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Beyond Agriculture

Beyond Agriculture

Welcome to Beyond Agriculture!
Listen to the podcast that takes you beyond the scope of ag and into the real life stories, conversations, and events taking place in our community. 
Each show will highlight information from different aspects of rural living including: livestock, succession planning, agronomy, equipment purchasing, and much more. 

New episodes are released every first and third Wednesday of the month. Find us and listen in your favorite podcast app. 
 

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Episode 13 Kentucky Agriculture with Warren Beeler

 

Must Listen To Podcast! Mr. Warren Beeler sits down with Ag Credit to discuss all things agriculture.

Youth, Hogs, 1980's, Agriculture and the life of Mr. Beeler! 

Episode 12 Kentucky State Fair with Joe Goggin

 

The Kentucky State Fair is starting this week. In this episode, you will meet Joe Goggin, Regional Lending Manager for Ag Credit, and one of the State Fair Board Members. Hear how the Championship Drive and selection of the Top 5 in each species came about. Learn more about the activities at the fair and what new events are taking place this year! 

https://www.kystatefair.org
https://www.agcreditonline.com 

View Transcript
[00:00:01.270] - Caleb Sadler

Welcome to Beyond Agriculture, the podcast that takes you beyond the scope of Ag and into the real-life stories, conversations, and events taking place in our community. Who we are and what we do is Beyond Agriculture. Hello and welcome to Beyond Agriculture. Caleb Sadler back with you today. We're sitting here in our Paris branch. I'm also joined with Shelby Wade. Shelby, you doing okay?

 

[00:00:31.940] - Shelby Wade

Yeah, doing good, Caleb, been working on some loans and get ready for a trip we're taking next week. Me and a couple of loan officers are going down to Columbia, South Carolina to our main bank, AgFirst, and we're doing some Farm Credit University training down there, so I'm looking forward to that. It will be my first time traveling with Ag Credit since I've started.

 

[00:00:52.590] - Caleb Sadler

I remember going to the I've been several times and our guest on today will get to that a little bit later, but I'm sure he can enlighten us some there as well. But I've been several times the bank and it's always great to get back down to Columbia or in Charlotte to those places where we meet typically with the bank. So thank you, Shelby. Ben, we've got him on a man behind the scenes running our tech. You're doing okay, Ben?

 

[00:01:14.510] - Ben Robin

Yeah, I'm doing pretty good. I was going to pitch in there. First time I went down to the bank was Dr. Kohl was going to be there for Farm Creek University and I guess the change in weather maybe in the fall or something and I lost my voice.

 

[00:01:27.960] - Shelby Wade

Oh, no.

 

[00:01:28.340] - Ben Robin

So I couldn't participate in any of the activities there. But it's really good experience and you have fun.

 

[00:01:35.720] - Shelby Wade

Yeah. Looking forward to it.

 

[00:01:37.160] - Caleb Sadler

Good deal. Well, we also are joined with us today in the, I guess you could say the studio with Joe Goggin. He is an employee of Central Kentucky Ag Credit and been with the association for a while now. I'll let him tell you a little bit about himself. Thank you for coming on, Joe.

 

[00:01:55.600] - Joe Goggin

Thank thank you you for having me today. As he said, my name is Joe Goggin. I was born raised in Boyle County, Danville, Kentucky on a farm. Our family has always farmed run beef cattle primarily. Most of my life we've had registered Angus cattle. We've also run a lot of feeder cattle, backgrounding them primarily during the summer, buying them in the spring, selling them in the summer and fall. And actually Caleb did something this spring I thought I would never do. My son, who farms full time since he graduated from UK, had finally talked me into getting rid of the last of my cows. So it's the first time in literally 50 years I don't own a cow right now. And just really backgrounding some steers for him. So they'll hopefully be gone by the holidays. Caleb and then this winter a lot less stress doing that. So yeah, just with work it just got to be I couldn't do the AI work that I wanted as I wanted to do it with my cows. And this just made a lot more sense, and I think I'm going to enjoy it, actually.

