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Called to Serve Agriculture

Longtime Employees, Directors Share Why They’re So Passionate About Farm Credit

Landscapes Summer 2016

For many Farm Credit employees and directors, working for their cooperative lender is more than a job. It’s an opportunity to serve the people who put food on our tables and clothes on our backs. It’s been that way for decades, as the poem at left attests.

Even after a century, in this age of frequent job-hopping, it is not uncommon for employees to make Farm Credit their longtime vocation. In fact, the 33 employees who retired in the Texas District in 2015 had an average tenure of 28 years, almost quadruple the national average of 4.6 years that wage and salary employees stay with their employer.

Landscapes asked a few past and present staff and board members what makes Farm Credit special.

"I had fun every day! I have a million stories that confirm the joy of serving others and the lasting relationships we developed at Farm Credit. When I attended the funeral of one dairy farmer, I was surprised to see he was wearing the orange and blue PCA feed cap in his casket. His brother, also a dairymen, asked, ‘When I die, you aren’t gonna make me wear one of them caps, are you?’ Later I served as a pallbearer at his funeral — and he didn’t wear the cap.”

– Mitchell Harris
Retired CEO AgTexas Farm Credit
Lubbock, Texas
43 years with Farm Credit

"In 2005, Hurricane Katrina damaged crops, homes, barns and livestock. A lot of calls came in from borrowers. I already knew I was working for a good place, but it really hit home when Farm Credit gave them time and money to rebuild.”

– Newana Evans
Senior Loan Administrator Southern Ag Credit
Hattiesburg, Mississippi
42 years with Farm Credit

“I enjoyed helping people expand. One young dryland farmer leased a good-sized irrigated place and wanted to try growing corn, which is unforgiving. I suggested he start with just 50 acres. He was busy harvesting wheat when it came time to irrigate the corn, and the corn yielded half of what he expected. Today he’s a great farmer and a great friend.”

– Gary Sutherland
Retired Vice President/Office Manager Canadian PCA
Pampa, Texas
24 years with Farm Credit

“In 1939, when it was hard to get a job, a young man named Clif Cobb started working at Stamford PCA without pay as a clerk. He left for the war and came back as an officer. Clif worked his way up to CEO and was with the association for 45 years. That’s the kind of dedication people have to Farm Credit.”

– Twyla Pace
Retired Assistant Vice President First Ag Credit
Stamford, Texas
23 years with Farm Credit

“We help farmers and ranchers at all stages of life. I keep a thank-you card on my credenza from McCall Garrett, thanking me for supporting his 4-H project. He was so adorable, and completely in control of his enormous pig. That card motivates me every day. Can’t wait to see what the future holds for this young farmer.”

– Cissy Williams
Senior Vice President of Lending Capital Farm Credit
San Saba, Texas
29 years with Farm Credit

“The cooperative spirit exists from the top down to each employee and board member. Our customer appreciation dinners would attract 300 to 400 attendees, and often our own stockholders would provide food. When customers arrived at the dinners, they would hug every branch employee. We were very proud of our relationships with our borrowers.”

– Dr. Ernest Girouard
Retired Board Chairman Louisiana Land Bank
Kaplan, Louisiana
46 years with Farm Credit

“It’s wonderful to work with so many multigenerations. I’m now working with a grandfather, a father and a daughter. It is neat to see the way they bring their different strengths together to achieve more than they could independently — the drive, knowledge and work ethic of the older generation, and the technology of the new.”

– Jim Tollison Jr.
Vice President/Branch Manager Alabama Farm Credit
Talladega, Alabama
20 years with Farm Credit

“When they dreamed up the Farm Credit System, they intended it to be a family of small, locally owned associations. It’s no secret that our association went through hard times, but we worked through it with the help of the Farm Credit Bank of Texas. We’re proud of how we have been able to keep on providing competitive pricing and services to our stockholders.”

– Mark McCollum
Board Chairman Ag New Mexico
Fort Sumner, New Mexico
37 years with Farm Credit

“To give people the means to afford their dreams and to be with them through the hard times is special. In the past 10 years I have become more in love with the way that Farm Credit is supporting the little niche farmers and making specialty loans. I feel that farming is the ‘in thing’ now, and being a part of that has made this the most exciting part of my career.”

– Karen Doskocil
Senior Marketing Manager Lone Star Ag Credit
Hillsboro, Texas
32 years with Farm Credit

“I’m a third-generation farmer; my son farms with me, and my grandchildren are interested. Farming takes a lot of capital, and I want future farmers to have a good source of funds. That’s why I devote so much time to Farm Credit. Plus, I love it — we’re like a family at the Land Bank.”

– Abbott Myers
Board Chairman Mississippi Land Bank
Dundee, Mississippi
19 years with Farm Credit

“We had a borrower who was a big NASCAR fan, and one day I asked him how he liked the race on Sunday. After that, every time he would come into the office, he would ask for me and talk about racing. When he paid his loan off, he had tears in his eyes when he told us how thankful he was for us helping him out when he needed help, and no one else would. He has since come back for another small loan, but I will never forget him.”

– Kay Mann
Vice President/Loan Operations Manager Alabama Farm Credit
Cullman, Alabama
40 years with Farm Credit

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