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HeartBeat fall 2011

Agriculture’s future. A look inside the lives of

Three young, beginning farmers.


Board of Directors — FCS Financial ACA James Nivens, LaRussell, Chairman

Dan Devlin, Edina

Brian J. Peterson, Trenton, Vice Chairman

Maurice Glosemeyer, Marthasville

Kenneth Bergmann, Walnut Grove

Daniel Hulse, Hannibal

Bruce Bjornson, Oro Valley, Ariz., Appointed

David Meneely, Chillicothe, Appointed

Michael L. Bruce, Nevada

Mark S. Pierce, DeKalb

Michael L. Cook, Columbia, Appointed

Gene H. Rademacher, Bland

James Davis, West Plains

Rick Rehmeier, Augusta

Mark DeShon, Clarksdale

Office Locations Bolivar 417-326-4016 1-866-326-4016 Cameron 816-632-7265 1-800-225-6949 Carthage 417-358-0808 1-866-358-0808 Chillicothe 660-646-5044 1-800-264-3276 Clinton 660-885-8164 1-866-885-8164 Columbia 573-449-5910 1-800-241-5910 Farmington 573-756-5747 1-800-276-8120 Hannibal 573-221-0273 1-800-798-0273 Harrisonville 816-884-3061 1-800-517-3348 Higginsville 660-584-7181 1-866-584-7181 Jefferson City 573-636-7131 1-800-292-7131 Kirksville 660-665-6243 1-800-530-5512 Lebanon 417-588-5828 1-866-588-5828 Marshall 660-886-6897 1-800-228-6897

Maryville 660-582-6464 1-800-813-5722 Memphis 660-465-8984 1-800-407-8984 Mexico 573-581-3192 1-800-314-3192 Mt. Vernon 417-466-7101 1-866-466-7101 Neosho 417-451-6084 1-866-451-6084 Nevada 417-667-8206 1-888-667-9681 O’Fallon 636-327-1787 1-800-379-3276 St. Joseph 816-279-2118 1-866-279-2118 Sedalia 660-827-5810 1-800-310-5810 Shelbina 573-588-2156 1-800-432-2156 Springfield 417-862-4158 1-866-862-4158 Union 636-583-5400 1-800-583-5480 West Plains 417-256-2298 1-866-256-2298

Publication Information CEO: Daryl Oldvader Editor: Amy Wieberg, amy.wieberg@myfcsfinancial.com HeartBeat is published three times a year by FCS Financial. Please address any comments to FCS Financial, Attn: HeartBeat Editor, 1934 E. Miller St., Jefferson City, MO 65101. For more information about FCS Financial or to access your account online, visit myfcsfinancial.com

Member Cooperative Communicators Association

2

HEARTBEAT | FALL 2011

Printed with farmer-grown soybean ink on recycled paper.

Young, beginning, small farmer’s like Jo Cooper farms part time while he’s also p

Cover: Learn how Josh and Kayla Gwen a business with part-time farming.


table of contents 4

Daryl’s Desk

5

Youth in Ag

6

Member Feature

12

Dollars & Cents

14

Life is Simple

15

Risk Management

16

News Briefs

23

Nivens’ Notes

onathan Cooper are a critical element to America’s food supply. part-owner of two agribusinesses in Livingston County.

nnap, along with daughters Kendall and Carlee, balance owning

• • • • • • •

Major League Campaign New FCS Offices Holiday Hours Website Revealed Buying Equipment? FFA Opportunities Farmers help us plan

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daryl’s desk Daryl Oldvader, CEO

Greetings – Last December as I was traveling to one of many farm meetings, I took the opportunity (as I often do when traveling alone) to listen to some opinion advocates on a nationally syndicated radio program. While I seldom agree with the message or its delivery, which is often a revival-style fire and brimstone tone, I nevertheless try to understand how the rest of the world thinks – or in some cases, does not think. On this given day with the holidays approaching, it seemed that the order of the day was to fill your Christmas shopping list by purchasing food insurance for your relatives or friends. That’s right – this particular advocate was endorsing food insurance as a means of protecting you and your loved ones from hunger. As I listened, it seemed that some folks concocted an idea which would allow a beneficiary to have a guaranteed supply of food simply by making monthly installments of so many dollars. The food, which I presume to be freeze dried, could then be stored up to twenty years assuring your gift recipient of food in the event of natural or manmade disasters. Like the jam and jelly clubs of preceding years, this is the gift that 4

HEARTBEAT | FALL 2011

keeps on giving. Regardless, the idea struck me as somewhat repulsive. Now we were indoctrinating the general public with the concept that food insurance could alleviate any fears about the abundance and quality of our food supply. More disturbing, they were selling this concept to a public much further removed from the food production chain than any preceding generation. So, if most children believe that milk comes from a container in the store, why should food insurance be so difficult to comprehend? All of this rhetoric gets me to my key point and the feature of this issue of HeartBeat – our young, beginning farmers. You see, if this nation is looking for “real” food insurance, then the ability of our young people to enter into agriculture and production farming is imperative to guarantee a quality, abundant food supply. The best food insurance policy our nation possesses is the assurance that our young people who foster the determination and capabilities have the opportunity to seek a livelihood in farming. Not an easy task in today’s environment. For quite some time, FCS Financial has maintained a concerted focus on this state’s food insurance –that is, our young and beginning farmers. While most folks think of agriculture and farming as only a business for mature and tenured operators, our numbers at FCS say otherwise. From our customer base of approximately 14,000 clients, 22% are considered “young” meaning that they are less than 35 years of age. Within that same client base, 33.5% are categorized as “beginning” or having less than 10 years of farming experience. Additionally, while many view agriculture and farming as a

“big” business, 78% of our clients are considered “small” or receiving less than $250,000 in gross farm income annually. To assist young, beginning, and small farmers, FCS Financial reviews lending standards to ensure that this group has consistent and continual access to constructive credit and related services. Often times, we utilize both state and federal programs to assist this group in maximizing opportunities while minimizing risks. As you will see within this edition of HeartBeat, we have even created focus groups to interact and listen to the needs and expectations of this segment. We are extremely proud of our accomplishments with our young, beginning farmer group, yet we realize there is much to do if we are to effectively transition agriculture to the next generation. We know that it will require Focused. Customized. Solutions.™ Finally… Over the course of the past few months, Mother Nature has dominated the news with reports of storms, tornados, floods, and droughts. We have a number of clients throughout the state who have experienced adversity as a result of these natural events. During our 95 history, FCS Financial has helped many producers regain momentum after tragic losses created by natural disasters. We are committed to providing our members with viable financial options while their businesses return to normalcy. This undoubtedly will be one of the most varied harvest seasons in history. We hope that you will find it both safe and profitable. Thank you for your business.


