When I moved back to my family farming operation in 2008, the wheat price was over $9/bu, milo was close to $5/bu, and feeder cattle were around $0.90/cwt—with feeders getting as high as $2.20/cwt. Since then we have seen grain and cattle prices go up and down, droughts, and changes in a variety of other factors that impact our operations. One thing that hasn’t changed during that time is my partnership with High Plains Farm Credit as my preferred lender.
Several years ago I was fortunate to be elected as a High Plains Farm Credit Director. What I have learned from this experience has helped me value the organization even more. It is locally owned and operated and has kept its Kansas roots at its core throughout its existence. The elected board of directors is made up entirely of Kansas producers that are located within HPFC territory and the staff is homegrown as well. Decisions are made at the local level. This produces a lending partnership with an organization that really understands the business of Kansas agriculture and the current issues I am facing as a producer. In addition, HPFC supports our local communities.
The cooperative structure was a big factor in choosing to partner with HPFC. I value the chance to support a business in which I can have some financial ownership, a strong patronage program, and a voice through the shareholder structure. I truly believe that if I am successful, HPFC is successful and vice versa. This would not be possible with a bank that is privately owned or an institution that operates in multiple states.
Most operators are relationship borrowers and I am no different. My family’s relationship with HPFC started out with a couple of land loans because I liked the terms they were offering. Since that time, this relationship has evolved to include land loans, machinery loans and operating loans.
My parents always told me life is about choices and you are where you want to be. For years I didn’t understand what they really meant, but as I get older I understand what they were saying. I can say that as it relates to my partnership with HPFC, I am where I want to be!