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Farm Credit

leader Lending support to rural America速

read about the new Homegrown by Heroes Program inside!

volume 19 | ISSUE 4 | $3.95

Heroes in the Field

s In This Issue MidAtlantic Farm Credit, ACA


J. Robert Frazee, CEO MidAtlantic Farm Credit Board of Directors Photo credit: Delaware Valley College

M. Wayne Lambertson Chairman

4 Opportunities for Veterans A partnership between Delaware Valley College and the Rodale Institute offers veterans a unique opportunity to study organic farming.

Paul Baumgardner Vice Chairman

6 From the Sea to the Farm Barry Groomes’ time spent in the

Coast Guard gave him valuable skills he applies today to his farm in Taneytown, Maryland.

Deborah A. Benner Brian L. Boyd Gary L. Grossnickle Dale R. Hershey Walter C. Hopkins T. Jeffery Jennings Fred R. Moore Dale J. Ockels Jennifer L. Rhodes Ralph L. Robertson, Jr. Paul J. Rock Douglas D. Scott Joseph D. Snapp Fred N. West

facebook.com/midatlanticfarmcredit @midatfarmcredit mafc.com/blog

8 Greenhouse Growing 10 Farm VA Loan Program Building a business that would provide Credit’s VA loan program helped income for his family was Brian Perez’s ultimate goal.

the Bennsky family build their dream home in Warren County, Virginia.

MidAtlantic Farm Credit MidAtlanticFarmCredit @midatfarmcredit


12 Homegrown by Heroes 12 Veteran Farmer Resources 12 Burpee Seeds Support Veterans 13 Scholarship Program 13 2015 Annual Meetings 14 2015 Calendar Winners 15 elfieFriday COMMUNITY

16 Properties for Sale 2

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questions or ideas If you have any questions or ideas for the editorial staff of the Leader, contact Jenny Kreisher at 888.339.3334, e-mail her at jkreisher@mafc.com or write her at MidAtlantic Farm Credit | 700 Corporate Center Court | Suite L | Westminster, MD 21157. This publication is for you, our reader. We’d love to hear from you! The Leader is published quarterly for stockholders, friends and business associates. If you wish to no longer receive this publication, please email: unsubscribe@mafc.com. Use “Unsubscribe Leader” in the subject. The Farm Credit Administration does not require the association to distribute its quarterly financial reports to shareholders. However, copies of its complete report are available upon request or see quarterly updates online at mafc.com. The shareholders’ investment in the association is materially affected by the financial condition and results of operations of AgFirst Farm Credit Bank and copies of its quarterly financial report are available upon request by writing: Susanne Caughman | AgFirst Farm Credit Bank | P.O. Box 1499 | Columbia, SC 29202-1499 Address changes, questions or requests for the association’s quarterly financial report should be directed to: MidAtlantic Farm Credit, ACA by calling 800.333.7950 or writing: MidAtlantic Farm Credit | 45 Aileron Court | Westminster, MD 21157

s president’s message

Serving those who serve

s events | deadlines DEC event place 3 LEAD Maryland Image of Agriculture Symposium Ellicott City, MD 7-9 Maryland Farm Bureau Convention Ocean City, MD 24 Christmas Eve MAFC Offices Closed 25 Christmas Day MAFC Offices Closed JAN event place 1 New Year’s Day MAFC Offices Closed 6-8

Keystone Farm Show York, PA

12-16 Delaware Agriculture Week Harrington, DE 15-17

Future Harvest Annual Conference

College Park, MD

16-18 Maryland Horse World Expo Timonium, MD

19 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day MAFC Offices Closed

27-29 MidAtlantic Fruit and Vegetable Conference Hershey, PA FEB 4-7

event place

PASA Farming for the Future Conference

State College, PA

For a full list of events, please visit mafc.com

Like a lot of people who came of age during the 1960’s, I have a deep understanding of the risks and sacrifices made by the members of our military. During the Vietnam war, my small town of 565 residents lost five young men in a short span of time—three of them within two months. As a child, I rode a bus to school with two of those men… so the sadness that enveloped our town and especially those families was very personal for me. That’s why it’s also personal for me to ensure that Farm Credit is committed to helping the military families in our territory. If you have a serviceman or –woman in your community circle, and they want to start farming or buy a home, I hope that you will pass this issue of the Leader on to them. It’s full of inspiring stories of veterans, as well as information on programs and resources. Of course, my favorite part of any issue is the story of the families that use our services. Like Barry Groomes of Taneytown, who may have retired from the Coast Guard, but I certainly wouldn’t call him “retired”! Barry, along with his wife, own and operate a 17.5 acre farm, while Barry also works as an HVAC professional! Farm Credit helped them purchase the farm and build their current home. I hope you also enjoy the story of Brian and Jessica Perez, who used military discipline to run their 45 acre farm on the Eastern Shore, growing plants for Bell Nurseries. Not all veterans want to run a farming operation, but Farm Credit can help everyone with the VA loan program. You’ll see how the Bennsky family used the program to build their dream home in Warren County, Virginia. Finally, if you’re a vet who wants to start farming but you don’t know where to start, check out the story about the Veteran Organic Farming Program in Pennsylvania. It’s a partnership between Rodale Institute and Delaware Valley College—and it’s a great way to learn the skills you need to start a farm of your own. I particularly like the fact that it’s a certificate program—the partnering organizations have really thought about the obstacles to going back to school, and they have worked hard to remove them for our veterans. Veteran’s Day was just a few weeks ago, but appreciating your service—and providing service to you—is not limited to just a day here at Farm Credit. If you or someone you know is a veteran in our territory, please let us know. We’ll be happy to tell you about services made just for you. Thank you to all of our vets—and a very happy holiday season to all of our customers and friends.

