Careers in agriculture typically aren’t glamorous. Nonetheless, my summer internship with Farm Credit Services of America (FCSA) is confirming my desire to work with farmers on a daily basis. I’m not seeking glamour anyway…I simply want to make a difference in the lives of rural Americans.
Last week, I spent a day visiting farmers in Audubon County, IA with Cy Monson, a financial officer out of the Harlan FCSA office. When we knocked on the well-loved farmhouse door for an early morning appointment, the couple’s five sons scrambled to gulp their breakfast down and clear off the kitchen table so their guests could have a seat.
Later on that day, Cy made an interesting observation. Cy said that in his years as a seed salesman, he was lucky to hold a customer’s attention for five minutes, even if he had called ahead of time. Now, when Cy needs to meet with a customer, he’s amazed how they always make time in their busy schedules to sit down and have a thorough discussion with him. To me, that speaks volumes about the level of respect farmers have for FCSA.
After Cy had discussed the customers’ matters with closing on a real estate purchase, he and I spent another 20 or 30 minutes discussing current political and religious happenings in America with this amiable farm couple. Out a picture window, I watched the boys bringing the farmyard to life. One jumped on a 4-wheeler and roared up the gravel road, another took off in an old Deere with a liquid manure spreader, and the visiting cousin fed the Golden Retriever.
I saw a hardworking father and husband, dedicated to serving customers through Farm Credit Services of America. I saw a middle-aged husband and wife- tired, but content. I saw their devotion to their teenage children and their farm operation.
In the midst of that mundane conversation about the 2016 Presidential candidates, I saw connections being made and lasting relationships being formed. I saw trust, respect, and integrity on both sides of that wooden table.
As I observed one step of the process through which a farmer financed the purchase of farm ground, I thought, “Now THIS is what I struggled to verbalize in scholarship essays that asked about my career goals and ambitions.” When I say I want to work directly with farmers, I mean it in an eggs-and-bacon, over-the-kitchen-table, 9-AM kind-of-way.
I’ll take a refill of sweet tea, please. I might be here a while.
Happy 4th of July, folks. God Bless.