Farm Credit Marks 98 Years of Service to U.S. Agriculture & Rural America

I_BioStar_Farm_CreditJuly 17, 2014– Nearly 100 years after the U.S. Congress established Farm Credit www.farmcredit.com to serve as a reliable source of credit for the nation’s farmers and ranchers, Farm Credit of the Virginias and the entire Farm Credit System remain a sound and vital financial resource for rural America. Today marks the cooperative networks’ 98th anniversary.

 

“For 98 years, the Farm Credit System has served agriculture and rural America as a dedicated, reliable, competitive, customer-owned source of credit,” said Dave Lawrence, President of Farm Credit of the Virginias. “America’s agricultural producers and rural communities have benefited greatly from the vision and foresight that went into establishing the Farm Credit System.”

 

Today, about 40 percent of the dollar volume of outstanding loans to U.S. farmers and ranchers comes from Farm Credit. The federally chartered network is comprised of 82 privately owned institutions, including four wholesale banks and 78 direct lending associations that operate in every county in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

 

In support of its mission of service, Farm Credit System institutions also have programs specifically focused on meeting the needs of young, beginning and small farm and ranch operators. In 2013, more than 40 percent of new loans made by Farm Credit were to small producers, those with annual gross agricultural sales of $250,000 or less.

 

“Our cooperative model is designed specifically to ensure that our lending and related financial services are driven by the needs of our borrower-owners,” commented Dave Lawrence President of Farm Credit of the Virginias. “Our focus remains on the success of our owners rather than on achieving quarterly returns to impress stockholders.”

 

Farm Credit’s commitment to its borrower-owners is demonstrated further by the fact that associations share profits directly with borrowers through patronage dividends. In 2013, Farm Credit of the Virginias delivered twenty-one million in cash patronage, allowing borrower-owners to reinvest in their own operations and to further support rural communities through local spending.

 

”Today, Farm Credit celebrates its heritage as it continues to fulfill its mission to serve U.S. agriculture and rural America,” Barry Shelor, Farm Credit of the Virginas Chairman of the Board of Directors said. “Farm Credit was established as a permanent system of credit that is to be responsive to the needs of our nation’s agricultural sector, and we look forward to continued success and a bright future.”

 

Farm Credit of the Virginias provides over $1.5 billion dollars in financing to more than 10,000 farmers, agribusinesses and rural homeowners throughout Virginia, West Virginia and western Maryland. Farm Credit is a cooperative capitalized largely through investments made by farmers, ranchers and the rural homeowners and businesses that borrow from them.  Farm Credit helps maintain and improve the quality of life in rural America and on the farm through its constant commitment to competitive lending,  expert financial services and for facilitating and sharing knowledge and resources through the Farm Credit Knowledge Center.   For more information, visit www.FarmCreditKnowledgeCenter.com or www.FarmCreditofVirginias.com.

Categories: General Information

Homegrown by Heroes Certification Boost Veteran-Made Goods

Homegrown by HeroesFarm Credit of the Virginias, as part of the nationwide Farm Credit System, is proud to announce the national launch of the Homegrown By Heroes initiative. This program allows farmers, ranchers, fishermen and the like from all 50 states and U.S. territories who have served or are serving in any branch of the U.S. military, the ability to use the Homegrown By Heroes logo on their products—a way consumers can support our country’s farmer veterans.

This initiative was kick started with a donation from The Farm Credit system last November.  The Farmer Veteran Coalition, working with its partners at Farm Credit, American Farm Bureau Federation, and the National Farmers Union, are making their goal to have Homegrown By Heroes products household items in all 50 states.

Only 16 percent of America’s population lives in rural areas, yet 40 percent of the men and women who serve in the U.S. military come from those same rural communities. Veterans possess the unique skills and character needed to strengthen rural communities, and food production offers purpose, opportunity, and physical and psychological benefits to those veterans. At a time when Post-9/11 veterans are experiencing a 9 percent unemployment rate (compared to the national average of 6.3 percent), agriculture can be a meaningful solution for veterans returning home and looking to provide for their families. The Homegrown By Heroes label will afford consumers the opportunity to thank a veteran for their service by purchasing their farm products.