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Jim Wertman, military veteran and Organic Farming Program participant, on a field trip to Roots to River Farm in New Hope, Farm and Land Pennsylvania. Students in the program visit organic operations so that they can learn from business owners.

The farm at Rodale Institute in Kutztown, Pennsylvania offers a place for veterans to apply their skills during the summer.

Unique educational opportunity for veterans story by Sally Scholle and photos by Delaware Valley College

| Veterans returning to civilian life often intend to start or return to

school, but the prospect of pursuing a four-year degree can be daunting. A unique partnership between Delaware Valley College and Rodale Institute offers veterans an opportunity to study organic farming in a certificate program, making it easier to pursue higher education.

For veteran Jim Wertman, who retired from the Navy in 2011 after serving for 21 years, the program was the perfect solution to meet his goals. “I couldn’t stand sitting at a desk and answering emails and phone calls all day,” says Jim. “I wasn’t leading people —it just wasn’t me.” Jim, who had already completed undergraduate and master’s programs at Delaware Valley College, noticed the Veteran Organic Farming Program on the college website and decided to learn more about it. Meanwhile, Jim and his wife were already living on their 13-acre Bucks County farm ‘Aro Hill’, and renting a portion of the acreage to a farmer. He wondered if he might be able to use the land himself. 4

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With time left on his Post-9/11 GI Bill, Jim decided to pursue the program that would allow him to work on his own land rather than maintain a desk job. He’s currently enrolled in the program and already has some ideas about what he’ll do after obtaining the certificate. “I’m thinking about starting a CSA (community supported agriculture) because there are only a few in the area,” says Jim. “Every one of the CSAs here has a long waiting list. There’s definitely a demand.” After completing two semesters of coursework at Delaware Valley College, he’ll spend a summer at the Rodale Institute for hands-on training. He’s currently laying out fields and making plans about how he’ll use organic practices.

“Over the next year or so, we’re going to get the farm back into shape,” says Jim, adding that his first crop will probably be in 2016. “There are some grants for veterans and beginning farmers through the USDA. I’m starting the process of forming an LLC for the farm to apply for grants to build the infrastructure.” Although Jim estimates that the land would support a 100-member CSA, he plans to offer 30 to 40 shares the first year. “We’re also going to hold on-farm dinners, festivals and barn weddings,” says Jim, adding that he hopes to show consumers how food is produced. “The farm will be open for a lot of different activities.” Jim says that his MBA skills will be helpful when it comes to managing



Adam Sharp, Marine veteran and a participant in the Organic Farming Program, at Roots to River Farm in New Hope, Pennsylvania. Sharp will spend next summer at Rodale Institute after completing coursework at Delaware Valley College.

The 333-acre farm at Rodale Institute in Kutztown, Pennsylvania allows participants to learn about the latest research in organic farming as it is being developed. Rodale is the birthplace of organic agriculture in North America and has conducted scientific research and educational outreach for more than 60 years.

designed to prepare students like Adam farm activities as a business. Another veteran who appreciates the to operate their own farm or manage an organic farm. opportunity to venture into an unknown “It’s centered on starting a business as area of study is Adam Sharp, who served quickly as possible, so the marketing comes in the Marines for four years. Although he into play,” says Adam. “My goal is to have doesn’t have a background in agriculture, Adam finds the idea of farming appealing. my own land. I would like to have at least “It seems like a good way of life,” 50 acres and my own organic restaurant on says Adam, who first experienced farming the farm. The main marketing focus would at Pennypack Farm in Fort Washington, be that everything is organic, and people Pennsylvania. “I like to stay physically can see where their food is coming from.” active, and I’d love to grow my own food During his time in the Marines, Adam and be self-sufficient.” worked with logistics and transportation Adam is well into his first semester at management. He believes that his backDelaware Valley College, and will complete ground will help him with problem solving another semester prior to the summer and interacting with people. “With farming, class at Rodale Institute. He’s also working you don’t know what’s going to happen on an organic crop farm in Pottstown. “The from day to day,” he says. whole thing is new to me,” says Adam, as Dennis Riling, program coordinator he explains his impression of the program. for the Delaware Valley College Veteran “It’s pretty straight-forward. We’re getting a Organic Farming Program, says that lot of experience right from the start. I think the college saw a unique opportunity that after a year I’ll have a good grasp of to partner with Rodale Institute to help farming organically.” returning veterans interested in farming. Classes in animal science, vegetable “They realized that a lot of veterans production, organic coming back from overseas were food and fiber, gravitating toward organic agrirodaleinstitute.org and marketing are culture,” says Dennis. “The college delval.edu/organic

saw a great opportunity to develop a certificate program of 36 credits that’s streamlined to give veterans who are coming back the education and experience they need in agriculture.” Dennis says that the threesemester program is science based, with instruction that will enable graduates to succeed in their chosen field. “We wanted to add experiential learning to the program,” says Dennis. “We think it’s important for veterans to get the academics and also the experience of planting and harvesting that they would be doing on their own farm or as employees of an organic farm. We’re also helping them put together business plans, which will help them secure financing and land.” Mark Smallwood, executive director of the Rodale Institute, is optimistic about the program. “We are humbled to be able to participate in such a program,” he says. “Our goal is to facilitate a training process that will deliver veterans a pathway to organic agriculture. We have increased interest and we have evolved the process based on the feedback from the veterans we train.” l volume 19 | ISSUE 4 | mafc.com | 5


