Behind the Scenes
Farmer standing in front of a tractor

In this 'Behind the Scenes', two GreenStone employees share their work and their passion to serve on GreenStone’s Young, Beginning, Small Farmer (YBSF) Committee. 


Autumn Rector Credit Analyst Traverse CityAutumn Rector, 
Traverse City Branch
Senior Credit Analyst with 11 years of service


How does your role at GreenStone tie into the YBSF Committee?


As a credit analyst, I help customers determine what structure will best suit their operation. I analyze the loan options with their future goals in mind. This also allows me to see where some YBSF customers struggle to meet some of our loan standards or where they may need help preparing the documents that GreenStone needs in order to analyze their requests. In turn, this helped shed light on how GreenStone can be an even better resource by improving our program and processes to better serve YBSF customers. 


What background do you have that gives you unique passion to support/assist YBSF?


My husband and I are also YBSF. We consider ourselves first generation. We both grew up in agriculture, but never had a farm to come back to following our secondary education. Going through the beginning stages of starting our own operation has really fueled my drive to help others as it has proven very challenging. You want to run before you crawl and it’s very hard to do.  


The YBSF Committee has several work groups. What progress has your team made so far?


The work group that I am working with is diving into GreenStone’s YBSF program and redefining it. We are looking at how to improve the experience and what we can add to better serve this segment of our customers. There is much more to come, but at this point we are working hard to make internal improvements to make this a much better program for the future of agriculture. 


What is your goal for the impact of your work with the group? 


I hope to help others, who may be in the same shoes as myself, get the start they need and educate them on how to take the next steps with their business. Agriculture has changed over the years and getting started from the ground up can be very challenging. I believe GreenStone can partner with these “up and coming” YBSFs to help agriculture be sustainable and to keep these YBSF customers moving forward —they are our future. 


Share a YBSF customer experience that has stuck with you.


One in particular is a young man who has worked in agriculture all his life for a local farmer. His parents farmed part-time as they both had off-farm employment. Together, this secured his passion for agriculture and it was very apparent. He began his own farm market, beginning small and came to GreenStone for his first loan, which allowed him to put in a well for irrigation and a green house. Each year he has continued to expand his market, offering more items and new experiences for the customer. I think he will continue to be a very successful operation and it is very exciting to see him grow each year.  


Richard Dubke Financial Services Officer MonroeRichard Dubke, 
Monroe Branch
Financial Services Officer with 3 years of service


How does your role at GreenStone tie into the YBSF Committee?


As a financial services officer, we are always looking for ways to better help customers with the best products and services GreenStone has to offer. Being on the committee gives me a chance to help be a part of the development team, focused on new products and educational tools we can provide to help these farmers. 


What background do you have that gives you unique passion to support/assist YBSF?


I am in the same age group as those that are considered a “young farmer”. I think this helps me provide perspective on what other young farmers would like to see and how to relate to them. I grew up on a family farm and I’ve been around agriculture my whole life. Early in my career here at GreenStone, I identified YBSFs as the future of agriculture. I have written many first-time loans to young farmers just looking for someone to give them a chance.


The YBSF Committee has several work groups. What progress has your team made so far?


My work group has been involved in identifying organizations in the industry we can partner with to provide education and resources to their YBSF members. By sharing knowledge on basic farm financials and helping farmers understand what products and services GreenStone has tailored to their needs, we can help create even more beneficial partnerships with YBSFs. We have many relationships already, and have identified more possible partners where we believe we could contribute to an even greater impact. 


What is your goal for the impact of your work with the group? 


My goal is to work hard to provide knowledge and input to help make GreenStone’s YBSF program the best for our members. 


Share a YBSF customer experience that has stuck with you?


I think all of them stick out to you in one way or another. Typically, I spend more time with the borrowers for these new relationships. You have to get to know them and get an idea of what they are wanting to do. Often, the plan they have is in their head and to them it all makes sense, they have a “vision”. The back and forth conversations with the customer allow us both to get it down on paper and really dig into the financial side of what they are looking to do. It is a good feeling when the deal comes together and you know you have helped someone finance their first farm, tractor, operating loan, or whatever they needed. It really sets a foundation for a long-term partnership. At the same time, if we are unable to help someone at the time of their request, it is our job to explain why and help them understand what steps they could take to help themselves going forward. Sometimes for the YBSF, a “no” is the best answer, as long as you take the time to explain why and give them the resources they need to move forward toward a potential future “yes”. 


How will your work benefit YBSF?


I will continue to seek out potential YBSF customers. I think when the YBSF workgroup completes the current priorities we’re focused on, GreenStone will have even more beneficial loan programs and educational tools for YBSF. We will be able to provide YBSF customers with an unmatched value.


What do you enjoy doing in your free time?


In my free time I enjoy hunting, golfing, helping out on my family farm, and spending time at my family’s cabin in northern Michigan. 


To view the article in the online 2020 Summer Partners Magazine, click here

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