 

[00:03:06.060] - Caleb Sadler

Yeah, I can tell you. I mean, I can relate to that because, my gosh, when it comes fall and I'm sure Ben sitting back here, he can say the same thing, it's a lot. By the time you start to juggle a full time job and then full time job at the farm, AI cattle and setting all that up, that's a lot of work at that point.

 

[00:03:21.250] - Joe Goggin

When you run fall calves, and then you're trying to breed them in late November and the days are shorter, and by the time you get home, it's dark. Yeah. It really gets to be a challenge. But that's the good thing about Ag Credit. Most of our loan officers, they do farm on the side, and so they know about agriculture and all those challenges.

 

[00:03:41.080] - Caleb Sadler

So, Joe, we brought up the fact that you don't have any more cows anymore after you said nearly 50 years. So I won't get into your age or anything like that on the podcast.

 

[00:03:49.930] - Joe Goggin

I started young.

 

[00:03:50.890] - Caleb Sadler

That's right. There you go. But tell us a little bit about how long you've been with Central Kentucky Ag Credit and your family as well.

 

[00:03:57.960] - Joe Goggin

Sure. I started with Central Kentucky Ag Credit in July 1992, so I've just passed the 30 year mark there.

 

[00:04:07.290] - Caleb Sadler

I won't tell you. I was born right around. 

 

[00:04:16.450] - Joe Goggin

That's part of the reason. And you've mentioned you grew up with both of my kids. I got two kids, son and daughter. And you and my son Logan were in college together, and you all knew each other growing up, showing Angus cattle around the country and around Kentucky together. But at the time, I was working for the Kentucky Cattleman's Association, and I had started work with Cattleman's Association out of college in 84, and it was a great job. I was at that time called a field representative.

 

[00:04:52.490] - Caleb Sadler

Okay.

 

[00:04:52.790] - Joe Goggin

And at that time, Kentucky Cattlemen Association had three employees, myself, the executive director, and the office secretary.

 

[00:05:01.550] - Caleb Sadler

I had no idea when I started.

 

[00:05:04.040] - Joe Goggin

In 84, there were two employees. I was the first at that time, like I said, we called them a field representative in my job, and it had a grand total of, I think, 697 members statewide.

 

[00:05:14.010] - Caleb Sadler

Wow.

 

[00:05:14.660] - Joe Goggin

So, I mean, it was really in its infancy when you think about it. And my job was to go around the state, work with counties, get county organizations started. I started work with the Cattleman's Association the first week of August in 84, and I went to Louisville the next week or ten days later, and that's when the cookout tent was in its very first year. Well, we use volunteers to come in. Garland Basten was the Executive Director of the Cattlemens. He's the one who hired me. And wonderful I had retired from UK, specialist there in the AG College, and he was the announcer in Broadbent Arena for all the shows. So he takes me to Louisville, we go to the cookout tent. He said, okay, here's where you're going to be. We've got county organizations coming in. We work two shifts per day, and if you need anything, I'm going to be in Broadbent Arena there. Here's where your supplies are, over there. I knew nobody. I'm fresh out of college.

 

[00:06:20.510] - Caleb Sadler

Here's the key.

 

[00:06:21.270] - Joe Goggin

Here's the key.

 

[00:06:21.890] - Caleb Sadler

Yeah, there you go.

 

[00:06:23.000] - Joe Goggin

You talk about getting baptized by fire. I mean, I'm still wet behind the ears, knew nobody. But in hindsight, it was the best experience, because over the course of that ten or eleven days of that State Fair,

 

[00:06:37.820] - Caleb Sadler

you got to meet a lot of producers.

 

[00:06:39.350] - Joe Goggin

 I met over 200 producers from around the state. And so then I kind of kick started and started going around the state, county meetings and seeing the same people. It was a large time. We had a fun, good time. But I learned real quick when counties came to the state fair to cook for the Cattlemens, they wanted to show up and immediately put burgers on the grill. At that time, we didn't do steaks, it was just the burgers. They wanted the grill to be ready to start cooking on. And that evening, when the last one went through the window, you turned around and they were heading to the cars and trucks, and I would turn back around and there'd be like 10-15 coolers I had to wash that night. So this stuff to put up.