From the sea to the farm: How the Coast Guard made Barry Groomes the farmer he is today | It was the final episode of Gilligan’s Island that set 19-year-old Barry Groomes on the path that he would follow for the next 20 years. “It was 2 a.m. and I couldn’t sleep,” he remembers. “I was working the midnight shift as a machinist, as well as at an auto body shop. There were constant layoffs at work and I just wasn’t sure this was how I wanted to spend the rest of my life. I didn’t see myself working on my family’s horse farm, either.

story and photos by susan walker

I was watching Gilligan’s Island. When the Coast Guard cutter sailed up and rescued the castaways, I sat up. I said to myself, ‘I want to be on that boat!’” He went to his local armed services recruiting office. Both the Army and Navy tried to recruit him, but he wanted to see what the Coast Guard had to offer. After interviewing, he knew the Coast Guard was where he belonged. “I wanted to help people, I wanted to drive boats, and my experience as a machinist was something this branch of the service really needed since so many of their vessels were old and in need of constant repair,” he explains. “I qualified as a machinery technician and the

Coast Guard sent me to school to learn a whole new set of skills, from working with hydraulics and turbine engines to electrician skills and engine repair and maintenance.” When he joined the Coast Guard, Barry hoped to be stationed in Alaska and have the chance to explore a place that was completely different from his rural Maryland roots. Although that opportunity didn’t come his way, he was excited to start his career in Annapolis, Maryland, working search and rescue missions throughout the Chesapeake Bay area for five years. After his time in Annapolis, Barry spent three years shipboard in Curtis

Bay, Maryland, during which time he advanced to the rank of Petty Officer 1st Class. “I didn’t spend my downtime watching TV or goofing off,” he says. “I studied and learned about different machinery systems and administrative duties that helped me advance quickly through the ranks.” During his 20 years in the Coast Guard, as his postings took him from Maryland’s Eastern Shore back to Curtis Bay, and overseas as Chief Engineering to Hokkaido, Japan, learning new skills was an important part of Barry’s career. He attended more than 20 different schools, acquiring skills that he still uses today on his 17.5-acre farm and in his

Barry (left) explains to loan officer Bill Schrodel that one of the main Farm Land lessons he learnedand in the Coast Guard was that the workday isn’t over until the job is done, a principle he’s followed all his life.

During his Coast Guard career, Barry and his shipmates made more than 770 sorties a year or 270 days/year under way.




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career as a heating, ventilation and air conditioning professional. While pursuing a successful career with the Coast Guard, Barry was also building a life on land. He met and married his wife Nancy, who taught elementary school in the Carroll County, Maryland school system for 30 years. Together, they ran a horse, cattle and hay operation on a 32-acre farm in Pleasant Valley for a number of years. In 1985, they purchased a farm in Taneytown where they raised their two sons and still live today. When they purchased the 10-acre farm, it needed a significant amount of work. There was no foundation for the house on the property, no fence for the horses and cows they brought with them from Pleasant Valley, no water or electric in the barn, and no pasture. Fortunately, Barry had acquired most of the skills

needed to whip their new farm and equipment into shape. Over the years, they purchased 7.5 additional acres and built a new house on the property in 1992. “We worked with Farm Credit to buy this farm and build the house,” Barry remembers. “Interest rates were high at the time, but about two years into the loan, our loan officer, Bill Schrodel, called and said, ‘We want to refinance your loan now that rates have gone down.’ You won’t find that with commercial banks. They really put the customer’s interests first. We always put our patronage refund towards rolling back our loan principal, so we were able to pay off our mortgage five years early and save a lot of money. That’s something else we wouldn’t have been able to do with another lender.” In 1999, Barry retired from the Coast Guard at age 39. “He was home for exactly one day,” says Nancy. “He got a

job working for an HVAC contractor and went right to work.” Explains Barry, “I’ve never been one for sitting around. Be productive while you can. That’s a belief I’ve always followed, in the Coast Guard and in the rest of my life.” Barry says much of what he learned during his decades in the Coast Guard he’s been able to apply to his work on the farm, and the company he works for. “The budget was always tight in the Coast Guard, so I learned how to manage money very carefully,” he says. “You learn to reuse and repurpose parts and be creative doing your job. You have to decide what you need versus what you’d like to have. You learn to rely on yourself and the skills you’ve learned to get what needs to be done. And you learn not to limit yourself. You’re smarter than you think! And if you don’t know how to do something, you can always learn how. I did.” l

Barry’s wife, Nancy, was raised riding and showing horses, an interest she passed on to their two sons.

While their new home was being built, Nancy oversaw the day-to-day construction issues while Barry was deployed, and Barry spent his shore leave working on the properties in preparation for the next deployment.


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Greenhouse growing with military precision




Brian Perez (on left) and his wife Jessica (center) worked with Farm Credit loan officer Cara Sylvester to secure an operating loan for purchasing young plants that they’ll grow for Bell Nursery.

Once plants are ready for shipment, the plants are arranged on carts in a pleasing manner so that the carts are ready for placement in Home Depot stores.

During the growing season, the Perez’s greenhouse is brimming with color. Jessica Perez handles the daily greenhouse work including watering, temperature control and monitoring for pests.

story and photos by Sally Colby

| Brian and Jessica Perez admit that they knew nothing about farming when they purchased

a 45-acre property on Maryland’s Eastern shore. But they learned quickly, and just completed their third year of growing annuals.

