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August 04
Loan Terms: What You Must Know

In the latest editon 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.

July 24
Join the Ag Industry!

​Have you ever thought about a job in the agricultural industry? Did you know that there is more to the agricultural industry then planting crops or feeding cattle? It is prime time to join this growing industry! The USDA estimates​ about 57,900 new jobs, with only about 35,400 graduates to fill them. Trends show a growing need for plant and food scientists, water resource scientists, engineers and even marketers!


Abby Carpenter, a GreenStone Farm Credit Services intern, tells us about herself, how the agricultural industry has impacted her, and why you should seize the opportunity too!

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1. What is your degree, why did you choose it?
The degree that I am pursuing is Agribusiness Management with a minor in Crop and Soil Sciences at Michigan State University. I chose my major as Agribusiness Management because it is versatile in the fact that it will allow me to enter any part of the industry that I desire.

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2. How do you intend to use your degree in the future?
The long term goal of my education has always been to gain the knowledge to operate my family’s agritourism business. Currently, our operation includes 35 acres of pumpkins, hayrides, a corn maze, petting zoo, and other fall family activities. With 50,000 people visiting our farm in the months of September and October, a lot of planning, coordination, and record keeping go in to making our farm operate.

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3. How has working in the agriculture industry shaped you as a person?
This summer is my second summer interning at GreenStone Farm Credit Services and my experiences from my time working so far in the industry will be beneficial. Being aware of and understanding financial processes will only make me a better decision maker and business person in the long run.

4. What do you find the most interesting about the agriculture industry?
Agriculture is an interesting field to work in; no two days or years are ever the same as Mother Nature dictates much of what this industry can do. The aspect that I find the most interesting is that even through all of the unpredictability, the industry still has the ability to produce enough food, fiber, and fuel to meet the world’s demands.  The variability makes for challenging times in the industry, but the changes are what make this industry so unique and exciting. 

5. What would you tell someone considering the agriculture industry?
For anyone who is considering a career in the agriculture industry, there are always a million more things to learn. This doesn’t just go for people with no prior experience in the industry either, even people, much like myself, who have spent their whole life on a farm, still have the opportunity to learn something new every day. Secondly, the agriculture sector has some great opportunities for young, talented individuals looking to enter the industry. Take advantage of them.

July 20
Summer 2015 Partners Now Available

The third issue of GreenStone's refreshed and content enriched Partners magazine was just published! Don't miss a page; you never know where you will find something of personal interest and professional value.

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This issue features John Boynton, a young farmer from Cass County, Michigan. We also feature Roger Ruppal, a country living customer, with a beautiful home on 40 acres in Davisburg. In addition to these customer profiles, you'll find news and updates from the association, as well as crop insurance and tax news.

Happy reading!

 

July 17
Help Us Find Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives

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Farm Credit has supported rural communities and agriculture across the country for 100 years, as GreenStone does in Michigan and northeast Wisconsin.

Over that time, we’ve learned to appreciate the vision it takes to remain successful over time in agriculture and rapidly evolving, thriving rural industries. That’s why we’re announcing Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives, a search to identify 100 leaders who are changing the future of rural communities and agriculture for the better.

We’re seeking individuals from a variety of backgrounds to apply for recognition as part of Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives. We believe the future will be defined by a wide range of individual fresh perspectives within rural communities and agriculture. Farmers and ranchers, as well as individuals who represent other agribusinesses, cooperatives, academic institutions, government agencies, community and non-government organizations, are encouraged to apply.

Farm Credit is asking you to nominate leaders who demonstrate qualities in one or more of the following categories:

  • Leadership (over 21)
  • Youth Leadership (21 and younger)
  • Rural Policy Influence
  • Beginning Farmer or Rancher Achievement
  • Entrepreneurship and Innovation
  • Sustainability and Natural Resource Conservation
  • Financial Stewardship
  • Mentoring and Volunteerism
  • Agriculture Education and Community Impact
  • Rural and Urban Connection

If you know a dynamic leader who fits into one or more of those categories, we encourage you to nominate them for recognition as one of the Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives in three easy steps.

