Farm Credit of the Virginias Announces Results of Director and Nominating Committee Elections

Farm Credit of the Virginias recently completed the 2014 director and nominating committee election. The members elected to serve a four year term are Bobby C. Gray, William J. Franklin, Jr. and W.W. (Monk) Sanford, III. Charles (Chuck) Horn was elected to fill the unexpired one year term of Tom Thacker.

Bobby C. Gray (incumbent) of Abingdon, VA raises dairy breeding stock and maintains a beef cow herd in addition to raising corn and hay. He is a member of the Washington County Virginia Farm Bureau and was a former director of Southern States Co-op in Abingdon, VA. He is currently serving on the Advisory Committee for the Washington County Virginia School system.

Bobby Gray

William (Bill) Franklin, Jr. (incumbent) of Duffield, VA is the owner and operator of Franklin Farms which consists of a registered Angus cow/calf operation and a commercial cow/calf operation. He is the CEO for Scott County Telephone Cooperative and serves on the Board of Directors for the IRIS a TNN, LLC, Carolina-Virginia Telephone Association. Mr. Franklin is the president of the Scott County Cattle Association Board and has been a Farm Credit director since 1995.
Bill Franklin

W.W. (Monk) Sanford (incumbent) of Orange, VA is the owner and operator of Kenwood, LLC, a dairy and beef cow/calf farm. He serves on the Board of Directors for Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers, Battlefield DHIA and Virginia State Dairymen’s Association. Mr. Sanford has been a Farm Credit director since 1995 and a past Chairman of the Board.
Monk Sanford

Charles (Chuck) Horn of Mt. Solon, VA operates Delta Spring Farm, Inc. which consists primarily of beef, turkeys and broilers. The farming operation is also able to background and finish approximately 600 head annually. Mr. Horn served on the Virginia Poultry Federation Board for seven years. He has also served on the FSA County Committee for six years and is currently serving as chairman of the Augusta Petroleum Cooperative Board.
Horn, Charles

Members elected to the 2015 Nominating Committee are: W. Douglas Riley, Robert Wise, Jon L. McDonald, Jennifer Showalter, Parrish Pendley and William West.

W. Douglas Riley of Staunton, VA is the owner and manager of Rocking R Farms which consists of beef, sheep, goats, turkeys and corn. Mr. Riley has served on various boards and is an active member in his community.

Robert Wise of Ft. Defiance, VA has a beef and hay operation in Augusta County which he runs with his wife, Helen. They are both active members within their community.

Jon L. McDonald of Rockbridge, VA farms beef, turkeys and hay. He serves as a board member for Rockbridge County Farm Bureau.

Jennifer Showalter of Fairfield, VA works on her family’s beef cattle farm and manages her own cow/calf operation as well. She is a freelance writer for Farm Credit of the Virginias and The Working Ranch Magazine.

Parrish Pendley of Murraysville, WV is the owner and operator of his full time farming operation. Mr. Pendley has served on the West Virginia. Mr. Pendley has served on the West Virginia Farm Bureau State board for the past several years.

William C. West of Ripley, WV is a beef farmer and a retired Ag Ed teacher from Ripley High School. He has served on the WV State FFA Foundation as President and treasurer of Cedar Lakes Foundation.

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 or

Categories: General Information

From the Field: Farm Credit Rocked the National FFA Convention Expo

A record-setting 64,409 FFA members and chapter leaders from across the United States gathered in Louisville, Ky., Oct. 29 – Nov. 1 for four days of leadership, personal growth and entertainment during the 87th annual National FFA Convention & Expo.


Farm Credit is sponsor of the National FFA Convention through the National Contributions Program and returned to the Expo floor for the fourth straight year with an updated Farm Credit Rocks program. Expo attendees were invited to stop by and kick up their heels with Country Dance All Stars, spin the prize wheel and learn more about career opportunities with Farm Credit. The booth featured an interactive photo opportunity; attendees who downloaded their photo and posted it to Twitter or Instagram using #FarmCreditRocks were entered to win the grand prize. Congratulations to our winner Destiny Cox from Kentucky!