When the Perezes purchased the farm that included a one-half acre, fully automated greenhouse, their goal was to start building a business that would provide income for their family when Brian retired from his military career. “We grow flowers for Bell Nursery,” says Brian, who is currently serving as an Inspector General in the National Guard. “Bell provides plants for Home Depot stores throughout the Mid-Atlantic. We assume the product and then sell the product back to the company.” Although the Perezes didn’t have experience as growers, they learned quickly through training provided by Bell Nursery and assistance from other Bell growers in the area. The former owner of the property also provided tips about watering, spraying, maintenance, and operating the greenhouse systems. “It’s typical for this kind of network,” 8

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says Jessica, referring to Bell’s willingness to use inexperienced growers. “They want people who aren’t necessarily horticulturists so they can train them. Our lifeline is the Bell consultant who has been doing this for a long time.” The Perezes have full access to their consultant and can ask questions or present problems at any time. “We can call, email or send him pictures of the flowers,” says Brian. “With smartphones, we can take pictures and show him what we see.” Jessica says that working closely with their consultant is critical for success, and success was especially important following the harsh winter of 2014. “The demand for flowers was high,” says Jessica. “We were double-fertilizing, back to back.” The young plants arrive at the Perezes’ greenhouse in March, and within a week, the greenhouse is brimming with petunias, begonias, impatiens, zinnias,

marigolds, and ageratum. It’s up to Brian and Jessica to grow each species to maturity and prepare them for shipment to Bell’s warehouse for further distribution to Home Depot stores. Jessica handles the day-to-day work in the greenhouse including watering, fertilizing and checking for signs of disease. She spends five hours in the greenhouse each morning, then returns in the afternoon to check moisture levels. “There’s finesse to watering,” she says. “When it’s growing season, we are in the greenhouse throughout the day. It’s possible to wreck a product within a very short time and it can go out of Bell’s standard. There is no room for producing anything less—Bell does not want an inferior product.” Throughout the growing season, Jessica must estimate the amount of space that each plant will require, and



The Perez’s two young boys are learning what it takes to operate a greenhouse. Here, they help their parents organize hanging baskets.

The Perez’s greenhouse includes fully automated systems to manage ventilation, watering and temperature control.

arrange (and rearrange) pots so that each receives optimum light and moisture. She keeps the growing area clean and watches for signs of insects or disease. An IPM (integrated pest management) consultant visits the greenhouse each week to check soil, moisture levels, salinity, and pH. He also places sticky cards to monitor for insect pests. The greenhouse undergoes two ‘turns’ each growing season. The greenhouse is filled, plants mature and leave, and then another shipment of young plants arrives. Each year, the Perezes ship about 25 tractor-trailer loads of plants ready for the market. But growing the plants is only part of the task. Before plants leave the greenhouse headed for Bell’s warehouse, it’s up to Brian and Jessica to make sure that each plant is properly watered and clean and free of debris, with no dead blooms or dropped leaves. Then it’s time to put plants onto the carts —a process that takes patience, planning and a bit of color-savvy.

“We have to stage the cart,” Jessica says, as she explained the process of placing plants on the carts for the highest possible customer appeal. “We determine how many colors of each plant should go on the cart, and we make sure colors are varied and that there are plenty to choose from. We have to space the shelves at a specific height so that when the consumer pulls a plant out, the tops of the plants aren’t broken off.” Brian’s military experience with prioritizing tasks and managing details is valuable when there’s lot of work to be accomplished in a short time. He works with Jessica when it’s time to prepare the carts for shipment, and is becoming a seasoned stager. “When we pick plants for the cart, each plant has a requirement for the number of flowers,” he says. “For example, marigolds have to have four flowers in each pot—we can’t send a pot with just three blooms.” Plants are loaded at night and Brian’s work schedule allows him to be

home for that critical part of the growing cycle. “There’s only a certain amount of time to get the flowers prepared and loaded,” he says. “The goal is to always get the freshest possible product to the consumer.” Jessica notes that they assume all of the risk involved in growing the crop and that their responsibility doesn’t end until the crop is approved at the distribution center. Farm Credit loan officer Cara Sylvester worked with the Perezes when they purchased the farm three years ago, and arranges an annual operating loan that allows them to purchase the flowers they’ll grow each season. Although this is their first farming experience, Brian and Jessica have enjoyed learning about greenhouse growing and look forward to continuing their long-range plan for Brian’s retirement. “We balance each other out,” says Jessica. “We make it work.” l

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VA loan program helps couple build their dream home in the woods Story and photos by Star Traylor Friend | Derek and Lisa Bennsky aren’t your typical farmers. There is no livestock on their 40-acre Warren County, Virginia, property. There are no rows of corn or soybeans, no plows or tractors. The Bennskys only recently moved into their customized modular home on a wooded parcel of what was, for several generations, a working farm owned by the Powell family.