youth in ag

our interns

2011

The 2011 FCS Financial internship program kicked off on May 16 and ended on August 5. The 12-week program exposes the interns to the association and the Farm Credit System. Interns spend two weeks at Central Office where they work with several departments including credit, loan documentation and risk management. Their remaining time focuses on learning the day-to-day tasks of the field staff in various retail facilities. The interns finish off the summer working in a field of interest to them. See Yang, Wheaton, Mo., is a senior at the University of Missouri where she is majoring in Agribusiness Management. She spent the summer in the Sedalia, Columbia, Jefferson City, O’Fallon, Mexico and Nevada offices. To experience a different region of agriculture in Missouri than where she grew up, she worked in St. Joseph for two weeks. See enjoyed learning about the different roles within FCS Financial and working with the credit analysts. She attended a few land auctions and a meeting with a large food processor. See ended her internship by working closer with the credit analysts. Phillip Durbin, Paris, Mo., attends school at the University of Missouri where he is a senior majoring in Agribusiness Management. He spent the summer working in Southwest Missouri out of the Neosho, Carthage, Mt. Vernon, West Plains and Springfield offices. Phillip worked out of Columbia and Clinton for two weeks to experience a different part of the state. His favorite part of the internship was interacting with the loan officers and doing farm visits. He was shocked to see corn grow in rocks and red dirt. The last part of his internship explored the loan officer role. Brandi Stagner, Clarksdale, Mo., is a senior at Northwest Missouri State University. She is majoring in Agricultural Education with a minor in Commercial Agriculture. Brandi spent the summer primarily in St. Joseph and Maryville, but had the opportunity to work in Springfield for two weeks. She enjoyed learning about the loan application process and working with appraisers. She attended a grazing conference and visited a poultry farm. Brandi spent the last part of her summer working closer with the loan officers. The interns experience broadened their knowledge of agricultural finance. Their favorite part of the internship was the people - employees and customers! To learn more about the FCS Financial College Internship program visit www.myfcsfinancial.com and click on Careers.


member feature

On the Farm and Off:

Three Part-time Farmers Find Success Article and photos by: Joann Pipkin

Their stories are different. Yet, they are the same.

Young, beginning and small farmers are making their mark in agriculture but not without steadfast

determination, willingness to work hard and an eagerness to serve — all to enjoy the livelihood farming provides.

Time management, communication and networking are critical elements in how three young FCS

Financial customers are finding success in juggling part-time farming with full-time jobs. Here’s a look at how each finds balance between the two.

Jonathan Cooper (left) works with farmers like Richard Carpenter, Breckenridge, at T&R Soil Service in Chillicothe where he is part owner. Cooper often heads for the field at 9 or 10 at night, logging hours of fieldwork before opening the store the next morning. He says efficiency and time management play a key role in his success.

Jonathan Cooper • Meadville Jonathan Cooper wasn’t raised on a farm per say, but he’s sure got it in his blood. Though his family owned 40 acres near Meadville, Cooper’s dad was an industrial arts teacher and coach; his mom a registered nurse. A few cows and hogs dotted their landscape, but Cooper learned the ropes of farming from a neighbor who hired him on to help with cattle and row crops. 6

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What began with Cooper raking hay in seventh grade eventually turned into a lot of on-the-job training that framed the path for his future. “They gave me a lot of responsibility,” he says of the neighboring farmer who would eventually turn over hay baling and spraying responsibilities to Cooper. At 17, when a 143-acre farm north of Meadville came up for sale, Cooper was determined to buy the property. His parents co-signed the note.

Still, the young entrepreneur realized it would be hard to start a farm on his own. He headed for college first at North Central Missouri College in Trenton and finishing at Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville all the while returning home to work on the farm. In exchange for labor, the neighboring farmer Cooper had worked for agreed to help. Cooper would purchase the inputs and trade out labor for use of their equipment. Cooper’s path would be tempted when he learned part of Butterfield Grain in Meadville was for sale. He’d developed a relationship with the business owners while working for his neighbor and immediately was interested.


Ownership plans were finalized in August 2002, nine months before Cooper would graduate from college with a degree in agriculture business management and a minor in geographic information systems. A young man now in his early 20’s, Jonathan Cooper’s plate suddenly became very full. He was owner of a 143-acre farm, part owner of a grain company, and still worked some for the neighboring farmer. Yet, all things work together. About the time, the neighboring farmer’s operation changed direction, T&R Soil Service in Chillicothe came for sale. Along with the owners of Butterfield Grain, Cooper purchased ownership in that business and headed there to manage it. “We have a great working relationship,” Cooper says of his business partners. But, being part-owner of two businesses and farming all at the same time means 30-year-old Jonathan Cooper often burns the candle at both ends. “Whenever I was farming a hundred acres, finding time to farm wasn’t a big deal,” Cooper says. “Planting could be done on a Sunday afternoon.” Nowadays, it isn’t uncommon for Cooper to leave the business at 9 or 10 at night and head straight for the field, working until 2 or 3 in the morning. “The key to it all is being efficient,” Cooper says, noting that he doesn’t need a $300,000 combine. Instead, he trades out labor with friends in exchange for him helping with harvest on their

operations. And, his dad is always near to lend a hand on the farm. Connections and knowing the right people are crucial to his success, Cooper notes. “If you are going to farm 500 acres after 7 at night, then you have to have the equipment to get the job done,” he further explains the need for efficiency. “You can’t afford breakdowns. But, that doesn’t mean your equipment has to be new.” Cooper has seized opportunity when it came knocking on the door. “I’m sure there were challenges along the way,” Cooper says of his journey, “but I didn’t know any different. I just got up every morning and did the job.” Advances in technology have saved Cooper’s business many miles during his tenure. When busy season hits the fertilizer business, Cooper can load trucks and monitor phone calls. He’s also able to text his employees any changes in orders. His equipment is GPS-guided with swath control. “I can see about 10-15% efficiency in what those machines can get done in a day compared to those equipped with less technology,” Cooper notes. And, his tractors on the farm are GPS-guided, which according to Cooper, “enables me to do 15% more after work.” He adds, “If you’re not on the cutting edge of the technology you’re going to get left behind.” Whether in his role as business owner or farm manager, time management is the real key for this young entrepreneur. “That doesn’t mean, though, you can

do something when it’s the wrong time,” Cooper explains. “You have to be able to manage your time when the time is right. You’ll make more money at the end of the day if you do a job at the right time than if you spend the time doing it wrong.” Josh & Kayla Gwennap • Seymour Josh Gwennap grew up on the outskirts of Springfield. His wife, Kayla, was raised in Rogersville where her family had maintained a small Polled Hereford operation. Although Josh’s family had horses, Balancing family time with farm work and full-time jobs is a huge challenge for young, beginning, small farmers like the Gwennaps. Josh (below with daughter Kendall) and Kayla Gwennap say having a support system of family and friends as well as great employees is key to making their operation run smoothly.

