Farm Credit Services of Mid-America Makes 2nd $10K Gift to Ohio College

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Second gift helps the Washington State Community College Greenhouse Lab fund go debt free.

Last year, Washington State Community College in southeast Ohio opened a new agricultural laboratory to complement the Agribusiness Management Program it started in 2009. While the new lab/greenhouse met and exceeded college officials’ expectations for it, fundraising results for the project have been slower than anticipated in a recovering economy. To help the new lab get over the hump financially, Farm Credit Services of Mid-America has made a $10,000 donation for the second year in a row.

“We were really glad to see WSCC start their Agribusiness Management Program. It’s a great resource for young adults wanting stay in this area and get into the nursery or greenhouse businesses, which are strong enterprises here,” said Steve Reed, financial services officer for Farm Credit’s Marietta office. “We were pleased we could be a part of helping to get the lab’s debt eliminated so it could continue to move forward.”

Gail Reynolds, executive director of the WSCC Foundation, said that Farm Credit’s gift had not only been invaluable in terms of helping financially, but that it also encouraged other organizations to get on board with the effort.

“I can’t thank Farm Credit enough,” said Reynolds. “With both their original donation a year ago, and with this one, their taking the lead in making a generous donation was an impetus for others to join in the effort. If Steve hadn’t gone to bat for us down at their corporate headquarters in Louisville, I’m sure we’d still be looking for money now.”

Instead, with the help of Farm Credit and other donors, the indebtedness for the ag lab has been retired, and a large amount of much-needed new equipment has been purchased for the developing program. With the addition of the lab to the Agribusiness Management Program, students are now able to receive the needed hands-on experience and credits in such disciplines as soil sciences, crop production, and crop and pest management to qualify for graduation. This spring will mark the first class to graduate from the two-year program with the Associate of Applied Science degree.

Since its launch in the fall of 2009, the Agribusiness Management Program has attracted a diverse group of students, including recent high school graduates, non-traditional students, and others who are taking selected courses to enhance their effectiveness in their own business or farm. One of the pluses for the program is that for many of the students, it’s close to home. It also gives the students skills that they can readily put to use in southeast Ohio, which has opportunities in nurseries or greenhouses, in an otherwise depressed agricultural area and general economy. And if students choose, they can readily transfer their credits to The Ohio State University, where they can be applied toward a four-year bachelor’s degree program.

“If we can help to keep a program like that going, and help keep these students here locally in farming or horticulture, it’s good for everyone,” said Reed, who also serves on the advisory committee for the college’s Agribusiness Management Program.

Reynolds expressed her appreciation for Reed, who will be retiring from Farm Credit in 2012, for his help with both the fundraising efforts and his involvement with the committee.

“Steve will be missed,” she said. “Both he and (Farm Credit customer service representative) Melinda Roberts are top-drawer professionals, nice people. We owe a lot to them, and we’ll never forget how they’ve helped us.”

About Farm Credit Services of Mid-America

Farm Credit Services of Mid-America is a $17.1 billion financial services cooperative serving over 92,500 farmers, agribusinesses and rural residents in Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana and Tennessee. The association provides loans for all farm and rural living purposes including including real estate, operating loans,equipment loans, and housing loans. FCS also provides an array of financial services, including crop insurance and leases. For more information about Farm Credit, call 1-800-444-FARM or visit them on the web at http://www.e-farmcredit.com.

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