1. Consider: Identify the category or categories outlined here that best represent your nominee’s area of influence.

2. Visit: Go to farmcredit100.com for entry materials.

3. Complete: Submit nomination form and brief essay. Nominations accepted until Dec. 18, 2015.

A panel of experts on rural matters, including Farm Credit leaders and representatives from around the agriculture industry, will evaluate and select the top 100 honorees who showcase the ability to build appreciation for rural communities and agriculture and further contribute to a vibrant future for rural America. The final 100 names will be announced in early 2016.

Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives honorees will have the opportunity to share their stories, inspire with their vision and demonstrate their leadership through promotional opportunities. Additionally, all Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives honorees will receive a commemorative item recognizing their prestigious honor of being among the top 100 individuals positively shaping what is next for rural communities and agriculture.

July 16
A Day in the Life of a Corporate Credit Intern

Three of GreenStone's credit interns spend their days at the corporate office. Here is what they are doing, and learning!

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5j03e_7Gx8[/youtube]
July 08
Melissa Humphrey Graduates from the Great Lakes Leadership Academy

Melissa Humphrey, GreenStone’s Regional Vice President of Sales and Customer Relations, recently graduated from the Great Lakes Leadership Academy (GLLA). The GLLA was developed by faculty at Michigan State University to promote positive change, economic vitality, resource conservation, and enhance quality of life in Michigan by encouraging leadership for the common good.

The 18-month program challenged participants to learn about themselves and each other through a series of work sessions that addressed key issues facing our state. The program culminated in a trip to China, where participants explored social and cultural issues from a global perspective. In addition to classroom work, the program also included team building experiences, such as camping outdoors in the middle of Michigan’s winter.

“Each of us began this journey because we wanted more for ourselves, our families and the places we live,” said Melissa of her experience with the GLLA. “We all want to see the good in the world and we all believe we can make the world a better place by our contributions to it.”


Read more about Melissa’s experience in China the forthcoming Summer 2015 issue of Partners.

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Pictured: Team GreenStone at the Great Lakes Leadership Academy graduation ceremony: Training and Development Specialist, Diane Miller; Regional Vice President of Sales and Customer Relations, Melissa Humphrey; President and CEO, Dave Armstrong; Chief Human Resources Officer, Beth Barker; and GLLA Alum and Vice President of Commercial Lending, David Carpenter.

June 29
Get an Inside Look at Agriculture with Breakfast on the Farm

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Breakfast on the Farm is a family-friendly experience to learn about the importance of farming and see firsthand where your food comes from. Attendees will enjoy a farm fresh breakfast, take a tour of the farm, and engage in various farm related activities. You’ll get a firsthand opportunity to see where your food comes from!

The breakfasts are great opportunities to visit a farm, see how cows are milked, pet baby a calf, learn about the process of planting corn, soybeans and wheat, and more! These local farmers are proud to show and tell you what they do to produce safe, wholesome and nutritious food.
Free tickets to the breakfasts are available at a variety of local businesses surrounding the farms. Check the Breakfast on the Farm website for specific locations and additional information.

Photo courtesy of Michigan State University ANR Communications.

June 22
Intern Life in the Branches

Two of our interns are spending their summer working in the Grand Rapids and Adrian branches. Henry and Abby, our branch interns, take us through their day in the branch to see what it’s like! Henry is a credit intern and Abby is a credit/crop insurance intern.

 

7:30 A.M: Henry arrives at the Grand Rapids branch office. He grabs coffee, catches up on emails and previews what needs to be done for the day.

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8:00 A.M: Abby arrives at the Adrian office and gets energized with a warm cup of coffee.

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8:10 A.M Henry dives into his work. Henry does dairy peer comparison data input and analysis, greenhouse peer comparison data input and analysis, as well as inputs customer data in WEM.

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8:30 A.M: Abby catches up on reading GreenStone’s credit policy manuals to become familiar with the company’s credit procedures.