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The Gwennap’s farming enterprise includes a 125-head cow/calf operation that they run on owned and rented acreage between Seymour and Republic. The couple also harvests 1200+ round bales of hay each year and Josh is part-owner of a mowing and landscaping business in Springfield.

it wasn’t until he married Kayla in 2005 that the cow bug bit him. Their start in the cattle business wasn’t a pleasant one, though, Gwennap says. At the time, the newlyweds lived in Rogersville. Their newly purchased registered Simmental cows had just weaned calves and when those cows were put to pasture, they escaped in three different directions. “We ended up putting ‘lost cow’ signs in the neighborhood,” Gwennap says laughingly. Eventually, all three cows were captured. Still, the tiny hurdle didn’t keep the Gwennaps out of the cattle business. Instead, they grew their operation purchasing a 125acre farm southwest of Seymour. Today, the Gwennaps own 225 acres at Seymour and rent another 500-600 scattered across south Springfield and west to Republic that is used for both pasture and hay production. Additionally, they run about 125 head of cows in a 8

HEARTBEAT | FALL 2011

commercial and registered cow/calf operation. And, farming is just Gwennap’s part-time job. After discovering college wasn’t right for him, Gwennap joined his father as co-owner of Mr. Green Gene’s, a mowing and landscaping business headquartered in Springfield. Gwennap had worked in high school for a landscaper, so when he formed the 50/50 corporation with his dad that added some diversity to the operation that initially provided lawn mowing services. “I run the landscaping side of the business and dad does the mowing,” Gwennap explains. So, what’s a typical day like for the Gwennaps? In a word, “Crazy,” the 29-yearold quips. “Springfield is where our bread and butter is, so that’s job one,” Josh explains. But that doesn’t mean he can leave for work and forget about his farm. Travel back and forth to

Springfield can be challenging for Gwennap. On a recent morning, he pulled a calf before leaving for work. And on another occasion, Kayla called him mid-morning with a cow having trouble calving so Josh left work and headed back to the farm, making a second 30-mile one-way trip. Gwennap says his father is available to help look after cows at their rental property west of Springfield and Kayla’s parents only live five miles away so they are always near when a hand is needed. “It’s nice owning your own business,” Gwennap says. “If we have a slow day we can fix some fence or move some cows.” Summer is prime season for landscaping, mowing and putting up hay. Josh is quick to credit “great help” as being key to making both businesses successful. The young farmer has come to realize he can’t do it all. “It works out well having employees that can take charge,” Gwennap says. “I know the job is getting done and that gives us a little more freedom on the farm to do hay.” In addition to having credible employees at the landscape business, Gwennap notes Kayla does her share of work on the farm while caring for their two young daughters, Carlee, 4, and Kendall, 2. Gwennap’s business is active year round as fall leaf and winter snow removal services pick up some of the slack time in the off-season. Those times of year provide opportunity to catch up


on farm work and family time, too, Gwennap says. “At some point I’d like to be able to turn more of the business over to some of the employees,” Gwennap says. “I love what we do with the business, but I’d rather be here taking care of the cows.” In hindsight, Gwennap’s only regret would be to have grown his operation a little more slowly. “We dove in,” he exclaims. “We bought this place and then the land across the road was for sale, and it was affordable,” Gwennap says. “We had to buy it.” “It’s taken some years to make everything work,” Gwennap continues, “but we’re at a point now where it’s all going pretty good.” Early on in their farming operation, the Gwennaps worked hard to learn the ropes of raising cattle, whether from their veterinarian or from family or friends. “The biggest thing young farmers need is knowledge and the ‘people connections’ to get the job done right on the farm,” Josh Gwennap states. Jesse & Diana Schwanke • Leonard It was simply love for the farm and the community in which he was raised that brought Jesse and Diana Schwanke back to the farm. As an engineering major in college at the University of Missouri, all it took was an internship in a factory setting for Jesse to realize that wasn’t what he really enjoyed doing. “At that point, I decided I would come back home and farm,”

Jesse Schwanke’s job as a junior high football coach and adult ag education instructor has allowed his wife Diana to stay home with the couple’s four children. Although finding family time is tough, Diana says they have learned to enjoy the simple joys of life found in farming.

Schwanke explains. “I could help dad with his fertilizer business.” Jesse and Diana married about a year after college, and Jesse spent much of his time the next few years running a sprayer and fertilizer truck—but not farming. Then, the adult agriculture instructor position came open at North Shelby High School in nearby Shelbyville. At the time, Schwanke was on the selection committee to find a replacement. He eventually ended up applying for the job himself and he’s now been at the school in

that role for seven years. He’s also the junior high football coach. “We practice from 6:30 until 8 in the morning,” Schwanke explains. “That’s a lot of fun. It’s over the first week of October, just in time for harvest.” Diana is quick to note that Jesse working off the farm has been good for their family as it has allowed her to stay home with their young children. The couple are parents to Luke, 7; Mary, 6; Samuel, 4; and Lindy, 3. A speech therapist, Diana HEARTBEAT | FALL 2011

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is able to work part-time and sets her own schedule. The Schwankes’ farming operation near Leonard in Shelby County is surrounded by land that has been in the family for generations. Jesse’s grandparents own the place just across the road and his parent’s home sits just east of his and Diana’s. The couple purchased their cow herd from Jesse’s father about four years ago and have grown the operation from there. Today, their

“Farming is a way of life for them and they’re excited at carrying on the tradition.” farm encompasses 60 head of cattle in a cow/calf operation. They rent 200 acres of crop ground and help Jesse’s dad farm another 1200 acres, trading out labor for equipment use. A sideline grid sampling business Schwanke began a few years ago is now growing by leaps and bounds as well, he says. “We go out with a hand-held computer and GPS,” Schwanke explains. “A software program will drive the border of the field and grid and navigate to points where samples are taken. From there, we can develop variable rate fertilizer and lime prescriptions for a field.” 10

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With so many pieces to the Schwanke’s puzzle, one wonders how this young couple puts the whole picture together. “(My job) works well with farming,” Schwanke notes. “The adult ag ed job requires me to work with farmers. I spend a lot of time working with them on financial management and education. A lot of that is done in the winter when they have time.” He adds, “When the farmers are busy, I can be farming, too. When row crop season slacks off, that’s when we can step it up on the adult ag education.” Yet, there are surely challenges with spending a lot of time away from home. Jesse credits Diana’s support at home for making their situation work. “There are times of the year that I don’t see the kids a lot in the daylight,” Schwanke admits. “Communication is important,” Schwanke states adding, “We’re learning to be better at that. Diana’s flexibility has been huge for us. And, her forgiveness.” According to Diana, “If we need to see Jesse, we just pack up and go to the field or to the football game. And, the kids are fine with that. They understand the importance of helping others in the community.” Diana and the kids also have the luxury of seeing Jesse at home on the farm. “The kids can ride on the tractor or we can go watch the combine,” she says. “We take meals out to the field and help move equipment. The kids are very involved and very excited about the farm. Farming is a way of life for them and they’re excited at carrying on the tradition.”

