Carolina Farm Credit continues to amaze me. The values upheld by this company and the employees and customers, of course, are fantastic. Most recently, I had the opportunity to travel to Columbia, SC with the other interns and attend an Intern and New Hire Training event led by Ronnie Hucks of AgFirst.
The conference was great! But, what really impressed me was the people in attendance. There are very few companies I know of that can put 50+ new hires and interns from all over the eastern half of the Unites States together for 2 days for training and experience the kind of instantaneous unity that we so easily felt. It seems that everyone who wears the Farm Credit logo, regardless of background, experience, location, age or any other differentiating factor, fits into the family mold that this company strives for. By the end of day one, we had connected with people from AgFirst, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Tennessee, Florida and even adopted a friend from Delaware. The training we received was valuable, but I think the connections and friendships we made throughout the district are even more valuable.
Speaking of valuable connections and opportunities let me tell you about the intern project. Carolina Farm Credit assigns a project to its interns every summer. This year, we have been charged with researching and beginning the planning stages for an YBS (Young, Beginning and Small farmers) program. This would apply for customers who are 35 years old or younger (young), have less than 10 years experience farming (beginning) and/or who gross $250,000 or less a year in agricultural income who do not qualify for a traditional loan due to lack of credit, collateral or other lending requirements (small). Working on this project has been an incredible learning experience for me because it has allowed me to dive deeper into the policies and guidelines surrounding lending that I would not normally have the opportunity to see. It has also allowed me to make some amazing contacts throughout the industry and across the nation with program and organization leaders.
This project is very near and dear to my heart. I come from a small family farm and I plan to have my own farm in the near future, so I understand what it’s like to be on the YBS side of lending. Now, I understand the other side of the desk a little better too. I have always had a passion for agriculture and for the small farmer; and this project has given me the chance to really make a difference and begin the development of something that could change the way we finance this group. The outpouring of support, resources and advice I and the other interns have received from everyone we have contacted has been incredible. In the Rural Hall office, my work family has been there for every dumb question and minor panic that I’ve brought to them. I am so blessed to have placed here and I am excited to see where the next few weeks lead
To read more about Carolina Farm Credit, our members and the ag industry, check out issues of our Leader magazine—you can read them online.
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