To qualify for the Homegrown By Heroes label, one must have served honorably or still be serving in any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, and be at least 50 percent owner and/or operator of the farm business. Veterans of all eras are encouraged to apply. FVC staff assists applicants in developing food safety plans and, if needed, business plans. FVC is now accepting and processing Homegrown By Heroes applications, which can be completed at http://www.hgbh.org.

Farm Credit of the Virginias provides over $1.5 billion dollars in financing to more than 10,000 farmers, agribusinesses and rural homeowners throughout Virginia, West Virginia and western Maryland. Farm Credit is a cooperative capitalized largely through investments made by farmers, ranchers and the rural homeowners and businesses that borrow from them.  Farm Credit helps maintain and improve the quality of life in rural America and on the farm through its constant commitment to competitive lending,  expert financial services and for facilitating and sharing knowledge and resources through the Farm Credit Knowledge Center.   For more information, visit www.FarmCreditKnowledgeCenter.com or www.FarmCreditofVirginias.com.

 

Categories: General Information

From the Field: 2014 Citizenship Washington Focus

The 2014 Citizenship Washington Focus (CWF) program is held throughout each summer at the National 4-H Center. Farm Credit is a proud sponsor of 4-H and the program through the National Contributions Program.

For more than 50 years, thousands of high school youth from across the nation have travelled to Washington, D.C. each summer to partake in the preeminent 4-H citizenship and leadership experience—Citizenship Washington Focus (CWF). These delegates are given an opportunity to strengthen their communication, leadership, and citizenship skills; understand the importance of civic and social responsibilities; exchange ideas, practice respect, and form friendships with other youth from diverse backgrounds; and, experience hands-on learning using the historical backdrop of Washington, D.C.

This week in Washington, several delegates who earned CWF scholarships through Farm Credit’s partnership with 4-H got a behind the scenes look at the legislative process. On Wednesday, June 25, a House Agriculture subcommittee hearing was held to examine the availability of essential credit to help finance the endeavors of rural America. MidAtlantic Farm Credit CEO Bob Frazee participated in a panel at the hearings, as did representatives from the Farm Credit Administration, the Farm Service Agency, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and commercial and community banks.

The delegates learned a great deal about the importance of keeping the business of agriculture financially viable. Frazee told the subcommittee about Farm Credit’s mission of service to rural America and the importance of making credit available to farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses with a growing need for capital.

“It should be of no surprise to the Committee that when you look across Farm Credit’s loan portfolio you will see represented in it the broad array of operations that are U.S. agriculture,” Frazee said. “The Farm Credit Act was designed to ensure that we can continue to meet the needs of agriculture, cooperatives and rural infrastructure as they have developed.”

In addition to attending the hearing, the CWF delegates had a chance throughout the week to hear from motivational speakers, attend educational workshops and assemblies, and participate in other exercises to increase their individual commitment to citizen involvement.

As the largest youth development organization in America, 4-H helps millions of our country’s young people develop leadership skills, embrace a spirit of community service and learn important life lessons. Farm Credit is proud of its long partnership with the National 4-H Council and the young leaders they help to develop.

“The financial support and numerous volunteer hours provided by Farm Credit have allowed us to help millions of young people learn leadership skills and embrace community service,” said Jennifer Sirangelo, CEO of National 4-H Council.

 

Categories: General Information

Farm Credit & Country Mortgages Welcomes Cheyenne Cline to the Harrisonburg Team

Cheynne ClineCheyenne Cline has joined Farm Credit & Country Mortgages’ Harrisonburg team as a Generalist with a focus in Commercial Agriculture.  Cline is originally from and currently resides in Mt. Solon, VA on her family’s farm. Cheyenne grew up on a heavy tom turkey and angus cow/calf operation and has been a very active member in youth organizations such as 4-H and FFA showing cattle, sheep and hogs as well as competing in livestock judging, parliamentary procedure and agricultural marketing competitions. She is a recent graduate of Virginia Tech where she studied and received a B.S. in Agribusiness Management and Animal and Poultry Science. Her involvement in agricultural organizations continued through her college years as she was an active member in Block and Bridle as well as the VT Beef Leadership Council. Before wrapping up her senior year, Cheyenne traveled to England, Ireland, Scotland and Africa to study international agriculture.  Cheyenne is no stranger to the Farm Credit team. She was a two year intern for the Commercial Agriculture Business Line. During her two years with Farm Credit she worked on numerous projects to enhance Farm Credit’s service to its members. We are excited to welcome Cheyenne to our team and look forward to having her help us better assist our customers.