For the Schwankes, having a support system is extremely critical. With Jesse’s parents close by, they’re available to lend a hand whether with the farm or the children. “The job at school is not something I do for the money,” Schwanke notes. “It’s something I do because I’m helping farmers, because I was in their shoes before I started that job.” Schwanke explains that farmers understand how to set a planter and fix a combine, but financial management and record keeping is something that challenges them. “Many young farmers don’t know what working capital is or what a current ratio is and why it matters. Those are things that are pretty important,” he maintains. Schwanke says his role as an adult ag educator has indeed become a passion for him. “I don’t think all farmers understand the risk of inflation, rises in interest rates, cash flow. And, I don’t think there’s enough education to help farmers understand how to mitigate those risks by keeping in good financial position.” About half of the producers Schwanke works with are under age 34 and the adult ag education program is voluntary. “It’s a big challenge because I have to be wanted,” he says. “Not many farmers enjoy sitting down and looking over dollars and cents.” At 34, Jesse’s full-time job has offered his family multiple rewards. “We’re not just farmers,” Schwanke explains. “We’re service oriented. We look for a way to serve others and to produce food.” And, in doing so his family


reaps the rewards. “Understanding and respecting each other goes a long way,” Diana Schwanke points out. “You have to learn to be content where you are. We have learned the simple joys of life and farming is a part of that.” Finding Success on the Farm Yes, their stories are different. Still, they are the same. Three young farmers find success on the farm and off. Not an easy task when farming alone is a full-time job. FCS Financial’s Jack Glover says it’s important for young people to have an open mind to other opportunities. “Self-evaluation is critical.” Support, whether at home or through others, is imperative. “It all doesn’t come down to dollars and cents,” Glover says. Still, by embracing networking, communication, technology and time management each has been able to enjoy the lifestyle farming affords. And yet, young farmers like Jonathan Cooper, the Gwennaps and the Schwankes are the right “food insurance” for sustaining American agriculture. As FCS Financial partners with young, beginning and small farmers, Glover says information alone is powerful. FCS Financial’s Tera Dover adds, “Young farmers need information and a trusted place to go.” Go to page 22 and learn more about what FCS Financial is doing to enhance communication and education with our YBS Farmer customers.

4 Tips for Farmers Whether a part-time or a full-time farmer, dealing with dollars and cents is often one’s least favorite aspect of the operation. As Jesse Schwanke works with farmers through the adult ag education program at North Shelby High School in Shelbyville, he’s been able to take home some valuable information that can be applied to young and beginning farmers like those being served through FCS Financial’s Young, Beginning, Small (YBS) Farmer program. And, Schwanke’s advice to young producers begins with having a good handle on where they are financially. He and FCS Financial’s Jack Glover offer these 4 tips for farmers:

1. Get away from the upside down balance sheet. “There are a lot of lenders that fill out the balance sheet for the farmer, while the farmer looks at it upside down,” Schwanke explains. “I don’t think that’s healthy for the farm economy,” Schwanke says. “The farmer has to know his bottom line, whether part-time or full time. Farming is a business. It involves a lot of dollars.” He adds that business training is every bit as important to an operation as knowing how to mix the right ration for a beef cow or knowing how to plant the right seed and spray the right chemicals on a corn field.

2. Keep up with technology. “That’s an advantage young farmers have over older, veteran producers,” Schwanke notes. “Technology is changing rapidly. I think there are a lot of opportunities to improve efficiency in agriculture by using new technologies.”

3. Familiarize yourself with risk management. According to FCS Financial’s Jack Glover, “Farmers need to not get themselves in a place where there’s no way out. Information is the number one step to avoid this.” Glover re-emphasized the need for producers to know their bottom line.

4. Get organized. Glover says, “Having a handle on inventories and keeping records of both income and expenses is crucial. “Where’s the money going and what are you spending it on?” “Times have been pretty good for farmers in recent years,” Schwanke says noting aggressive expansion in the ag industry. “I hope we haven’t become too over-leveraged.” Schwanke is hopeful farmers have stayed conservative enough that if the farm economy turns south, producers will be able to hold on. “I think cash flow and liquidity is a big part in that.” He sums up, “If we have drought, coupled with low prices, I think we could be in some trouble. And, that’s going to hit the young, beginning farmers first.” Author’s Note: Adult Ag Education programs are offered at high schools throughout the state through the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. If you’d like to know how you can get involved with an adult ag education program, you’ll find more information online at http://adultaged.missouri.edu.

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dollars & cents

Producers’ Use of Financial Records By: Dr. David M. Kohl

W

of

another watermark for the use of

producers’ use of financial

financial records by identifying

records? I was asked this question

uniform guidelines, benchmarks,

during a recent webcast broadcast

and suggestions for data summaries.

nationwide and to Canada. The

The FFSC’s mission today still

answer

involves creating and promoting

hat

is

is

the

extremely

status

variable,

Dr. David Kohl energizes agricultural

based upon a number of factors.

uniformity

lenders,

business

While interacting with countless

financial reporting and analysis for

persons with his keen insight into

producers each year, I have found

agricultural producers.

the agricultural industry through

that those who have sound

extensive

financial

producers

travel,

and

research,

exposure during his career.

and He is

management

systems

integrity

in

“Key financial measures... are useful ‘yardsticks’ to provide guidance...”

tend to be positioned for success.

Professor Emeritus of Agricultural

Let us first examine the

Finance

Business

history. Over the years, the most

Management and Entrepreneurship

intense use of farm financial

at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA.

records has occurred in the

Dr. Kohl has traveled over 8 million

Midwest and upper Midwest of

miles in his professional career and

the United States. Pioneers in the

conducted over 6,000 workshops and

field include one of my mentors,

seminars for a variety of agricultural

Dr. Tom Frey, of the University of

audiences.

Dr. Kohl’s personal

Illinois, who co-authored with Dr.

involvement with agriculture and

Danny Klinefelter, of Texas A&M

interaction with key industry players

University, Coordinated Financial

provide a unique perspective into

Statements for Agriculture. Dick

percent of producers economically,

the future trends of the agricultural

Hawkins, of the University of

not necessarily the biggest, have

industry and economy.

