Testimonials Young, Beginning, Small Farmers Fall 2016

Helping young and beginning producers get their start and stay successful. FCS Financial understands the importance of investing in the future of beginning farmers and supporting the full spectrum of operations that contribute to the success of rural American communities. We offer many beginning producer programs designed for those who are just getting established in farming or who are managing smaller operations. Education and mentoring are critical components of these programs, helping participants grow skills and access expertise as they build their future with the support of FCS Financial. Read what our customers have to say about their experiences. SEIZING THE OPPORTUNITY Riley Brown knows better than most that entering the world of production agriculture can be a tough row to hoe. From competition for ground and big-time capital expenditures to sometimes less than welcoming credit prospects, becoming a farmer these days is not for the faint-hearted. “I don’t see how people do it without some help,” the young Fairview farmer-stockman says. “There is so much expense in getting started. I know I’m very fortunate to have this opportunity.” Although he has actually been farming his whole life, he began raising some of his own crops and cattle in 2010 and has continued to increase his involvement in the family farm operated by his father and mother, Ronnie and Cathy Brown. And his own family has expanded as well as he and his wife, Ashley, now have a six-month old daughter, Emma. The Brown farm focuses on crops, cattle and turkeys. The family operation, which includes two brothers-in-law, has a corn, wheat, double-crop soybean rotation. Some of the corn — about 600 tons — is harvested as silage to grow the stocker calves produced by their commercial cowherd up to about 800 pounds. The turkeys are grown from five weeks of age to 20 weeks, gaining 45-50 pounds, depending on the time of year. The poultry enterprise, Riley notes, helps stabilize farm income in addition to providing litter for added soil fertility. Now, as Riley and Ashley add their own land and equipment to the family operation, Riley looks back at a time when obtaining credit to make such purchases looked like it was going to be tough. Other lenders, he recalls, weren’t much interested in providing credit to a young man trying to get his start in agriculture. “At the time, I was 22 years old so I guess I can’t blame people for being a little skittish,” he says. “FCS Financial listened, though, and they took me seriously — they did us right. “Beth Luebbering (assistant vice president in the Joplin office) has been great to work with. We’ve had a lot of conversations and her advice on financial matters has been sound. I’ve also been involved in the Connect program for young farmers and that’s been very helpful, especially in terms of learning to better manage money.” With a lot of help from his parents, and an assist from FCS Financial, Riley and Ashley are raising their own family on the family farm and Riley is right where he wants to be. “The margins are pretty tight sometimes and it’s a lot of work,” he concludes, “but when you’re driving that combine across the field harvesting a crop you’ve put a lot into, that’s pretty rewarding — It’s what I always wanted to do.” By Mark Parker