AMARILLO, Texas — Dane and Lori Mullins of Silverton, Texas, recently learned how Farm Credit uses its cooperative structure and unique funding mechanism to lend support to rural communities and agriculture across the United States. Mr. and Mrs. Mullins represented their lender, Plains Land Bank, at the 2017 Farm Credit Young Leaders Program in Washington, D.C., and New York City.
The 12th annual program began in the nation's capital, where the 23 participants joined Farm Credit representatives from around the country in meetings with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Sen. Pat Roberts, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Mr. and Mrs. Mullins also discussed policy issues with USDA officials, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, Reps. Jodey Arrington and Mac Thornberry, and Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz.
Next the group traveled to the New York area. During visits to the Federal Farm Credit Banks Funding Corporation and a Wall Street brokerage firm, they learned how investors purchase highly rated Farm Credit notes and bonds, supplying steady funding for loans and related services. Together, 74 borrower-owned Farm Credit cooperatives provide $251.2 billion in financing to farmers, ranchers, rural homeowners, agribusinesses and other eligible borrowers.
"Our annual program is designed to give participants insight into the ways Farm Credit supports agriculture and rural communities," said Stan Ray, president of the Tenth District Farm Credit Council, which hosts the Young Leaders Program. "The trip is also an opportunity for these young ag producers to share their experiences and ideas with lawmakers whose policies touch the lives of farmers and ranchers."
Mr. and Mrs. Mullins have a crop and cattle operation in Lori's hometown of Silverton, Texas, just west of the scenic red rock of Caprock Canyons State Park. Both come from cotton-farming families, and today they grow cotton, wheat, corn and milo. Dane also is part owner of Silvercot Inc., a cotton gin in Silverton, and serves on the Silverton school board.
The Tenth District Farm Credit Council is the regional member of the national Farm Credit Council, the trade association that works on behalf of Farm Credit cooperatives and their member-owners.