AMARILLO, Texas — Steven Ebeling of Plainview, Texas, recently got an inside look at how Farm Credit supports rural communities and agriculture with reliable, consistent credit and financial services. Ebeling, a member-borrower of Plains Land Bank, was among 25 young agricultural producers who attended the 2015 Farm Credit Young Leaders Program.
This is the 10th consecutive year that the program has shown young borrowers how Farm Credit's cooperative structure and unique funding mechanism enable it to help rural communities and agriculture thrive. Participants are selected by Farm Credit lending co-ops across a multistate region.
The program began in the New York City area, where the group visited a Wall Street brokerage firm and met with Tracey McCabe, president and chief executive officer of the Federal Farm Credit Banks Funding Corporation. There they learned how investors' purchase of highly rated Farm Credit notes and bonds supplies the capital that Farm Credit lending cooperatives put to work in rural communities. Nationwide, Farm Credit provides more than $227 billion in financing and financial services to farmers, ranchers, rural homeowners, agribusinesses, and other eligible borrowers.
Next the group traveled to Washington, D.C., to discuss policy issues with U.S. Department of Agriculture officials, Senate Appropriations Committee and House Agriculture Committee senior staff, and agriculture industry leaders. The five-day program also included a visit to Mount Vernon, President George Washington's Virginia plantation, where participants learned about our nation's heritage of agricultural innovation.
"For a decade now, each year's participants have demonstrated that the future of agriculture is in good hands," said Stan Ray, president of the Tenth District Farm Credit Council, which hosts the Young Leaders Program. "As part of our mission to serve rural America, Farm Credit has a strong commitment to helping young people in agriculture be successful."
Ebeling is a fifth-generation farmer and rancher who returned to his family farm in Plainview after earning a bachelor's degree in animal science from Texas Tech University. He has his own farming and cattle operations in addition to being very involved in the family operation, which farms cotton, corn, millet, sorghum, wheat and rye, and runs Angus cows and stockers. Like earlier generations of Ebelings, he is a Plains Land Bank member. He also serves on the board of the Panhandle Parade of Breeds, is active in the Lions Club and teaches youth at his church.
The Tenth District Farm Credit Council is the regional member of the national Farm Credit Council, the trade association representing the legislative and regulatory interests of the Farm Credit System. The System is a nationwide network of cooperatively owned rural lenders that have provided financing and financial services since 1916.