In addition, more than 1,700 attendees completed a brief iPad survey at the Farm Credit booth. When asked about their plans after graduation, 31 percent indicated that they plan on pursuing a career in agriculture education, and 20 percent of survey respondents live in urban areas.

Representatives from CoBank, Farm Credit Bank of Texas and Farm Credit Mid-America were on hand at the Collegiate Career Fair to meet with attendees who were interested in career and internship opportunities across the System. Farm Credit also sponsored the We Are FFA booth that provided FFA members the opportunity to let their voices be heard regarding inclusiveness within the organization by finishing a phrase on a white board. After members finished sentences such as “I advocate for agriculture by…” and “I am welcoming to others by…” their photo was taken and displayed in the booth.

Farm Credit associations and banks across the nation contribute to FFA chapters at a local and regional level, and Farm Credit’s National Contributions Program is proud to support FFA national programs on behalf of the entire Farm Credit System. In addition to the annual convention, Farm Credit supports the New Century Farmer program, the Washington Leadership Conference – which was recently featured on NCBA’s Cattlemen to Cattlemen — and the National FFA Alumni Development Conference.

Categories: General Information


(Richmond, VA) The Honorable Todd P. Haymore, current Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry, has received the Virginia Agribusiness Council’s 2014 Distinguished Service Award. Council Board of Directors Chairman Danny Shreckhise of Grottoes presented the award during the Council’s Annual Meeting in Richmond on November 13.

Haymore Award Picture

Recipients of this award have all proven their commitment to service to Virginia’s agribusiness industry for a long period of time.

Secretary Haymore was raised on a tobacco farm in Pittsylvania County, Virginia and has a degree in Political Science from the University of Richmond and a Masters in Business Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University. He spent the early years of his career in public service, working on the staff of former-Congressman L.F. Payne (VA-5th). Secretary Haymore then returned to his tobacco roots, working for both DIMON Incorporated and Universal Leaf Corporation. In 2007, then-Governor Tim Kaine tapped Haymore as the Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), a role in which he served for four years. Under his leadership at VDACS, Virginia agribusiness saw an increased commitment to marketing by the agency, which oversees more than 70 state regulations.

In 2010, then-Governor Bob McDonnell asked Secretary Haymore to become Virginia’s second Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry. In this role, he oversaw the incorporation of agribusiness into Virginia’s overall economic development platform and increased opportunities for international business by opening trade offices all over the world. He also worked with industry members and the General Assembly to create the Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund (AFID), which is an economic development grant and loan program specifically for agricultural and forestry value-added or processing facilities. Governor Terry McAuliffe re-appointed Secretary Haymore in 2014, and his efforts to grow and expand Virginia agribusinesses have continued.

Virginia Agribusiness Council Board Chairman, Danny Shreckhise, commented during the presentation that Secretary Haymore’s “long record of service to Virginia agriculture and to the Commonwealth is unmatched. We are fortunate to have such a dedicated public servant in Richmond representing our industries each and every day.”

Council President Katie Frazier said, “Secretary Haymore has proven to be an effective partner and committed public servant in the administrations of three different governors. His efforts to grow and expand the Commonwealth’s two largest industries have led to increased investment, job creation, and a multitude of opportunities for Virginia farmers and foresters.”

About The Virginia Agribusiness Council

The Virginia Agribusiness Council is a non-profit organization committed to representing the interests of the agriculture and forestry industries in the Commonwealth through effective governmental relations efforts and initiatives. Its membership includes farmers, foresters, and other agricultural producers; industry suppliers; marketers and processors; and commodity and industry associations. It is headquartered in Richmond. For more information, please visit

Categories: General Information

A Legacy of Service: Farm Credit on Veterans Day

By History Associates

As we approach Farm Credit’s 100th anniversary in 2016, History Associates has been taking a look into the System archives to highlight the stories and people who have shaped the last century of lending to rural America.


Each Veterans Day, we honor our military veterans who have worked to protect our national interests both home and abroad. As they served with honor, so too Farm Credit has been honored to serve the many veterans who are also farmers and ranchers, financing the agricultural operations of servicemen and women for almost 100 years.

