In Michigan, 16 percent of households are struggling to put food on the table and 21 percent of children do not know where their next meal will come from. Recognizing an important need, GreenStone has supported the Michigan Harvest Gathering since 2001. An annual state-wide campaign, Michigan Harvest Gathering raises food and funds for Michigan’s emergency food response.
In its first 24 years, Michigan Harvest Gathering raised 54 million meals for those in need. On Nov. 19, it celebrated 25 years of state-wide hunger relief at the Michigan Harvest Gathering Luncheon. GreenStone’s chief human resources officer, Beth Barker, spoke at the event, highlighting the need of many Michigan families and how GreenStone is stepping up to help. In addition to our corporate gift, GreenStone employees contributed approximately $3,500 to the Michigan Harvest Gathering in 2015. An additional $765 was raised by GreenStone’s five branches in northeast Wisconsin for Feeding America - Wisconsin.
How You Can Help
Secretary of State offices throughout Michigan are collecting food donations until Nov. 25, 2015. You can help out by dropping off non-expired, non-perishable items. Cash donations can be made online by visiting FeedMichigan.org. If you would like to help in Wisconsin, you can find a local food bank at FeedingAmerica.org.
With the continued support of GreenStone and others within the agriculture community, we can help combat hunger in Michigan and Wisconsin!
Sarah Dillion, GreenStone customer service representative in Hillsdale, was recently honored as the Outstanding Young Ag Leader by the Hillsdale County Farm Bureau. The award recognizes young farmers for outstanding leadership roles in Farm Bureau, agriculture, and their local community.
Sarah and her husband, Matt, farm 1,800 acres of corn, soybeans, alfalfa, and wheat on their MAEAP verified farm. They also have a herd of about 75 steers and a small herd of dairy cattle. Sarah’s passion for agriculture began when she was a child growing up on the family farm. “I became a 4-H leader mainly because I was in 4-H as a child. I’ve experienced firsthand the education, fun and life skills gained, and I wanted to help others have the same opportunities,” Sarah said.
Sarah volunteers her time primarily helping youth interested in the dairy industry. This summer a Hillsdale 4-H member was able to travel to Europe with the Michigan State 4-H dairy judging team. Sarah spoke with the mother of the 4-H member she mentored, and was able to realize the full impact of her work with the students. “Her mom said I had a key role in getting her to the point where she could qualify for such a trip,” Sarah said. “It was a humbling moment.”
In addition to volunteering her time, Sarah and Matt are passing their love for agriculture onto their daughter, Andi. “I am blessed that my daughter enjoys farm life. She feeds the animals with me and likes to go to cow shows and 4-H activities,” Sarah said. “When she graduated from kindergarten last year the teachers asked each student what they want to be when they grow up. It surprised me when Andi said she wants to work on the farm and at GreenStone with her mom.”
Huron County farmer and GreenStone customer, Rita Herford was recently honored by the White House as a “Champion of Change.” Herford was one of 11 women across the country recognized for the honor.
A fifth generation farmer, Herford and her mother, Debbie, step-father, Allen and brother, Eric use sustainable farming practices to grow wheat, sugar beets, dry beans, corn, and soybeans on 4,400 acres. According to The White House press office, “Rita’s passion for agriculture has led her to share her farm’s story with local groups such as Rotary Club and on social media to help educate consumers about how modern day farmers grow safe, quality and affordable food for their families and others.”
Herford says traveling to Washington, D.C. was an exciting experience and she is honored to be in a position to promote modern day agriculture. “Rita is very deserving of this honor,” said Brain Polega, financial services officer at GreenStone Farm Credit Services. “She is an inspiration for all young farmers, particularly young women wanting to pursue a career in the agricultural industry.”
Although experience was a big part of her success, Herford recommends that young people interested in a career in agriculture get formal training as well. “It is important to learn the science behind what you are doing,” she said. “Go to school and learn all you can, and then start working and keep learning. Find someone who can inspire you and believe in you.”
Herford credits her family for giving her the support she needed to pursue her passion for farming. “My step father believed in me more than I believed in myself,” she says. “He was never afraid to let me do things on the farm. He let me get in the tractor and go.”
The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White House to feature individuals doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire their community.
This fall we are hitting the road, visiting several local university job fairs.