Minnesota,

very sound financial management

and

Small

the

developer

of

HEARTBEAT | FALL 2011

Today, I find that the top 20

FINPACK, established the gold

systems.

standard concerning farm financial

annual, and sometimes quarterly,

records.

balance sheets on a cost and market

value basis.

Evolving out of the financial

That is, they complete

They will compile

crisis of the 1980s, the Farm

accrual-adjusted income or profit

Financial

and loss statements, and develop

Standards

Taskforce

and Council (FFSC) established 12

and

projected cash flow statements.


The elite of the group develop

management

strategies,

which

In today’s world of inflating

a business plan, including vision,

helps to ascertain tactics for future

farmland values, there are many

mission, and goals. A marketing,

decision-making.

who are millionaires on paper but

operational,

One danger on the horizon

who have never earned a dollar.

updated

is that some producers have given

The true measure of success is how

Latest data finds that

up on developing good financial

much of the earnings are captured

approximately 15 percent of peak

records and projections because

on the balance sheet in the form

performing producers carry out the

of uncertain times. Others make

of earned net worth, instead of

development of a business plan.

decisions based only upon tax

appreciated net worth. A sound

What makes this group of

records without proper accrual

financial record system that is

producers exceptional is not that

adjustments in inventory, payables,

analyzed and used in strategic

they compile the financial records,

and prepaid expenses.

These

decision making is a powerful tool

but they use them in strategic

practices are recipes for economic

for taking your business from good

and day-to-day decision-making.

disaster, particularly if the current

to great.

Often producers have accountant-

economic super cycle subsides.

are

and

included

annually.

finance and

plan

prepared financial records, but these documents are only used decision making.

Last Year’s Lows Seen Again;

Many of the top echelon

The 30-day vs. 15-Year Farm Credit Bond chart below illustrates that 30

of producers benchmark their

day issues have remained at historically low levels for the last two years.

operations to others in their

Since the last issue of HeartBeat, the 15-year issues have hit the lows seen

industry, or in some cases, by

in 2010 decreasing the gap between short-term rates and long-term fixed

enterprise. Key financial measures

rates.

for tax strategies instead of daily

such as profitability, equity gains, working

capital,

and

margins

10.00

are useful “yardsticks” to provide

9.00

guidance and trend analysis, not

performance

by

comparing

projected to actual results.

He

makes notes to his lender and wife, who is his business partner, about positive and negative deviations. He also notes whether deviations

Fed Funds Target Series1

6.00

All-in cost

panel at a lenders school monitors

30 Day Farm Credit

7.00

own businesses. One young producer in a recent

15 Year Farm Credit

8.00

only to their peers, but also to their

30-Day vs 15-Year Farm Credit Bond

5.00 4.00 3.00 2.00 1.00 0.00

are the result of macroeconomic conditions

or

microeconomic

Date

HEARTBEAT | FALL 2011

13


life is simple We are pleased to offer Jerry Crownover’s “Life is Simple” column. Jerry is a graduate of the University of Missouri. He and his wife, Judy, own and operate a ranch west of Springfield and are FCS Financial members. We hope you enjoy Jerry’s Ozark humor and wisdom. “Life is Simple” Copyright 2011, Jerry Crownover

About a month before I turned out my bulls with the cows this past spring, one of the older ones came up lame. When I ran him through the chute to check on his problem, I realized his lameness was irreversible and proceeded to take him to the nearest livestock auction. This put me in a bind, being one bull short just a mere two weeks before turnout time. Most of the better bulls of breeding age were gone by this time so I made some calls. The first call was to a long-time friend whom I’ve bought most all my bulls from over the past 15 years. All he had left were short yearlings, too young for the job. “Call Bill,” my friend instructed. “I think he’s got a couple of good ones left.” Bill is also a good friend. Our children used to show cattle together back in the old days, and I had purchased a few bulls from him 14

HEARTBEAT | FALL 2011

over the years as well and gotten along fine with them. I phoned Bill that same evening and he, indeed, had two bulls left. I went up and selected the one I thought was the best, but I noticed the bull was a little nervous in the corral before loading. Bill assured me that he was a “well-mannered” young calf that just missed his buddy. I wrote my friend a check and we loaded the young male. Dutifully, the young bull stayed committed to his job for the next three weeks, even working nights, weekends and holidays with the aggressiveness that one likes to see in any new employee. But, after the fourth week, I thought I was beginning to detect a little boredom setting in as the new bull began to incessantly walk the fence, eyeing my neighbors 25 heifers in an adjoining field. The next morning, my bull was gone and, as I suspected, he was with the 25 young ladies next door. Nowhere could I find where he had gotten through the fence, so I spent the next three hours chasing him on my ATV until I finally wore him down enough to get him in the neighbor’s corral: he could outrun my little vehicle, but he couldn’t outlast it. I loaded him up and took him home. He lasted two days in my pasture until he was back with the heifers. The same procedure ensued, but this time it took only two hours of running. I vowed to give him one more chance. Two days later the young bull was AWOL again, but this time he was not to be found with my neighbor’s heifers, but had gone west to another neighbor’s place. The

field to which he had escaped had several more cows, but also a large, mature bull that didn’t take kindly to the competition. As I entered that field on a steamy, hot afternoon, the young bull took off as soon as he heard my ATV. I ran him back and forth between small ponds and brushy areas for two hours, hoping that he wouldn’t die from heat exhaustion, until he finally wised up and headed to the middle of a small lake where he parked himself in the very center and out of range from my rock-throwing arm. Frustrated, I phoned my wife and told her to bring the shotgun and what few shells I had left. Dang it! There were only seven shells left. I used three of them to get him out of the pond and three more getting him out of the thicket to which he had escaped. We were now racing to an open gate and the large lake. I used my last shell to try to turn him but he just blinked at the birdshot and kept on going. The next day I went to town after more ammo and finally got him back home and eventually to another farm with fewer distractions. I ran into Bill at the fair last week and his first question was, “How’s that new bull working out?” As I went through the whole, detailed story, I could sense the wheels turning in Bill’s head, for he has always been known amongst our peers as a great marketer of livestock. “Jerry, I’m truly sorry that you had all that trouble with this bull, but if you’ll buy another one from me this winter, I’ll throw in two boxes of shotgun shells at no charge.”