Founded during World War I, Farm Credit’s first opportunity to provide loans to new veterans came early on. Chris Musser was one such veteran. A farm boy from Pennsylvania, Musser served in the 82nd Infantry Division, and in October 1918, passed ammunition to Sergeant Alvin York, who attacked an enemy machine gun nest and captured 132 German soldiers. Sergeant York became famous for his heroic deed; a film, Sergeant York, was made in 1941.

Musser also found himself on film after the war, thanks in part to Farm Credit. After twenty months’ service, Musser returned home and began working with his father on the family farm. In 1931, Musser purchased his own 102-acre farm near York, Penn., where he and his family grew potatoes, corn, assorted grain, apples, peaches and cherries. Musser used Farm Credit to invest in modern farming methods, building a device for his potato harvester and adopting contoured farming practices. The Mussers’ impressive efforts were featured in the Soil Conservation Service’s 1944 film For Years to Come. Musser’s son, Chris Jr., also continued his family’s tradition of military service, serving in the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II.


World War II brought home a generation of young men eager to start new lives on the home front, and Farm Credit’s local associations worked hard to meet their needs. Many association directors served on local veterans’ advisory committees, providing guidance on current farm values and GI education on farm financing. Some veterans came home, though, knowing exactly where to go for their first loan. Harold Strub of Watova, Okla., served as a pilot in the Army Air Force Rescue Service in the Pacific. Strub was familiar with Farm Credit; his parents had bought their own farm with a Federal Land Bank loan years earlier. Strub wanted to have a farm waiting for him when he returned home, so in 1944, he wrote to his parents asking them to use his savings and a Farm Credit loan to purchase a parcel of land. Strub and his bride Vera moved to their new farmhouse in June 1945 and set to work making it feel like home. In just a few months, they acquired five cows and a flock of chickens, harvested hay and twelve acres of sorghum for the winter, and purchased a tractor and pickup truck. Farm Credit’s associations served many veterans like Strub. By 1947, Production Credit Associations had extended more than $53 million in credit to World War II veterans and servicemen.

Brothers and ex-Marine Corps officers Bobby and Duncan McLaurin also used Farm Credit to bolster their operations in Dillon County, South Carolina. Upon graduating from Auburn University in 1960, Bobby McLaurin became a commissioned officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving on active duty until 1965. Younger brother Duncan followed in Bobby’s footsteps, joining the Marine Corps in 1962 and serving as a captain during the Vietnam War. Following their service, the brothers adopted modern farming methods that made harvesting more efficient and increased the quality of their crop. Their investment paid off — by spring 1974, the McLaurins were planting 1,400 acres of cotton, 1,200 acres of soybeans, and over 600 acres of small grain. They also won the 1973 Dillon County Young Farmer of the Year award.


“One of the reasons the McLaurins have been successful young farmers is that they’re always on the alert for new innovations,” said Tommy Bashor, President of the Carolina Production Credit Association. “That’s why they’re leaders in their community.”

These are just a few examples of the many veterans Farm Credit has served over the past 100 years, and we’re proud to continue our commitment to our nation’s veterans who are working to raise the food, fuel and fiber upon which we all depend.

Categories: General Information

November 2014 Preview: 30 Days of Thanks, Veterans Day and Industry Events

By Karen Macdonald

There’s so much to be thankful for in America that one day isn’t enough time to express it – join Farm Credit all this month in our 30 Days of Thanks on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using hashtag #30DaysOfThanks.

To those

Also this month:

Veterans Day on November 11 gives us all the opportunity to recognize and appreciate the brave men and women who have served our country in the armed forces. A large number of our veterans hail from rural areas – 44 percent according to the USDA – and as they return from service many are also returning to the farm. The Farmer Veteran Coalition is cultivating a new generation of farmers and food leaders, and developing viable employment and meaningful careers through the collaboration of the farming and military communities. Farm Credit is proud to support the organization through our National Contributions Program.
The American Agri-Women Convention & Annual Meeting on the Nov. 6 will bring together another growing sector of agriculture: women, who are increasingly principle operators of America’s farms and ranches. Farm Credit customers like Annie Dee, Kelli Eglinger and Emily Smith are among these hardworking women farmers.

