In no other industry or place can we recognize spring more than in agriculture and rural America. From trees blooming, grass getting greener, time changing and days getting longer and folks scurrying around their farms making preparations for planting; everything in rural America says springtime is here. One of the most intriguing aspects of agriculture is the opportunity to be involved throughout the entire life cycle. We prepare, plant, nurture, harvest, and then we have springtime and start all over again. So it is with farming, so it is with business, and so it is with life.
At Carolina Farm Credit, just as on your farm, we have closed out 2010 and started our process all over again to ensure your financial needs are being met. I hope you have had a chance to review our recently published 2010 Annual Report. We had another very successful year and again, your Board of Directors declared a patronage refund which was paid in April. We exceeded our goal of returning 20 cents on every dollar you paid in interest as our 2010 patronage refund represents 23.5 cents of each dollar of interest.
Additionally, we held Customer Appreciation Events (CAE) in each of our 36 service centers during April to distribute patronage checks and say thank you for your business. We hope you enjoy the CAEs as much as we do. It’s always nice to sit and visit with members that we don’t see on a daily basis, especially since we consider our customers as friends and family.
In March, we completed our 11th annual Agricultural Leadership Institute in Asheville. This year we hosted 17 young, beginning, small, or minority farm couples for a weekend of education which is designed to better enable them to be successful in agriculture and establish relationships with other similar producers across our territory. We have also just completed our second year of the Ag Biz Planner program. This program involved 11 young, beginning, small, or minority farm couples and provided additional education to include the actual preparation of a business plan for each operation. I continue to be impressed with the quality of the individuals who are involved in agriculture and attend these programs. It is very rewarding to have the opportunity to invest in the future of NC agriculture by investing in the lives of these folks. Each year I come away more convinced than ever that the future of agriculture, in our area, is in good hands.
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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