• Notify your agent to turn in a claim notice within 72 hours (3 days) of when you discover damage to the crop. Depending on the severity of the damage, indicate if an immediate inspection is needed for destroying or replanting acreage. Protect the crop from further damage by providing sufficient care (as you would do if no damage occurred). • Notify your agent before destroying any of the crop not to be harvested as grain (e.g., mowing, baling, chopping, pasturing, disking, etc.). • Ask if you should leave strips for company inspection. If destroying or replanting prior to claims adjuster inspection, strips are required. Leave representative strips for inspection for at least 15 days after you notify your agent, and until we approve destruction/harvest of the strips. Strips should be representative of each field, and at least 10 feet wide for the entire length of each field, with 1 representative strip for each 10 acres in the field. • Keep production from each unit separate. Do not commingle grain from different units. If weighing, weigh the production from each unit separately. • You need to supply acceptable production records by unit. It works best if you obtain and make any needed copies prior to inspection/visit by a claims adjuster. • Aflatoxin – Corn must be tested by a company adjuster PRIOR to going into the bin or being sold. The adjuster cannot pull a sample from the bin. Tests have to be run by an independent laboratory. If you suspect aflatoxin problems, please call your agent as soon as possible. • Asian Soybean Rust is a covered peril, however good farming practices and documentation of actions taken toward prevention and treatment should be followed. If you suspect rust, please contact your agent as soon as possible. For farm-stored production: • Do not commingle grain from the loss unit with other units, nor with prior year’s grain, before claims adjuster can inspect it. • Obtain company approval prior to marking bin. The adjuster will measure the bin or storage structure. Leveled grain is most accurately measured. • You are eligible for moisture, test weight, and other adjustments allowed by the policy, but the claims adjuster must pull the samples. • For production weighed and farm-stored, the scale tickets must show Unit #, crop, date, FSN, gross/ tare/net weights, location of scales, and signed/ initials by weighman. Please be prepared to provide the claims adjuster with copies of this information.

Important Crop Insurance Dates to Remember October 31 Premiums due on spring crops October 31/November 15 Final plant date for wheat (15-day late plant period available. See your agent for details.) November 14 Wheat production reporting deadline

risk management

General Instructions for Crop Insurance Claims

November 15 Acreage reporting date for Pasture, Rangeland, & Forage (PRF) November 30 Final acreage reporting date for wheat December 10 Insurance ends on spring crops December 25 Last day to report losses on spring crops

For sold or commercially-stored production: • You need to provide copies of elevator settlement or summary sheets showing 100% of the production from the acreage. • If the settlement or summary sheets do not show 100% of the production, then you need to provide copies of the settlement or summary sheets from the remaining production (other share). • Please also be prepared to provide copies of the scale tickets for all loads delivered. important note: The deadline to report production losses is 15 days after completion of harvest of the unit. Please notify your agent immediately after completion of harvest of a unit if you have or suspect a production loss.

HEARTBEAT | FALL 2011

15


news briefs

Major League Campaign Hits a Home Run with Consumers Every day farmers across Missouri step up to the challenge of providing the food our families enjoy. To help consumers better understand advancements in the high stakes game of food production, a Missouri agriculture coalition again teamed up with the St. Louis Cardinals for a summer education campaign. Themed Safe at the Plate, the Missouri Farmers Care (MFC) initiative ran throughout the 2011 baseball season, hitting a home run with millions of consumers in Busch Stadium, across the state and throughout Cardinals Nation. Running on the strength of a solid team, nine commodity groups and agribusinesses pooled financial resources to create a comprehensive outreach campaign that included a heavy hitter for a spokesperson. The agricultural coalition called up St. Louis Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday to help reach out to the large fan base in Cardinals Nation. Featured alongside four farm families, Holliday could be seen and heard in print and radio ads throughout the season. Showcasing

the diversity in Missouri, these farm families came from across the state and represented various facets of agriculture. This year, featured Safe at the Plate farm families included: • Stan and Mary Bonacker, beef farmers from Cedar Hill, Mo. • Gary and Lori Porter, corn farmers from Mercer, Mo. • Paul and Cindy Heins, dairy farmers from Higginsville, Mo. • Kevin and Chris Chinn, hog farmers from Clarence, Mo.

Participating in this major league campaign was a once-in-alifetime experience for corn farmer Gary Porter and his family. An avid Cardinals fan, Porter recognized the importance of getting involved in telling agriculture’s story. "Whether sitting down to dinner with your family, or grabbing a bite at the ballpark, we want consumers to feel confident farmers have their best interests in mind,” Porter says. “It is exciting to partner with the St. Louis Cardinals to give consumers a closer look at what goes on at the farm level and share some insight on how their food is produced." Sights and Sounds From Opening Day and beyond, 30-second radio ads featuring Holliday and Missouri farm families were aired at least twice during each of the Cardinals’ 162 regular season games. Playing on the Cardinals Radio Network - over 117 stations across Missouri and bordering states - these ads hit approximately 3.3 million unique listeners repeatedly over a six month period. Not wanting to miss fans at the ballpark, each farm family also


invited Cardinals’ mascot Fredbird to their operation for a day of fun and learning on the farm. These entertaining yet educational visits were aired in front of 40,000 fans during each home game at Busch Stadium. Though the season is over, the Fredbird on the Farm videos can still be viewed at www.youtube. com/MissouriCorn. Busch Bashes Keeping agriculture front and center, volunteers handed out baseball cards featuring four Missouri farmers and recipe brochures inside Busch Stadium at every Friday night home game. This gave farmers and industry representatives the chance to connect one-on-one with consumers, share their stories and answer questions on today’s food production. Excited fans also had the opportunity to sign up to win an AgriMissouri gift basket valued at $100. Donated by the Missouri Department of Agriculture, a basket was presented to a winning fan during each Friday night game by a Missouri farmer and featured on the stadium’s massive jumbotron screen. Educating the Influencers Pitching agriculture’s story to yet another audience, the coalition reached out to dieticians, restaurateurs, food reporters, food bloggers and other key influencers in the St. Louis area. Inviting them to Busch Stadium for a series of intimate panel discussions, participants had the opportunity to talk directly with farmers about their on-farm production practices, animal care, nutrition and environmental efforts.

Following discussions, panelists and guests were invited to watch the Cardinals in action and continue the food conversations. The MFC Safe at the Plate coalition hosted these food producer panels in Busch Stadium on Friday, Sept. 9, Saturday, Sept. 10 and Friday, Sept. 23. Chris Chinn, a spokesperson for the campaign and hog farmer from Clarence, Mo., participated in the first panel discussion with key influencers. “Our audience was amazed to learn about the technology we use on our farms and how we keep track of every detail of our animals’ health, safety and food,” Chinn said. “During the game, participants continued to ask questions. I spent several innings talking about how my farm is representative of what farmers do today.” Grocery Giveaway Covering all the bases, consumers were also invited to participate in the campaign online and enter to win $500 in free groceries. By logging onto www.MOFarmersCare.com, consumers had the opportunity to watch last year’s Fredbird on the Farm videos, answer a question and sign up for a chance to win. Driving consumers to the website, recipe cards and baseball cards featuring farm facts were distributed throughout the season. In addition, radio ads featuring each farmer’s family invited consumers to go online and register. Drawn at random and walking away with free groceries for their families were: Sara Gallivan of Bolivar, Mo.; Jim Frick of Chesterfield, Mo.; and Sharon Payne of Halfway, Mo.