Derek and Lisa, who are both in their early 30s, liked the property because they knew it would give them the privacy they wanted after years of living in tiny fixer-ups purchased in foreclosure sales. “We actually had originally bought a piece of property on the northwest end of the county,” Lisa says. “The more we thought practically, we realized we wanted the privacy of the woods and we want to be able to live how we choose because Derek likes to shoot guns and hunt.” As Derek explains, “We wanted to be able to walk outside and not see anybody.” The agricultural aspect of the Bennsky’s new homestead is tied to tree stewardship and land conservation. They plan to replace many of the trees on the property with species more likely to thrive

there—possibly including the American chestnut. Additionally, just by buying all 40 acres, the Bennskys have saved the land from development for as long as they live there. The plan means tax credits for the Bennskys and savings to Warren County. The couple was eligible for a VA (Veteran Affairs) loan from Farm Credit to refinance the purchase of the property because of Derek’s service in the Air Force. He was on active duty from 1999 to 2007 and in the Reserves from 2007 to 2010, achieving the rank of Staff Sergeant. Derek says he wasn’t entirely sure what he wanted to do when he graduated from high school, but his father gave him a few options. “My dad told me I had three choices: go to college, go into the military, or get a job, but he said, ‘You are not

staying at home,’” Derek recalls. His first two years with the Air Force were spent in the Presidential Honor Guard, where he served as a body bearer. Body bearers carry the remains of deceased service members to their final resting place at Arlington National Cemetery. He also served as an usher during George W. Bush’s inauguration and as a wreath bearer at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Derek went on to do computer networking in the military and was deployed to Kuwait for three months during the summer of 2002. “The first time I went to Starbucks was in Kuwait,” Derek says. “It’s exactly like Starbucks here.” While American military personnel had plenty of choices in terms of Western businesses to patronize, going shopping in

Conserving land and planting trees are part of Derek and Lisa Bennsky’s long-term plan for their secluded 40-acre property in Warren County, Virginia. The property makes the perfect retreat for the couple, who both work for the Army Corps of Engineers in Winchester.

Derek and Lisa Bennsky talk with Ruth Boden, a loan officer with Farm Credit, on the porch of their new home. Boden processed their loan for the property through the VA loan program. Derek and Lisa are still in the process of putting the finishing touches on their home.




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Kuwait was not exactly like an outing here in the United States. “When you returned to your vehicle, you had to inspect the under carriage to make sure there wasn’t a bomb underneath,” he recalls. In 2005, Derek earned a bachelor’s degree in computer networking from Strayer University. From 2007 to 2010, he worked as a criminal investigator in the Reserves while also working in information technology for the Army Corps of Engineers office in Winchester, Virginia. His job in the Reserves was to investigate federal crimes such as rape, drug offenses and fraud that were allegedly committed by military personnel. One of the challenges was switching gears to do that for two weeks at a time, then coming back to his civilian life and job. Reflecting on his military service, Derek said the most rewarding job he did was in the Honor Guard because “not only did we represent ourselves, we represented each member, past and present, of the

United States Air Force, and that was truly a great honor.” In 2010, he married Lisa, who by that time was also working for the Army Corps of Engineers doing project management. The couple had known each other since childhood and started dating in 2008. The first time Derek called Lisa for a date, she didn’t realize he was interested in her romantically and she arrived with several friends. Not long afterward, she came home one day to find roses and a letter from Derek saying that if he didn’t reveal his feelings for her, he would always regret it. He proposed in 2009, about the same time Lisa started working for the Army Corps of Engineers. “In one week, we went from dating to being engaged to driving to work together every day,” Lisa says. The two bought their Warren County property with land and construction loans that were later refinanced into a VA loan through Farm Credit. Loan officer Ruth

Boden said the loans are available to any honorably discharged veterans and may include an option for 100 percent financing without mortgage insurance. Lisa, who considered majoring in architecture in college, but instead graduated with a psychology degree, merged plans for several different modular units to create the couple’s dream home, which features a vaulted ceiling on one side and a loft on the other. Derek’s upstairs “man cave” has a theater-sized projection screen television where their friends gather to watch sports. Work on the house began in November 2013 and was mostly completed in June 2014, although they’re still putting the finishing touches on the house. Their former homes are now rental properties, but the Bennskys say their newest purchase is their “forever home,” where they can relax with their beloved black Labrador Retriever, Pepper Anne, and enjoy the view. l

Derek and Lisa Bennsky relax inside their new home. It was created using plans from more than one modular unit and features a number of modern conveniences including an open floor plan, loft, fireplace, large walk-in closets, and fog-resistant electric mirrors in the shower.

The American chestnut (pictured below) is one of the trees the Bennskys plan to plant on their land in the near future.


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Homegrown Where to begin… by Heroes

Are you a veteran interested in farming? Or perhaps you have already started,

A food identification program for veteran farmers Introduced in 2013 by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Homegrown by Heroes (HBH) is a certification label available to military veterans who grow and sell food products. In 2014, the Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) began certifying the use of the HBH label, making it available to eligible veterans and active duty military members in all 50 states. Today, the FVC is working with Farm Credit to help us extend this program to our customers who are farmers and/or agricultural producers and have served in any branch of the United States Military. Producers with the certification are provided with the HGH logo and marketing materials which can be used on websites, signage, packaging, and more. If you’re a veteran interested in the program, please call 888.339.3334 or visit hgbh.org.

If you’re a consumer and you want to support our veteran farmers, be sure to look for products with this symbol on the packaging!

but you’re looking for more guidance? You’ll find some handy resources listed below. Our staff is also available to talk it through with you, so give us a call.