 

[00:07:22.410] - Caleb Sadler

So what I'm taking away from this is every time when we get ready for the annual meeting, that's how you've gotten this job of getting the grill ready.

 

[00:07:30.950] - Joe Goggin

All of the grill experience came from was the years.

 

[00:07:34.360] - Caleb Sadler

It all comes back around full circle now.

 

[00:07:36.300] - Joe Goggin

So anyway, back to getting to add credit. By 92, my first child, Logan, was born. He was a year old and spending a lot of time, my wife Theresa was very understanding, especially in our early years, and she would go with me a lot. Going to cross the state. I might be in Murray one night at a Cattlemen meeting and then Morehead the next night because I was the only person going with three employees.

 

[00:08:06.940] - Caleb Sadler

Yeah, that's crazy.

 

[00:08:08.690] - Joe Goggin

And so then when you start having a family, I thought, okay, that was fun, it's time to slow down. And the opportunity came up for a position for a loan officer in our Danville office. And so I applied, and that's when I started work with Ag Credit, July of 92. And I think we affiliated with Ag First Farm Credit bank in Colombia in July of 94, just two years, two years after. So I've been here through that transition. Interesting. Today, starting in 2018, I actually moved from the Danville office to Lexington, and now I'm a Regional Lending Manager, which is basically I am headquartered in Lexington and our Lexington branch, but I also manage the Stanford and Richmond branches as well.

 

[00:09:03.380] - Caleb Sadler

Awesome. Now I know there was a stint there in between there and this is going back to my lifestyle days. Now you did move and go to Anderson Circle at one point in time in there and then came back.

 

[00:09:16.490] - Joe Goggin

I had gone, I think it was in '05, from Danville to our Stanford branch as Branch Manager and in '07 opportunity came up. Anderson Circle Farm in Mercer County was a very large cattle operation as well as crops. But Mr. Anderson, the owner, was wanting to get back heavy into the purebred Angus operation as well as maintaining the commercial herd. At that time they had, I think, 1200 cows, commercial cows, 12-1400. And the opportunity came up and actually Joe Myers and myself went in this kind of co-managers of Anderson Circle.

 

[00:09:59.610] - Caleb Sadler

I remember those days.

 

[00:10:01.140] - Joe Goggin

I was there a couple of years and then as that was getting kind of winding down and before it sold, I came back to Ag Credit then.

 

[00:10:09.600] - Caleb Sadler

got you, I understand completely.

 

[00:10:11.350] - Shelby Wade

So you've had obviously a long stint here with that credit. What has kept you here over the years and obviously brought you back after that stint? As far as an organization goes.

 

[00:10:20.780] - Joe Goggin

It's a great place to work. It's very satisfying. You get to do something where you can truly see that you're helping people. If you kind of have looked at your job as not so much as making loans, you're really working with people to kind of make their dreams become reality, whether it's buying a farm or getting in the cattle business or the sheep business or whatever. Sometimes it can be challenging. Sometimes you have to maybe tell somebody, maybe we can't do this, but maybe let's look at scaling back and do this type deal. And I think it's part of our job is to be sure we're not leading somebody down the path to get them in trouble. I tell newer loan officers, your job is really not making loans, it's assessing risk for both Ag Credit and the borrower. And you got to keep that in mind.

 

[00:11:20.180] - Caleb Sadler

Yeah, you bring up a good point there too. And I always look at it assessing risk side of things, but when you look at it, we're loan officers but we're also financial advisors at the end of the day as well. And we're advising people whether it's a right decision or wrong decision. So there's a whole different can of worms there that we play too.

 

[00:11:40.940] - Joe Goggin

That's the great thing about Ag Credit is. Like I said. The coworkers here. But they all pretty much farm and if they're not actively farming right now. They grew up in a farm.

 

[00:11:54.150] - Caleb Sadler

They had a hand in it.

 

[00:11:55.060] - Joe Goggin

They had a hand in it and they understand when somebody comes in and they start talking about whether it be a cattle operation or an equine we've got people that fully understand what they're talking about. Maybe some challenges they're going to potentially face and can help them guide through the path they need to go.