Above: Stacy Dohle, integrated communications manager for the Midwest Dairy Association, welcomes FACS teachers and dietitians to the Sept. 9 panel event. Opposite page: A video highlighting Fredbird’s visit to the Mercer, Mo., farm of Gary Porter played in front of thousands of fans during the Cardinals vs. Pirates game in Busch Stadium Aug. 28. Throughout the season, Fredbird on the Farm videos featuring each of the four farmers’ operations aired during each home game.

A leader in leveraging support, Missouri’s commodity groups and agribusinesses are swinging for the fences to talk about today’s advancements in food production. While the major leaguers head for the offseason, farmers and ranchers will continue to step up to the plate each day to share the story of agriculture. To learn more about this summer’s educational campaign, or share information with neighbors and friends, visit www.MoFarmersCare. com. Sponsors of the Safe at the Plate educational initiative include the Missouri Pork Association, Missouri Beef Industry Council, Missouri Corn Merchandising Council, Midwest Dairy Association, MFA Oil, FCS Financial, Missouri Farm Bureau, MFA Incorporated and St. Louis AgriBusiness Club. HEARTBEAT | FALL 2011

17


New buildin Progress continues on the new office facilities to be constructed in Columbia, Springfield, Macon and Joplin.

As we move beyond the

planning stage, these locations are turning into prototype offices that support the Focused. Customized. Solutions.™ vision for FCS Financial. The current status of each project follows: macon

Construction began during June and the projected completion date is expected by mid-November. Customers to be served out of the Macon office will be notified of the official opening date as well as office address and telephone numbers by early November. The Macon facility is located just north of the US 36 and US 63 interchange on the east side of US 63. columbia

Construction is just about ready to begin with the timeline calling for the site to be prepped by midOctober and a completion date by Construction moved quickly and according to schedule in Macon as the first of four new retail facilites is built. Macon is expected to open by Thanksgiving. Top - Preparation of the site began in June as shown by the mounds of dirt. Middle - In July, the building frame was up and roof tresses were being placed. Bottom - With brick and stone work near completion in September a clear vision of the Macon retail facility can be seen.

18

HEARTBEAT | FALL 2011

mid-April. However, Mother Nature may impact construction days this fall and winter. Timelines could be altered significantlty if the weather does not cooperate. Regardless,


ng shapes up those of you traveling north out of Columbia on US 63 should begin to see construction activity at this site yet this fall. The new Columbia facility will be located on the west side of US 63 and just north of Vandiver Drive on Woodard Drive—it is in close proximity to Menards and Bass Pro Shops.

Customer Satisfaction...

Share your thoughts The 2011 FCS Financial Service Quality Monitor will be mailed at the end of October to randomly selected customers. The annual survey allows us to measure our current service, compare to previous years and plan for the future. If you receive the 2011 Service Quality Monitor, we appreciate your time in completing the questionnaire and returning it to Avant Marketing. Your feedback is invaluable to us as we strive to provide Focused. Customized. Solutions.™.

springfield

Initial site research is underway in the Springfield area. Watch for future announcements regarding the site selected for the new Springfield location. joplin

In the last issue of HeartBeat we announced that lot acquisition activities had been temporarily placed on hold in Joplin as a result of the devastating tornado that hit this area. We have stepped back into the site selection process and will be conducting additional construction feasibility due diligence on three potential sites. Watch for future announcements regarding the site selected for the new Joplin location.

For more information on new

facility updates call your local FCS Financial office or visit our website

Holiday Hours As we approach the busy season of harvest and holidays, we would like to remind you of our holiday hours. In observance of Thanksgiving and Christmas, all FCS Financial offices will be closed on the following days: • • • •

Thursday, November 24 Friday, November 25 Friday, December 23 (offices close at noon) Monday, December 26

All offices will be open on Friday, December 30. Payments to be credited in 2011 must be received by noon on Friday, December 30. If you are a Funds Held customer, please notify your FCS Financial office by noon on Thursday, December 29, to receive interest credit in 2011.

at www.myfcsfinancial.com.

HEARTBEAT | FALL 2011

19


New

growing together

a presentation for ffa

Keeping customers informed and providing valuable information to prospects is always a priority for businesses, and FCS Financial

We feel it is important to share information with our next generation of farmers. That is why our FCS Financial Loan Officers provide a presentation on the ag industry related to the topics outlined in the FFA Creed. To have an FCS Financial Loan Officer present to your FFA Chapter, contact the office nearest you.

is no different. Most people today rely on the Internet to find information and FCS Financial has been working for several months on a new website to help us communicate better with rural Missouri. Visit www. myfcsfinancial. com to explore the new site with features such as an equipment dealer

locater,

news

feed,

easy application processes for scholarships, employment and loans and many more surprises. While there, feel free to provide feedback using the Contact Us link.

We think you will find the

new

www.myfcsfinancial.com

easier to navigate giving you the ability to locate exactly what you need. Plus, we understand that many people now use their cell phones to access the Internet. Keeping that in mind, a few pages have been designed to view easily on mobiles.

20

HEARTBEAT | FALL 2011

your ffa chapter can earn from

$500 to $2,000! Missouri’s major agriculture organizations are teaming up to sponsor a 2011-2012 video contest encouraging FFA chapters to create a video or auto-play slide show with audio that conveys a positive message about the value of Missouri agriculture. Three positive messages to keep in mind are: 1. Farmers create safe, wholesome and affordable food for everyone to enjoy; 2. Farmers work hard to care for their animals; and 3. Farmers are good stewards of the environment. However, not all three themes need to be addressed in your entry. Each FFA district will have one winner who will receive $500.The district winners will compete for 1st, 2nd & 3rd place overall and will be announced at the 2012 FFA State Convention. Length of each entry must be a minimum of three minutes and a maximum of five minutes. All participants in the video are required to sign a release form which must be included with the submitted entry. One entry per FFA chapter.

Full details, supporting materials and release forms can be found at www.mofb.org (click on FFA Video Contest). Entries must be postmarked by March 23, 2012.

Sponsoring organizations are FCS Financial, Midwest Dairy Association, Missouri Beef Industry Council, Missouri Corn Merchandising Council, Missouri Farm Bureau, Missouri Pork Association, Missouri Soybean Association and MFA Incorporated.


Buying Equipment?

Ask your dealer about FCS Financial Express™ FCS Financial Express™ is the local lending option delivered directly through your dealer. We work with a network of nearly 200 equipment dealers in Missouri to provide you the loan options you trust from FCS Financial. Financing for new or used equipment is available. Plus, it is easy, quick and competitive.

