Walters State Buys Livestock Trailer with $20,000 Farm Credit Grant
Louisville, KY – (September 5, 2012) To say that Roger Brooks, head of the Department of Agriculture at Walters State Community College in Morristown, Tenn. is enthusiastic about his program—particularly its popular “Winter Horse Series”—could be a considerable understatement.
“How much do you want to know? I could talk about it all day,” laughed Brooks.
The Series recently received a major shot in arm when the college received a $20,000 Community Giving grant from Farm Credit Mid-America to purchase a new horse trailer. The three-horse slant load trailer will be used to transport animals, supplies and equipment and also has a storage/office space in the front.
“Farm Credit’s been a supporter of the Series ever since it started,” said Brooks. “But their stepping up now has not only allowed us to purchase this much-needed trailer, it’s also helped us to be able to keep more of the proceeds from the Winter Horse Series for scholarships. We definitely appreciate their support.”
Brooks explained that one of the primary purposes of the Series was to generate funds for ag student scholarships, with more than $109,000 being raised for that purpose since the Series began 13 years ago. He also said that students in the department’s Livestock Event Management Class have total responsibility for running the Series, which also gives them valuable experience in scheduling, dealing with the public, accounting, public speaking and other important skills.
The Series consists of from 13 to 15 livestock events—primarily involving horses—per year, some of which pack the college’s 4,000-seat Expo Center for competitions like barrel racing, a speed horse show, team roping, cattle sorting, “ranch rodeo” and crowd favorites like goat roping and “cowhide races.” Brooks says that the students work hard, but gain great hands-on experience for their future careers. He also stated that many Walters State students continue their education at the University of Tennessee—Knoxville in preparation for careers in agriculture.
Brooks, who also raises cattle and horses on the side and is a Farm Credit customer himself (“You can’t farm down here without Farm Credit,” he chuckled), first learned about the possibility of getting help from Farm Credit while talking with Ronnie Sartain, a financial services officer with the Greeneville Farm Credit office. Sartain, a Walters State alum himself, serves on the Agriculture Department’s advisory committee, and upon hearing of the need for a trailer, thought it might be a good candidate for Farm Credit’s Community Giving Program.
“Agriculture’s what we’re all about and we feel strongly about supporting agriculture and agribusiness through our community colleges and Land Grant Universities,” he said. “Programs like the Winter Horse Series give these students practical, real-world experiences. We really hope that some of them can return to the community and get involved with production agriculture or agribusiness around here, maybe even Farm Credit as customer- members or future employees.”
Sartain added that Farm Credit is currently going through a rebranding initiative that features a new look and logo, symbolic of an even greater focus on providing outstanding, cutting-edge customer service. He said that reinvesting some of the organization’s profits into the communities they serve is one of Farm Credit’s key services to its customer-members.
About Farm Credit Services of Mid-America, ACA
Farm Credit Services of Mid-America, ACA is a $19 billion financial services cooperative serving more than 95,000 farmers, agribusinesses and rural residents in Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. The association provides loans for all farm and rural living purposes including real estate, operating, equipment and housing, and related services such as crop insurance and vehicle, equipment, and building leases. For more information about Farm Credit, call 1-800-444-FARM or visit them on the web at www.e-farmcredit.com.