AMARILLO, Texas — Ryan Wieck of Umbarger, Texas, recently got an inside look at how the Farm Credit System carries out its mission to provide reliable credit to agriculture and rural America. Wieck, a member-borrower of Panhandle-Plains Land Bank, was among 29 young agricultural producers selected from a multistate region to attend the 2014 Farm Credit Young Leaders Program.
The program began in New York City, where the participants learned how investors buy Farm Credit notes and bonds, providing the funding that Farm Credit lending cooperatives put to work in rural communities. Nationwide, Farm Credit provides more than $200 billion in financing to farmers, ranchers, rural homeowners, agribusinesses and other eligible borrowers.
Next, the group traveled to Washington, D.C., and discussed policy issues with U.S. Department of Agriculture officials, Senate and House agriculture committee staff, and agriculture industry leaders.
The five-day program ended with an awards ceremony at George Washington’s Mount Vernon plantation, where the first president embraced innovation at his farming and milling operations.
“As part of our mission to serve rural America, Farm Credit has a strong commitment to helping young people in agriculture be successful,” said Stan Ray, president of the Tenth District Farm Credit Council, which hosted the ninth annual Young Leaders Program. “These impressive participants were selected by their lending cooperatives because they represent the future of agriculture, and we want them to know the role Farm Credit plays in their industry and communities.”
A fourth-generation farmer, Ryan Wieck farmed on leased land for several years before buying land in 2013 with the help of Panhandle-Plains Land Bank, where his parents and grandparents were also customers. He grows cotton, grain sorghum, wheat, hay grazer and corn, including some crops on irrigated land, and also farms in partnership with his father. He also is a volunteer district fire chief and EMT for the Randall County Fire Department, and serves on the Randall County Farm Bureau board and the Randall County Crops and Beef Cattle Committee.
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 related services for the agriculture industry since 1916.