National • Farmer Veteran Coalition | farmvetco.org Delaware • Young Farmers Program | Delaware Department of Agriculture | dda.delaware.gov/young_farmers.shtml Maryland • Maryland Farm Bureau | www.mdfarmbureau.com | Resource Guide: mdfarmbureau.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/ FBVetGuide_LR_Final1-2014.pdf Pennsylvania • Delaware Valley College: Veteran Organic Farming Program | delval.edu/academics/for-military-members-veterans/ veteran-organic-farming-program#close • The Seed Farm: New Farmer Training | theseedfarm.org/new-farmer-training Virginia • Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition | Virginia Tech | vabeginningfarmer.alce.vt.edu/ • Virginia State University’s Small Farm outreach program | Virginia State University | agriculture.vsu.edu/special-programs/ cooperative-extension/small-farm-outreach.php West Virginia • Veterans and Warriors to Agriculture, West Virginia Warriors to Veterans Project, and West Virginia Department of Agriculture | wvagriculture.org

From sea to shining sea…

Since 2012, Burpee® has been distributing seed packets to veterans across the country as part of their Welcome Home Garden initiative. It is the company’s mission to help our nation’s veterans find peace and tranquility through growing their own flowers and produce. Today, 165,000 military families are participating in the Welcome Home Garden program. Each envelope contains 12 seed packets, Entries must be submitted by December 31, 2014.


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including marigolds, tomatoes, sweet peppers, spinach, carrots, and more. Over the past two years, 1,840,000 packets have been distributed, resulting in 2,800 miles of gardens being planted and 100,000,000

pounds of produce being harvested! Attention Veterans: Are you interested in gardening? Or, have you found gardening to be a way to relax? Email your story to jkreisher@mafc.com and you could win a Welcome Home Garden prize package, including the seed packet, gardening gloves, and a tote bag full of garden tools!

An Investment in our Future

MidAtlantic Farm Credit will be awarding $18,000 in scholarships this year to students who plan to or are currently continuing their education at the college level! To apply for one of the several scholarships we offer, you need to either be a member of MidAtlantic Farm Credit or a child of a current member. The complete list of guidelines and the application can be found online at mafc.com. Applications are also available in all of MidAtlantic Farm Credit’s offices. Feel free to stop by and pick one up. The due date for all applications and supporting materials to be turned into MidAtlantic Farm Credit is on or before January 16, 2015. Good Luck!


Save the Dates! 2015 Annual Meetings

With 2014 coming to a close, we’re already starting to plan for the next year, which includes our annual meetings! The dates are noted on the 2015 Farm Credit wall calendar (which are available in each of our offices), but we have announced them here, too. More information on these meetings will be available in the next issue of the Leader. We look forward to seeing you there! April 7: Wicomico Youth & Civic Center

Salisbury, MD

April 8: Modern Maturity Center Dover, DE April 9: Yoder Restaurant & Buffet New Holland, PA April 14: Walkersville Fire Hall Walkersville, MD April 15: The Banquet Hall at Millwood Station Winchester, VA

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Each year, we receive hundreds of photos from our loyal fans and customers for our calendar contest. Here are this year’s winners! Be sure to stop by your local Farm Credit office to pick-up our 2015 calendar, and stay tuned for information on our next calendar contest! Cover photo:


Calendar Winners May


Callista Miller Fleetwood, PA

Michael Martin Martinsburg, WV

Michael Shearer Mount Joy, PA




Elaine Schwetz Gordonville, PA

Bobbi Jo Webber Clayton, DE

Sarah Bailey Knoxville, MD




Heather Robertson Lancaster, PA

Angela Myronovych Pennpack Park, PA



Melanie Lloyd Seaford, DE


Jenny Hendershot Clear Spring, MD

Kristen Mohr Nottingham, MD

Elaine Schwetz Mount Joy, PA

Lorraine Jones Westminster, MD

Bonnie Wright Baltimore County, MD

Paul Vanderveen Arlington, VA

Florinda Oross Melanie Lloyd Denton, MD Seaford, DE Sue Yonker Fleetwood, PA Callista Miller Fleetwood, PA

Kristen Mohr Nottingham, MD

Amanda Knackstedt Cochranville, PA

Florinda Oross Denton, MD

Season’s Greetings! And best wishes for a healthy and joyful New Year!


| volume 19 | ISSUE 4 | mafc.com

Elaine Schwetz Mount Joy, PA

Kristen Mohr Nottingham, MD

George Harple Bel Air, MD

Show us your #felfie We’re taking selfies to a whole new level! Each Friday, while you’re working in the field, tending to your animals or just taking a walk in the beautiful countryside, snap a selfie and upload it to your social media accounts using #felfiefriday. You’ll have a chance to be featured in the next issue of the Leader or on MAFC’s Facebook page. @cierrabennetch








All photos taken from social media channels. volume 19 | issue 4 | mafc.com | 15


Delmar, Delaware

Seaford, Delaware

32+ acre site offers main residence and caretaker’s home, 34 stall stable, half mile track, storage buildings, ponds, fencing, and pasture. Property consists of three separate parcels, additional home site included. Great location, close to beaches and major highways. $595,000. Contact Roger Sansom, ERA Martin Associates, 410.251.8574.

A working farm (30 acres) with a residential oasis (3 acres) in in the middle of the fields and surrounded by trees boasts a three-bedroom, two-bath renovated farmhouse, a detached two-car garage, a stable with a fenced pasture, a corncrib/lean-to, two pump houses, and two other outbuildings. $499,500. Contact Fred Sponseller, Cooper Realty Associates, 302.258.6983.

Cambridge, Maryland

Meticulously maintained, this sun-filled rancher on the Chicamacomico River is move-in ready. 900 feet of rip-rapped shoreline, private dock with six foot water depth, and boat ramp. Large barn, ready for horses. New heat pump, new BAT septic, new siding, new roof, wood stove, huge family room, and hardwood floors. $379,900. Contact Dawn M. Kyle, Champion Realty, Inc., 410.310.5899.