 

[00:12:15.660] - Caleb Sadler

Good. Awesome. The reason we have you on today really is our upcoming Kentucky State Fair, and you serve in a unique aspect, I guess you could say, from the association, as well as your own standpoint being on the State Fair Board. So tell us a little bit about your role there and the things that you do from a state level for the youth of central Kentucky or Kentucky in general.

 

[00:12:42.400] - Joe Goggin

Sure. So I was appointed to the Kentucky State Fair Board in May of 2016. And if we've got a minute, I'll tell you an interesting story about that. They changed, actually the legislation. They rewrote the legislation at the General Assembly during the session in the winter, spring of 2016. Well, I was somewhat oblivious of that. I hadn't really kept up with it. And prior to that, Kentucky State Fair Board members did not have term limits. There was a lot of at large appointees on there that really didn't represent any specific organization or segment of agriculture or any other business. And in 2016, the legislature put a bill through, and it really defined who sits on the Fair board. And in conjunction with that, put term limits. So you can serve a maximum of three, four year terms.

 

[00:13:36.510] - Caleb Sadler

Okay.

 

[00:13:36.810] - Joe Goggin

And then you have to rotate off. So now we have representatives. I represent animal agriculture.

 

[00:13:43.730] - Caleb Sadler

Okay.

 

[00:13:44.060] - Joe Goggin

So organizations such as Kentucky Cattlemen Association, kentucky pork producers, sheep and wool producers, and the dairy, they get together and they submit six names, and from that six names the appointee is made. At that time, the governor made all of the appointees. Now, some legislation was put through this past year that now split some of the appointees to the Commissioner of Agriculture, as well as the Governor maintaining appointees. But anyway, back to 2016, Warren Beeler was the Executive Director of the Governor's Office of Agriculture Policy. Governor Bevin was in office, and he calls me and he said, Goggin, I need a favor. I said, well, sure, Warren. I've known Warren for literally since 1980s, I guess. And I said what do you need? I've got to have ten names on the governor's desk by 10:00 in the morning of people I recommend to put on the Fairboard. I said, okay. He says, I won't put your name down. I said. Oh, whoa. Okay. What's that involved? He told me, I knew it was going to be a big time commitment. And I also knew Caleb and Shelby, that our CEO, Jim Caldwell at the time was on vacation, and he totally couldn't communicate with him where they were on vacation.

 

[00:15:04.650] - Joe Goggin

He said, I'm going to email you a form. I want you to fill it out and turn it right back around to me. It's a form you have to fill out in order to serve on any state board. I said, Warren, I don't have permission. I'm going to have to check on this. And he made the comment. He goes, ah, Goggin, don't worry about it. He said, These all come down to political appointees. Honestly, you've got a better chance of winning the lottery. Keep in mind, this was in March. And so I filled it out, turned it in, I kind of forgot about it. A month goes by, I really had forgotten about it. Friday of Derby weekend, he calves me. It was Oaks Day. He said, Goggin, and he was traveling to Ohio to judge a swine show, and so his cell service was breaking up. But in between clipped out words, I got the gist of his message was the governor was going to announce the Fair Board nominees on Monday and that I was in the final group. I said, oh, shoot. And so the first thing I did was called our CEO, Mr.

 

[00:16:09.770] - Joe Goggin

Jim Caldwell, at the time and said I kind of did the thing a month ago. And so he was fine. And Ag Credit been wonderful with it to represent in a way not directly, but as an employee of Ag Credit, you do kind of carry that name with you when you serve on boards like this, whether it's State Fair Board or your local cattlemens or Farm Bureau, whatever organization you're in. And Jim said, I just got one piece of advice. Joe said, don't do anything to embarrass yourself or the person who sent you there or Ag Credit. And said, Well, I don't plan to, but I would definitely. So anyway, that's how I never met the Governor. It's just that Warren called me back then and said he was shocked that the Governor at that time took all ten of the names he submitted and made the comment that he wasn't going to make political appointments. He wanted people on there that would do the job and work.