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9:30 A.M: Henry takes part in monthly conference calls.

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10:00 A.M: Coffee round 2!

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12:30 P.M: Henry has lunch with co-workers and shares daily events and experiences.

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1:00 P.M: Abby has a meeting with her supervisor/mentor to review her work that's completed and to answer any pressing questions about the files she is working on.

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1:30 P.M: Henry continues to work through his projects and meets deadlines.

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4:30 P.M: Thumbs up for completing another day of their internship at such a wonderful company!

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June 15
​GreenStone’s E-commerce Specialist Explains the New My Access Features

Last fall we launched My Access, a system that brings together Online Banking with a series of value added tools customers can use to enhance their experience with GreenStone. This summer, we are rolling out a set of new options that customers can use to stay up-to-date with their accounts. Maureen Oberman, GreenStone’s e-commerce marketing specialist, explains the new features available to My Access users as of June 15.


What can users expect to see when they log into My Access on June 15?
We are excited to roll out several new features this week. The My Access system already offered a safe, secure platform for users to access online banking, exchange files and view documents. The new features released this week give customers even more flexibility to manage their accounts.

  • Bills and Statements are now more conveniently located under My Documents. As an added benefit, this new location gives you access to more than a year’s worth of bills and statements.
  • Go Paperless by signing up for electronic bills and statements. When you enroll, you can set up an alert to receive email and text message notifications to know the instant your bill or statement is available.  
  • File Exchange can now securely transfer up to 10 files between you and multiple GreenStone staff members.
  • My Alerts has even more options available for you to select the notifications that are most important to you regarding your loans and transactions.

What feedback have you gotten about the system and how does this new rollout address customer comments?
We regularly heard that customers wanted a paperless option to do business with GreenStone. We are very happy to now offer electronic bills and statements. Not only is it environmentally friendly, but it also reduces the amount of paper and clutter in your home, and eliminates the time it takes to sort through documents, deciding what to keep and what to shred. Our system will automatically archive the past 13 months of bills and statements for customers.


If a customer has a question, or needs assistance with the system, who should they contact?
Our My Access support team is also ready to help; phone support is available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET at 877.327.6424, or via email anytime at MyAccessHelp@greenstonefcs.com. 

June 05
From the Air Force to Agriculture

​By Lindsey Bliss

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Karis Gutter, USDA Military Veterans Liaison, speaks with farmer veterans on June 2 during the Farm Credit Salute to Veterans event.*

U.S. Air Force veteran and GreenStone vice president of commercial lending, Brent Spencer, returned this week from Washington, D.C., where he attended the Farm Credit Salute to Veterans. The event honored farmer veterans and included meetings with members of Congress to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing veterans seeking careers in agriculture.

As a farmer veteran himself, Brent shared his thoughts on the trip, and offered advice for veterans thinking about a career in farming.

What were the highlights of your trip to D.C. for the veterans’ event?

The highlight of the trip was meeting fellow veterans that have chosen post military careers in the agricultural field. It was a great opportunity to share our stories of military service with each other and discuss our successful transitions into farming operations.

How did your time in the military prepare you for your career in an agriculture-related field?

My military experience taught me to be self-motivated and to always find a way to get a job done. Whether it is Mother Nature or Murphy’s Law, farming will throw new challenges your way every day. Staying motivated and continuing toward your objectives are lessons well-learned in the military that have definitely helped when facing the challenges of farming.

What advice do you have for recent veterans who are considering farming or agriculture as a career?

Many types of farming require considerable capital investment. My advice to recent veterans is to first research as much as you can about the type of agriculture you would like to be involved in and what type of investment it would require. Next, check with your local Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Farm Credit office to discuss programs they offer to help veterans and young, beginning, small farmers get started. FSA and the Farm Credit system have a long history of working together to help get beginning farmers started.

Lindsey Bliss is the communications and public relations specialist for GreenStone Farm Credit Services.

*Photo courtesy of the Farm Credit Council

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