 

Farm Credit of the Virginias provides over $1.5 billion dollars in financing to more than 10,000 farmers, agribusinesses and rural homeowners throughout Virginia, West Virginia and western Maryland. Farm Credit is a cooperative capitalized largely through investments made by farmers, ranchers and the rural homeowners and businesses that borrow from them.  Farm Credit helps maintain and improve the quality of life in rural America and on the farm through its constant commitment to competitive lending,  expert financial services and for facilitating and sharing knowledge and resources through the Farm Credit Knowledge Center.   For more information, visit www.FarmCreditKnowledgeCenter.com or www.FarmCreditofVirginias.com.

Categories: General Information

Farm Credit & Country Mortgages Welcomes Megan Virts to the Underwriting and Credit Team

Megan Virts

Megan Virts has joined Farm Credit & Country Mortgages’ Underwriting and Credit department team as a Generalist.  Virts is originally from Leesburg, VA, where she grew up on her family’s sheep farm, but currently resides in Weyers Cave, VA. Megan is a recent graduate from Virginia Tech where she received a B.S. in Agribusiness and Mathematics. During Megan’s junior year at Virginia Tech, she participated in an internship opportunity with Farm Credit working in the credit department. During her senior year, Megan interned for Managed Growth, Inc. which is a small company that focuses on hedging cattle. Megan was very active in 4-H and FFA growing up taking advantage of the opportunity to show sheep, goats, hogs and steers as well as participating in livestock judging. She remained active in similar organizations like Block and Bridle and the Sigma Alpha sorority during her college years. We are excited to welcome Megan to our team and look forward to having her help us better assist our customers

Farm Credit of the Virginias provides over $1.5 billion dollars in financing to more than 10,000 farmers, agribusinesses and rural homeowners throughout Virginia, West Virginia and western Maryland. Farm Credit is a cooperative capitalized largely through investments made by farmers, ranchers and the rural homeowners and businesses that borrow from them.  Farm Credit helps maintain and improve the quality of life in rural America and on the farm through its constant commitment to competitive lending,  expert financial services and for facilitating and sharing knowledge and resources through the Farm Credit Knowledge Center.   For more information, visit www.FarmCreditKnowledgeCenter.com or www.FarmCreditofVirginias.com.

 

 

Categories: General Information

Farm Credit Hosts Tastes from Farm Credit for House and Senate Representatives in Washington, D.C.

Farm Credit Hosts Tastes from Farm Credit for House and Senate Representatives in Washington, D.C.

 

Local agricultural lender, Farm Credit of the Virginias, partnered with three other Farm Credit associations to host the Blue Ribbon Tastes from Farm Credit in Washington, D.C. June 10 and 11.

Farm Credit of the Virginias partnered with AgChoice Farm Credit, Colonial Farm Credit, and MidAtlantic Farm Credit to host the annual Tastes from Farm Credit event, held in Washington, D.C. The associations catered a lunch for House representatives on Tuesday, June 10 and Senate representatives on Wednesday, June 11.

The associations worked with caterers Gourmet Central, located in Romney, West Virginia, and Fish Hawk Acres, located in Rock Cave, West Virginia, to design a custom menu for the event. The menu included individual pint size milk in white and chocolate flavors from Mt. Crawford Creamery in Harrisonburg, VA. The chicken that was used for the grilled chicken slider sandwiches came from Pilgrim’s Pride located in Moorefield, WV. Flank steak was provided by three beef farms for the steak flatbread sandwiches: Flying W Farm in Burlington, WV, Meadow Hill Farm in Purcellville, VA and Milcreek Farm in Lovettsville, VA. The wide variety of jams and jellies were made by Gourmet Central with produce from their farm, Bigg Riggs, located in Augusta, WV. The flower arrangements were created by Harmony Harvest from Weyers Cave, VA. Bowers Maple Farm made the maple candies that were given to guests that visited the ‘Farmers Market’ during the luncheon.  “This event gives us the chance to showcase Farm Credit customer’s products and connect them directly with legislators who may not see how we impact agriculture on a daily basis,” says Dave Lawrence, CEO of Farm Credit of the Virginias.

 

In addition to the luncheon, staff and board members from each association met with representatives from their regions over the course of both days. “It is important that we stay on top of the agriculture issues we are facing today,” says Lawrence. “We all need to work harder to keep our legislators informed about our industry.”

