Celebrating America’s Birthday Around the Kitchen Table

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.

fcsAs we bounced ideas off one another and reflected on the happenings within our nation, I mentally surveyed the scene from an outside-in perspective…and I liked what I saw.

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.

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