Also on the 6th, Agriculture Future of America (AFA) will hold its annual Leaders Conference in Kansas City, Mo, where hundreds of college men and women will meet to discuss the future of our industry, attend the popular opportunity fair to seek out future job prospects and connect with several Farm Credit representatives from multiple locations.

The National Association of Farm Broadcasting celebrates 70 years at its annual convention Nov. 12 – 14, where more than 100 broadcasters will gather, and during the one-day “Trade Talk” event, will interview hundreds of ag experts about industry news, trends and events. Farm Credit representatives including Rod Hebrink (AgStar Financial Services), Mike Hechtner, (CoBank), Brian O’Keane (AgriBank), and Doug Stark (Farm Credit Services of America) will be available for interviews on a variety of topics at Booth 23.

We hope you’ll enjoy our 30 Days of Thanks, and invite you to share with us what you’re thankful for this month.

Categories: General Information

Farm Credit Basics: Cooperative Principle #5


Cooperatives, including Farm Credit, are organizations structured and managed according to seven guiding tenets established in 1844, formally known as Rochdale Principles of Co-operation. This AGgregator series will explore each of the cooperative principles throughout the coming months. 

The fifth cooperative principle of “Education, Training and Information” holds that cooperatives provide education and training for members, elected representatives, managers and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperative. Members also inform the general public about the nature and benefits of cooperatives.

The rationale behind this principle is clear: it behooves a cooperative businesses to ensure that the people who contribute to the governing of the organization – those customers who are also owners and who elect the board of directors – are educated about the operations of the cooperative. By the same token, ensuring that employees and managers are highly-trained and effective in their roles contributes to the efficient and successful performance of the cooperative, benefiting the customer-owners as well as the employees themselves. Finally, helping to educate the public can help strengthen and grow the cooperative through expanded membership and can help improve the communities it serves, fulfilling another cooperative principle.

“Cooperatives view their customers as their partners, and for this reason, co-ops are uniquely focused on educating their members and strongly support education initiatives in their communities,” says Bill Oemichen, Cooperative Network president and CEO. “In addition, because their directors are drawn from the membership, education has always been a top priority for cooperatives.”

Within the Farm Credit System, each organization provides education and training to its own constituents. These educational programs range from seminars for young, beginning and small farmers to support for specific industry conferences; programs also include employee training that contributes to long-term professional development and also focuses on issues important to the organization, such as Diversity & Inclusion.

Nationally, Farm Credit actively supports numerous educational programs through the National Contributions Program. Organizations that receive Farm Credit donations are selected in three categories, including Agriculture Education and Training. Through organizations like National FFA and National 4-H, Farm Credit is supporting the next generation of American agriculture; through programs like Annie’s Project, Farm Credit supports current agricultural producers to become even more effective in providing the food, fuel and fiber on which we all rely.


Categories: General Information

It’s Porktober & We’re Bringing Home the Bacon

October is National Pork Month, a great time to pig out on all things pig. One of America’s favorite pork products is bacon: last year, we ate 1.1 billion servings of bacon, an increase of 6 percent over the year before. That big number translates to 21 percent of American’s eating more than two pounds of bacon in a year, and five percent eating five pounds or more.

How are we eating all this bacon? Much is served as a meat portion of breakfast meals, or on burgers and sandwiches – including the B in the BLT. In recent years, though, bacon has been making its way into meals and snacks enjoyed throughout the day – bacon crumbles on salads or mixed into soups don’t seem like that much of a stretch for this savory meat, but how about some bacon beer with your bacon ice cream topped with chocolate covered bacon? If you want to enjoy bacon without eating it, you can even buy bacon lotion and lip balm.

There’s a simple reason behind the love of bacon: it’s fatty, providing calories are bodies are designed to crave, it’s salty from the curing process used to transform regular pork belly, and it’s often smoked, delivering “umami,” a fifth taste for our taste buds to enjoy. The other four are salty, sweet, bitter and sour.

People have been “bringing home the bacon” since the 12th century, when an English church started offering a side of bacon as a reward to its male congregants who succeeded in not fighting with their wives for a year. And thanks to the 67,000 pork operations across the United States, millions of Americans will also bring home the bacon, and maybe even fry it up in a pan. Iowa tops the list for pork production, marketing more than 49 million hogs in 2012.


Categories: General Information

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