Boonsboro, Maryland

Your dream home on 27 tranquil acres awaits! Six bedrooms, four baths on four finished levels. Huge two-car garage, enormous decks, beamed/ vaulted ceilings and skylights, gourmet kitchen, laundry/mud room, main level master suite with sauna, double loft, three-zoned heating/electrical, even your own stocked pond! $675,000. Contact Diane Derr, RE/MAX Results, 301.624.5458.

Denton, Maryland

Great home on five acres of privacy on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Tree-lined circular driveway leads you to this amazing 3,268 sq. ft., four-bedroom, three and a half bath home offering many upgrades. Large kitchen with cathedral ceiling, large center island, stainless steel appliances , brick fireplace with woodstove insert. First floor master suite. Patio area off of kitchen. Close to Tuckahoe State Park and Equestrian Center. Great property and location for horses. Easy commute to Bay Bridge and close to all amenities. $389,900. Contact Terri Murray, RE/MAX Executive, 443.540.6209

Need financing for any of these properties? Call your local Farm Credit office. All of the properties listed on these pages are offered for sale by local, licensed Realtors and Auctioneers. MidAtlantic Farm Credit is not affiliated with these properties, nor are we responsible for content or typographical errors. Please call the Realtor or Auctioneer listed for more information.


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Eden, Maryland

Federalsburg, Maryland

Over 50 acres with plenty of room for your dreams! Established homesite with modern well and septic. Former vineyard is served by its own well. The land is well drained by ditches that are part of the Smithville Lake system. About 2/3 in woods, rest is open land. Farm, hunt, play in the country! $283,000. Contact Deborah J. “Deb” Hawkins, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, 410.224.2200.

Easton five acre farmette with four bedrooms and three and a half baths, two stable barn with electric water, fly spray system, fenced pasture, five-car garage/workshop, and in-ground pool. Located on Kintore Lake. $665,000. Contact Christie Bishop, Benson & Mangold Real Estate, 410.829.2781 or 410.770.9255.

Enjoy living on a waterfront paradise on over 117 acres. Four ponds, located on the river, with five fenced pastures. Horse barns with 24 box stalls and show arena. $2,500,000. Contact Bill Martin, ERA Martin Associates, 410.430.5262.

Frostburg, Maryland

Jefferson, Maryland

Princess Anne, Maryland

Spacious home with sunroom, large closets, updated kitchen with large pantry and full appliance package. HVAC, ceiling fans, updated lighting, master bath suite with tub for two, and separate laundry room with full size wash and dryer on master suite level. Expand into full unfinished walkout basement with stone fireplace. $184,500. Contact Deb Bargeski, Re/Max Plus, 301.748.6719.

Welcome to Gapland Farm. Nestled on top of the Catoctin Mountains with incredible views of the valley below. Over 31 acres with 12 acres fenced-in for horses. House is unique, with Franklin Lloyd Wright influence. Three bay barn with two-bedroom, two-bath apartment. Lots of wildlife and tranquility. $996,500. Contact Gary Preston, Remax Results, 301.639.3119 or 301.698.5005.

66 acre private country retreat! 2,300 sq. ft. log home in perfect condition with open concept. 16 acres tillable and 50 acres wooded. Back of home overlooks 1 acre pond. 50’ x 100’ pole building with heat and air. Bring your horses! Possible location for home business. Additional 50 acres available. $649,000. Contact Mike Alford, Coldwell Banker, 240.463.0122.

Rohrersville, Maryland



Sabillasville, Maryland



Historic Beelers Summit in Pleasant Valley. Home is very private, located back a lane and surrounded by farm land. Features include three bedrooms and two and half baths remodeled in 2008, wood floors, four acres, stable, and pasture. Pasture needs some TLC. Spring-fed stream, in ground pool. $384,000. REALTOR Contact Debbie Whitmore, South Mountain Realty & Auction Co., OPPORTUNITY OPPORTUNITY 301.432.2040. ®


Properties for sale

Easton, Maryland


Custom-built country farmhouse offers privacy on 26+ wooded acres. Four bedrooms and three and a half baths with great room, sunroom, huge kitchen, four fireplaces, and numerous decks and porches. RV storage, separate shop with five bays can store up to seven cars. Property includes pond and playhouse. Gator, tractor and lift also for sale. $699,000. Contact Lori Duke, Bach & Associates, 301.695.9600.

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Salisbury, Maryland

Beautiful, exceptional horse farm on over seven acres! Five bedrooms, four and a half baths, 4,000 sq. ft. luxurious home with special appointments. Barn with five stalls, tack room and workroom. Additional acreage available! $475,000. Contact Lois Clohessy, ERA Martin Associates, 443.783.4443.

Sharpsburg, Maryland

Most prominent property in Sharpsburg “Antietam”, Eastlake Victorian built 1908. Three finished floors, six suites with sitting rooms and six full baths. Juxtaposed on almost 8 acres with approvals for expansion and plenty of room for horses in fenced pasture. The home is currently operated as “The Inn at Antietam”. $794,500. Contact Mark Svrcek, RE/MAX All Pro, 301.962.4800.