EASY– Complete the simple and easy application at your dealership without the hassle of red tape. QUICK– Our FCS Financial Express™ team of local lending specialists is trained to work efficiently and promptly to ensure a quick turnaround on your loan decision. That way, you can spend less time waiting to hear on the status of your loan and more time getting back on the road and into the field.

COMPETITIVE– We are committed to offering competitive rates and terms. Add those to our flexible repayment options, and we can tailor a loan that fits your needs. Want to learn more about FCS Financial Express™ or find a participating dealer near you? Call 1-888-GO-FCSXPRS (1-888-463-2797) or visit our website at www.myfcsfinancial.com.

College Scholarships Available for High School Seniors Perhaps the only thing we’re more proud of than our 95-year relationship with Missouri agriculture is our commitment to Missouri agriculture’s future. Which is why we’re inviting you to apply for one of up to thirtyfive $1000 college scholarships we’ll be awarding this year. Eligibility requirements are pretty simple*: • Child or grandchild of a current FCS Financial customer; • Missouri high school senior and a full-time Missouri high school student the previous year; • Plan to attend a 2-year or 4-year college or university, interest in furthering your education to prepare for your career, and demonstrate participation and leadership in school and community activities.

The applicant’s portion of the application must be completed online at www. myfcsfinancial.com. Be sure to print the Media Release form, obtain signatures and return it to FCS Financial by March 1, 2012. *Complete eligibility requirements at www. myfcsfinancial.com


Paving the path of our future Providing Focused. Customized. Solutions.™ drives the FCS Financial customer experience. Recently, we hosted a focus group with about 30 young farmers to ensure we are heading down the right road when it comes to meeting their needs. We wanted to learn more about their interests, concerns about the future, use of technology and educational needs. Daryl Oldvader, CEO of FCS Financial, kicked off the focus groups. “Why are you here?” he asked. “We want to learn from you.” He continued by explaining how he grew up in this business and has found nothing more rewarding than working with a young farmer and watching them grow. “There will be dips and valleys but I wouldn’t trade my 40 years of serving agriculture. Your future is bright,” he said. “You are our food insurance.” Obtaining a loan doesn’t require any magic. It does, however, rely on building constructive credit. Gary Matteson, VP of Young, Beginning, Small Farmer Programs with The Farm Credit Council explained constructive credit and why it is important to you and your financial institution. “We have to figure out if you can pay it back, if it’s good for you and we have to prove that to our regulator or he will stop us,” he said. A farmer’s capacity should match his goal. “Remember, if your loan officer doesn’t do their job by making sure you can repay, then they are messing up your life,” Gary added. Build a business plan and establish credibility. This shows your loan officer your commitment, your goal and the path you plan to take to get there. The participants broke into workgroups to discuss planning needs, effective ways to obtain information, resources, communicating in today’s world, and community presence. Their responses will be used to build the FCS Financial Young, Beginning, Small Farmer plan for 2012. Closing the meeting was a Top: Gary Matteson, Vice President of Young, Beginning, Small Farmer Programs panel discussion with FCS Financial and Outreach for The Farm Credit Council, presented “Constructive Credit” to the representatives in the credit, loan participants to help them understand what a lender looks for from a loan applicant. officer, marketing, appraisal and Bottom left: About 30 Young Farmers spent a day with FCS Financial as part of a focus crop insurance areas. group to help the association plan future programs. Participants found the sharing of information and networking Bottom right: Jeff Case, Vice President Commercial Lending, FCS Financial, visits with beneficial to them and their FCS Jesse Schwanke during the focus group. Financial cooperative. 22

HEARTBEAT | FALL 2011


nivens’ notes

Greetings from the Board Room:

Former board member and past board chairman, Jim Zerr, was always

quick to point out just how serious the 1954 drought had been. He suffered through it as a beginning young farmer. I saw Jim at the state fair and told him that I had thought of him several times this summer. Each and every time that my area set a new temperature and rainfall record that bested 1954. The corn that I have combined to date will almost average 40 bushels until you consider that 45% of what I had planted is now in big round bales. Let’s not mention the aflatoxin and nitrate problems. Hay is limited, pasture is almost non-existent, and pond water will soon be a serious problem. I have often thought in Southwest Missouri, the question is not if we will have a

James Nivens, Chairman of the Board

drought this year but more of when does it start and how long does it last. I see now that the National Weather Service has announced that another LaNiña has re-emerged and we can expect a similar weather pattern this coming year. I’m thinking I’m too close to Oklahoma and Texas.

While my corner is suffering from the lack of moisture, the opposite corner of the state is expecting a pretty good

crop, up and down the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers there are flood problems, and the northwest corner, along with some flooding problems, has had some serious wind and hail. Add the weather with input prices, commodity price volatility, the general economy, and who knows what from the government and you have the circumstances surrounding the association’s planning meeting.

If you could distance yourself from the present, these circumstances are part of every “farming” year. Perhaps

like 1954, a stronger influence some years than others. The extraordinary years leave a lasting impression and temper our thinking for some time.

The financial problems of a few years ago are still part of the planning discussions.

The planning and budget process this past year has helped FCS Financial to continue improve our capital

position, provide strong earnings, and work to building a sound future. One of the more obvious marks that we missed this past year was in our planning for growth. Hindsight would tell you that member’s own earnings have enabled them to operate with less borrowed funds and pay down some debt. It also became clear early in the year, that there was a wait and see attitude developing.

Here’s hoping that your planning for a good year has come to fruition. If like me, the weather has caused used

you to miss a few “marks”, get out the eraser or find the delete key on the computer and start refining the plan for next year. Jim, they’re not all 1954’s.

Take care.

HEARTBEAT | FALL 2011

23


PRESORT STANDARD U.S. POSTAGE PAID JEFFERSON CITY, MO Permit No. 210

Focused. Customized. Solutions.™ For who you are. For what you do.

FCS Financial is introducing Focused. Customized. Solutions.™, a new approach to service that brings the right resources to you. It’s the loans, financial services and local expertise you trust, all designed with your specific needs in mind. Your financial needs and your neighbor’s needs aren’t the same. So why should your service be? We match you with a team of experts and financial options that fit your type of operation. We don’t think you should have to bend over backwards to get the financial support you deserve. That’s our job. We are Focused on your success in order to provide service, loans and financing Customized to your needs. And, in the end, to deliver Solutions that help you grow for years to come. Visit us at myfcsfinancial.com, call 1-800-444-3276 or stop by any FCS Financial office for Focused. Customized. Solutions.™

Focused. Customized. Solutions is a trademark of FCS Financial, ACA. FCS Financial is an Equal Opportunity Provider. Current life insurance carriers available at myfcsfinancial.com.


HeartBeat Fall 2011