHAN SCHUMATE has been with Farm Credit for three years and has served as Vice President and branch manager of the Texarkana office. He is now Regional Branch Manager for the Texarkana and De Queen offices.
ANNA LESTER began her Farm Credit career six years ago. She has been named Vice President and Branch Manager of the Clarksville branch office.
JERRY NANCE has a 34-year Farm Credit career and served as Vice President and branch manager in Hope for many years. He has been named Regional Branch Manager of the Hope and Magnolia branch offices. JAMES CRABTREE is now Vice President and Branch Manager of the Fort Smith branch office. He’s been with Farm Credit for five years.
PERRY MCCOURT, a 36-year Farm Credit of Western Arkansas veteran, is now Senior Vice President of Operations for the association. His office is in Fort Smith.
After almost 37 years of Farm Credit service, RANDY COULSON retired at the end of 2017. As Regional Vice President for several years, he managed branch offices across southwest Arkansas and was often on the road mentoring new loan officers, cooking for community and member events and managing a loan portfolio of special customers. He began his Farm Credit career as a loan officer and worked in the Texarkana branch. Retirement has him enjoying his family and catching up on his favorite hobbies. While Randy is missed, we wish him the best in retirement!
W E ST E RN SC E N E
Clarksville Grand Opening Early February marked the grand opening of our newly-constructed Clarksville branch office located at 1007 Interstate Drive, just off of I-40 exit 57. Vice President and Branch Manager Anna Lester and AgriConsumer Loan Specialist Sherry Boen are experienced lenders familiar with Johnson County and borrowers’ financing needs. The new office gives Farm Credit a full-time presence in the increasingly busy Johnson County ag financing market. Anna has grown Farm Credit’s business in Johnson County over the past several years and we’re excited to open a permanent office for the convenience of Johnson County members. Anna has six years of Farm Credit lending experience. Sherry is new to Farm Credit, but is a life-long Johnson County resident and has 36 years of commercial banking experience.
Arkansas Century Farm Program There are 376 Century Farms across 27 Arkansas counties. Vice President and Regional Branch Manager Jim Taylor’s family farm is one of them. Jim is the fifth generation to live on the farm and he and his father operate it, together. The Taylor farm has been a prominent part of the Center Valley area of Pope County for 132 years. For Arkansas Century Farm Program details, contact the Arkansas Agriculture Department at 501-225-1598 or www.aad.arkansas.gov/arkansas-century-farm-program.
2018 Photo Contest
Break out your camera and send us your favorite photos of rural western Arkansas! Itâ€™s time for our annual photography contest. Send us your best photos by Monday, October 1. The contest is open to both Farm Credit members and non-members in our 41-county Western Arkansas territory. There are two divisions: Adult and Youth (up to 18). Cash Prizes 1st Place $300 2nd Place $200 3rd Place $100
Photo by 2017 Winner Cynthia Reid
Find entry forms and complete details at myaglender.com. Landscape (horizontal) photos preferred for use in our 2019 calendar.
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This Memorial Day – and every day – Farm Credit salutes service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.
Farm Credit of Western Arkansas' Summer 2018 edition of The Rural Scene member magazine. Our member magazine "Farming with Family & Friends...
Published on May 17, 2018
Farm Credit of Western Arkansas' Summer 2018 edition of The Rural Scene member magazine. Our member magazine "Farming with Family & Friends...