Meeting Our Mission
Last Friday, we closed our offices for our annual employee information/appreciation event.
As much as I hate to close our offices, I think it’s important for our staff to get together, learn some new skills, and take the time to recognize some of our accomplishments for the year.
One of the accomplishments we talked about last week was how proud we all are that MidAtlantic has kept its mission promise to agriculture, and members of the ag community. We continue to be here for agriculture, whether it’s “good times or bad” (which is taken directly from our mission statement).
The last few years have been “good times” for a lot of agriculture, especially if you look at the industry overall (there have certainly been “bad times” for individual commodities in our area, such as dairy and poultry and timber, and while I definitely don’t want to belittle the challenges for folks in those industries, I do want to look at agriculture as a whole for a moment). I visited a few customers early last week–one of them told me that thanks to high corn prices, low interest rates, and stable fuel costs, he plans to pay off his loan with Farm Credit next month. Now I’m always happy to hear that a farmer has reached a point of success that he can continue to run his business without debt, but it does mean that there’s not as much need for credit out there.
Our numbers show that. We’re down in volume this year, compared to last year. Those numbers reflect what I hear from a lot of our membership: they’re building cash, they’re lowering their credit lines. They’re “hunkering down”, expecting that it could get tough for our industry in the next few years.
Declining volume doesn’t mean that we’re not here for our community. As I put my industry overview together for last week’s meetings, I was surprised–and thrilled–to realize that while our volume may be down, the number of borrowers that we’re serving is actually up about three percent.
So, while farmers’ total indebtedness might be falling, we’re continuing to offer our services to a growing number of people within our territory. That makes me feel good, because it means that we’re meeting our mission and serving our industry.
We crammed a lot into a single day on Friday (like the farmers that we serve, we know how to hustle!!) I found many of the speakers to be enjoyable, and their message is inspirational. I’ll share some of the highlights throughout the next few days.
In the meantime, I’d like to thank our membership (our growing membership!) for your patience and understanding as we closed our offices last Friday. While I know it may have been an inconvenience for some of you, I think that ultimately you will find that our staff members even better equipped to serve you.
And–like our mission says–that’s what it’s all about.