Thurmont, Maryland

Thurmont, Maryland

Spectacular log home on 5+ acres. Woodland home is private yet close to all conveniences. Close to National & State parks. Newer kitchen appliances, roof, new carpeting, wood stove, pond, backyard patio, and a low maintenance yard. A large attic, outdoor storage shed and wood shed offer plenty storage space. $299,900. Contact Nate Mangum, Re/Max Results, 301.788.0063.

Unique, secluded property! 28+ beautiful wooded acres, main house with three bedrooms and two full baths, newer roof, HVAC, flooring, etc. with full basement. Tenant house has open floor plan with large master suite on main level, newer roof, HVAC, flooring, etc. Lovely getaway or family compound! $449,900. Contact Cynthia Grimes, J&B Real Estate, Inc., 301.271.3487.

East Greenville, Pennsylvania 54-acre farm with two residences. Circa 1840 stone house with kitchen, living room, den, three bedrooms, and two baths. Circa 1790 log house with kitchen, living room, two bedrooms, and full bath. Amenities include bank barn, garage, utility building, near Macoby Creek. Almost all tillable, with large, flat fields. Five miles from Quakertown exit on PA Turnpike. $850,000. Contact Gary and Jonathan Coles, New Pennsylvania Realty, Inc. 610.398.2559.


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Skyesville, Maryland

Beautiful farmland. 83.37 acres: 51.24 acres agriculture and 32.1335 acres in conservation. Can be sub-divided. Farmhouse and trailer leased month to month. Potential uses are single-family, nursing homes, continuing care, assisted living, or riding academy. Agriculture land is currently leased. $1,200,000. Contact Eddie Keel, Remax Advantage, 443.812.2156.

Doylestown, Pennsylvania

Private setting in Bucks County. Long paved driveway leads back to newer brick front executive style colonial with four bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms on six and a half level and picturesque acres. Many upgrades! Two small Amish-built barns and three paddocks. Trails on property. $695,000. Contact Cindy Stys, Cindy Stys Equestrian & Country Properties, 610.849.1790.

Kutztown, Pennsylvania

Unique opportunity to own 50 bucolic acres in beautiful Weisenberg Twp. 2,000 sq. ft. farmhouse with pond, two barns, 13+ stalls, outbuildings, endless pastures, and taxes under $3,400! Now’s the time to start your dream business...a vineyard, equine venture or simply enjoy this private oasis all to yourself. The possibilities are endless. $799,000. Contact Jackie Grynaviski, The Frederick Group, 484.515.0319.

Kempton, Pennsylvania

Lititz, Pennsylvania

Dream of owning a horse farm? This 24+ acre farm with six-stall horse barn, four pastures and tillable acreage. Live in the spacious four-bedroom, two-bath farm home with huge bedrooms (one on the first floor), hardwood floors, wood stove, family room, dining room, garage, lots of storage, shed, first-floor laundry, new roof, central air, and more! “Clean and green”. $359,000. Contact Shawn Koppenhaver, Century 21 Krall Real Estate, 717.679.2482.

Renovated three-bedroom, two and a half bath stone- end bank barn. 22+ acres, quiet country setting, open floor plan, kitchen with handcrafted custom cabinets, granite counters, and tile backsplash, lofted great room with cathedral ceiling, and random width floors. Sunroom with tile and exposed stone, two master bedroom suites, garage with work bays. $650,000. Contact Lisa Tiger, Century 21 Gold, 610.779.2500 or 610.207.6186.

Fantastic opportunity to own a working farm in the heart of Lancaster County! Large farmhouse, bank barn, tillable land and pasture, this property offers many possible uses, including subdivision as it is zoned R1. $799,000. Contact Jason Burkholder, Weichert Realtors— Engle & Hambright, 717.291.1041.

Quarryville, Pennsylvania

Edinburg, Virginia

Stephens City, Virginia

57.8 acre farm with a large eight-bedroom, 6,160 sq. ft. home with open floor plan, multiple barns with 23 horse stalls, multiple run-in sheds, 28’ x 50’ garage, and more. Fenced pasture, tillable acres, mature landscaping, and shade trees. Subject to Act 319 Clean & Green, but not in Ag Preserves. $1,400,000. Contact Christ Taylor, Beiler-Campbell Realtors, 717.786.8000.

Beautiful home with pastoral views! This lovely home has a dining room, family room open to deck, sunroom, den, office, first and second floor master suite with sitting area, plus two more bedrooms, handicap accessible bath, walk-in closets, and full basement with rec room and workshop. Three-stall barn on four acres, arena, and more! $393,000. Contact Anita Rhodes, Johnston & Rhodes Real Estate, 540.459.9650.

Cozy farmette with lots of possibilities! Wellmaintained farmhome features numerous bedrooms, large eat-in kitchen, open fields, large storage shed, stream, and small spring-fed pond. Enclosed front porch. Sources of heat include outdoor wood furnace, electric or gas. Over 2,100 finished sq. ft. $375,000. Contact Bruce Crabill, Sager Real Estate, 540.481.0348.

Properties for sale

Jonestown, Pennsylvania

What puts the life in your lifestyle? EQUAL HOUSING







If you have a dream to add more life to your lifestyle— whether it’s a pond for your kids to enjoy, fencing to keep your puppy safe and close to home, or even a brand new farm that would give everyone a little more room—call your local Farm Credit office. We want to be your lender for life.











888.339.3334 mafc.com













volume 19 | issue 4 | mafc.com | 19


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Leader: Heroes in the Field  

In this issue, we feature customers who have or are currently serving in our country's military.

Leader: Heroes in the Field  

In this issue, we feature customers who have or are currently serving in our country's military.