Blue Ribbon Tastes

The Tastes from Farm Credit event is held each year in Washington, D.C. For more information about this event, including more of the customers who provided produce and recipes of the items served, please visit http://www.blueribbontastes.com/index.html

Farm Credit of the Virginias provides over $1.5 billion dollars in financing to more than 10,000 farmers, agribusinesses and rural homeowners throughout Virginia, West Virginia and western Maryland. Farm Credit is a cooperative capitalized largely through investments made by farmers, ranchers and the rural homeowners and businesses that borrow from them.  Farm Credit helps maintain and improve the quality of life in rural America and on the farm through its constant commitment to competitive lending,  expert financial services and for facilitating and sharing knowledge and resources through the Farm Credit Knowledge Center.   For more information, visit www.FarmCreditKnowledgeCenter.com or www.FarmCreditofVirginias.com.

 

 

Categories: General Information

Farm Credit History: Embodying The Cooperative Ideal

In 1913, President Woodrow Wilson pledged to help farmers obtain credit not available from commercial banks – banks that couldn’t support farmers and ranchers through the ups and downs of agriculture.

Detractors claimed that putting the government behind agricultural credit would give undue advantage to farmers. Wilson disagreed. “The farmers, of course, ask and should be given no special privilege,” he said. “What they need and should obtain is legislation which will make their own abundant and substantial credit resources available as a foundation for joint, concerted local action.”

The Farm Credit System created three years later was the first organization to later bear the designation of a Government-Sponsored Enterprise (GSE), a term not then in use; the System as implemented was also the first federally-sanctioned cooperative credit association, instituting a groundbreaking approach to providing support for the nation’s farmers and ranchers when they needed it most.

The cooperative ideal – that private citizens working together democratically could do things that the free market could not – was a century in the making by the Progressive Era, a period of reform spanning from 1890 to 1920. Marked by an economy that brought great wealth and great poverty, many reaped economic rewards while others were excluded in the free market. Progressives called on the government to allow cooperatives to meet needs unfilled by the marketplace.

   An illustration from Herber Myrick’s Co-operative Finance

In 1887, L. L. Polk, founding editor of the Progressive Farmer, declared that “co-operation, organization, consolidation are the watch-words of the hour.” The prolific agriculture publisher and editor Herbert Myrick tirelessly promoted the cooperative ideal as a solution to credit problems among farmers.

Although the 1916 Federal Farm Loan Act itself did not specify that the Farm Credit System would be cooperatively rather than investor-owned, the System was implemented as a cooperative, and Myrick was later honored by receiving one of the two pens President Wilson used to sign the 1916 Act. But would the System created in an era of cooperative enthusiasm endure?

The first test came in the 1920. In Smith v. Kansas City Title and Trust Co., early opponents of the Farm Credit System held that the Constitution did not allow Congress to approve the issuance of tax exempt bonds – for farm loans or for anything else. Litigation halted lending activities for nearly a year, but in February 1921, the Supreme Court, then generally accepting of the extension of federal power to the benefit of the citizenry, upheld the constitutionality of the Federal Farm Loan Act.

Another major test on the System immediately followed. The Great Depression could have destroyed Farm Credit, but instead, the government, System leaders, and borrower-owners strengthened it, reorganizing the System while maintaining its democratic, cooperative foundations and its GSE status.

Perhaps the greatest challenge came during the agricultural crisis of the 1980s. But as a Farm Credit Administration official stated, “foreclosure should be a last resort for any commercial lender, but particularly for a cooperative lender that is owned by its borrower-owners.” Leaders and borrower-owners rallied to defend the System – and the government listened. President Ronald Reagan declared the 1980s legislation “ensures that the Farm Credit System will continue as a principal source of private credit to America’s farmers.”

President Reagan signs the Farm Credit Amendments Act of 1985

As an embodiment of the cooperative ideal, Farm Credit has met the needs of American agriculture for nearly a century. That it has survived and grown stronger over the nearly 100 years it has served U.S. agriculture suggests that the System’s cooperative structure will enable it to continue to serve American farmers long into the future.

- See more at: http://www.farmcreditnetwork.com/newsroom/blog/article/farm-credit-history-embodying-the-cooperative-ideal#sthash.QAGw9opI.dpuf

Categories: General Information
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