As the area's leading financial resource for the agricultural industry, GreenStone continues to be on the cutting edge of technology, evolving business practices, and emerging trends that affect our customers and their success.
We give employees the opportunity to demonstrate their passion for agriculture and commitment to rural America. We offer a work environment that will demand your best and in return offer personal fulfillment, challenging opportunities and financial rewards. While we hire many employees with training in credit and finance, lending isn't all we do.
If you are looking for more than just a job, take your career to GreenStone Farm Credit Services.
You'll find us at the following university job fairs this fall:
By Jenny Spink
Agriculture can be a dangerous industry. Many first responders are taking initiative to learn how to prepare for accidents that occur on a farm, around a farm or involving the agricultural world wherever they are needed. Farmers can lend a hand in this process, too. Consider these five steps when looking at farm safety.
1. Prepare for first responders. Create a central information box that first responders can use as a resource in an emergency. Include information like the location of the main water supply and main electrical shutoff, a labeled map of the farm, including all fields, and a list/location of chemicals on the farm. Also, show where livestock is kept, whether there is an electric fence and where the fence controls are located.
2. Establish a relationship with your fire department. Make them aware of your operation, and the scale of your operation. This will give them a better understand if an accident ever occurs.
3. Outline emergency procedures and communicate them with everyone that works on the farm. If you have hired help, make sure they are sufficiently trained to operate the equipment.
4. Be proactive and routinely inspect equipment for potential hazards. Stay on top of guards and shields that might break on equipment, especially PTO shafts. This is often over looked, but a leading cause of injury.
5. Work with first responders in the event of an emergency. Even if you think your way could be quicker, there is a purpose for their methods. It keeps everyone safe and prevents someone else from getting hurt.
Jenny Spink served as a 2015 summer intern at GreenStone. She also organized a farm safety course for first responders.
Ever wondered what exactly an intern does while on the job? Here are some statistics to show just what the Summer Interns did, and how many times…and how much coffee it took to keep them running!
Here are the results!
Top 6 Valuable Lessons Learned
Fourteen weeks may not seem like a long time, but in those short weeks, Greenstone’s six interns have learned a vast amount of knowledge from our professionals. The internship program is designed to supplement the student’s education and give them real world situations to work through. The summer intern class of 2015 shares their top 6 valuable lessons learned.
1. “Greenstone employees often are as observant of market and price trends and fluctuations as the farmers are themselves.” -Henry
2. “Ask as many questions as possible” -Abby
3. “Take initiative” -Rebecca
4. “A better understanding of financial documents and information” -Matt
5. “Bond with your coworkers, it makes your job that much better” -Jenny
6. “Data Entry while keeping confidentiality” –Isaac
Earlier this month we launched our Win Big with GreenStone contest in partnership with Michigan Out of Doors TV! Every week in August we’re drawing a winner for outdoor prizes. The grand prize is an exclusive outdoor sporting experience with Jimmy Gretzinger and the crew.
Last week, Tim S. of Lynn, Michigan won a set of Spirit XF 1042 Binoculars by VANGUARD Hunting. Our next drawing is for a BIG MIKE Blades Camo Ground Blind by Barronett Blinds. Enter by 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 13 to be entered to win the blind, and stay tuned to our Facebook page to learn more about the third give away!
Everyone who enters the weekly drawings is also in the running for the grand prize, the outdoor experience with Michigan Out of Doors TV!
Special thanks to our partners, Michigan Out of Doors TV and VANGUARD Hunting!
To enter and for official rules, visit greenstonefcs.com/winbig.
As the internship program nears the end, two of our summer interns share what made them come to GreenStone.
In the latest edition of Dollars and Sense for Michigan Farm News, John Jones, Senior Vice President of Commercial Lending discusses what borrowers should know before signing on the dotted line.
Here are the top 5 things to keep in mind when it comes to loan terms:
1. Lenders use loan terms and conditions to help manage the risk of potential loan losses and servicing costs.
2. Terms include but not limited to:
- Interest rate
- Product, Length and Maturity date
- Frequency and timing of payments
- Collateral requirements
- Disbursement conditions
- Financial reporting requirements
3. A strong financial position and repayment capacity will generally qualify you for lower interest rate.
4. Borrower’s management abilities and risk management practices are considered when a variance to standard term is being discussed.
5. When a borrow shares more information about their operation, the lender is in a better position to provide options.
Read the full article at Michigan Farm News.