 

[00:17:09.440] - Caleb Sadler

At the time, that was a really good team that worked back and forth.

 

[00:17:13.050] - Joe Goggin

Exactly. Yeah, exactly. So that's kind of how I got on the board. I've served there now six years this past May, like I said, represent animal agriculture. And so we're excited about State Fair coming up here in just a couple of weeks. It's a huge undertaking. In the eleven days of the fair, we expect close to 600,000 people come through the gates that's in the fair. There's just so much that goes on when you deal. And like yourself and myself that grew up showing cattle, and my kids grew up showing cattle and market hogs, and you tend to get in the west wing where the livestock is, and you get isolated off and you don't really experience the rest of the fair. And it really is an eye opening experience to be on that board and see everything else that goes on, not only at the Fair, but all of the other events.

 

[00:18:03.480] - Caleb Sadler

Yeah, that's why I was just getting ready to hit on that. I used to show cattle growing up and whenever we go to the state fair, it was a week long trip. We always looked at it like a vacation.

 

[00:18:12.590] - Joe Goggin

Exactly.

 

[00:18:13.490] - Caleb Sadler

Either that or junior nationals we were going to that was our vacation for the year. And we go in and we'd stay in that west wing and we really wouldn't get out to experience the remainder of the fair. Shelby, I don't know where is it the same with you in the pig barn?

 

[00:18:26.030] - Shelby Wade

We did actually get out a lot. So like you guys, we were there, we camped out, took it as a vacation. My parents took off work and such, but we always took at least one or two days and went all the way around the fair. So my favorite part was going through and it's changed a little bit since I was there, but going through all the exhibit halls for whatever reason, the cake decorating was my favorite. Probably because they're like just crazy good. But, you know, all the tobacco that was in there, the hay, the corn, just photography, anything that you can imagine there is a category that you can compete in. So yeah, I actually really enjoyed doing that.

 

[00:19:09.050] - Caleb Sadler

There was one thing that I never really got to look at because I think it was after whenever the cattle moved out or whatnot, or it was at the end of the week was the pumpkin contest.

 

[00:19:16.920] - Shelby Wade

Yes.

 

[00:19:17.410] - Caleb Sadler

And when they bring those big things in there, I think that's pretty cool.

 

[00:19:22.530] - Joe Goggin

Interesting you brought that up the last three or four years, actually. And we started it somewhat as a joke. We had a couple of our board members that just kind of they're very outgoing and they said, hey, we're going to emcee this and just kind of make it a production. And we call it the Pumpkin and Melon Show now. And it's at the way in. Well, because last year, the way the schedules are, there's nothing going on in the west hall that first weekend and where it had always been held outside and it was hot and everything. We've moved the entries the weighing in of the giant pumpkins and watermelons into the west hall, put bleachers up. We had a huge crowd. It was actually the most viewed live stream of the state fair the last two years. It's phenomenal the number of people that tune in and watch that and then pick it up throughout the next ten days.

 

[00:20:15.800] - Caleb Sadler

Well, you bring that. I mean, we talk about that and we get on the topic of pumpkins and we're ag lenders at the same time, but I judged the cattle show at the Big E one year, and I think it's Connecticut, if I remember right. But it's a big deal up there for them. They'll have like 15 people or maybe more than that, and they'll bring these pumpkins in. And these people, I mean, it's like their baby. They've baby all year.

 

[00:20:39.250] - Joe Goggin

This year, for the first time, we're actually sanctioned with the national organization, on these giant pumpkins and watermelons. We actually had a state fair record last year on the size of the pumpkin. And this guy literally when that weight came up on the scales, they take such care of these pumpkins that when they're growing them, they actually roll them onto these pads so then they don't have to move them. They just go on underneath a pallet that this pad is on and pick it up. So when they're entered in their way, they're inspected. If you have any crack or blemish in it, then it's disqualified.

 

[00:21:17.910] - Caleb Sadler

Oh, no joke.

 

[00:21:18.890] - Joe Goggin

This guy, a year before his was disqualified, it had this slight and underneath it, it was starting to crack.

 

[00:21:25.910] - Caleb Sadler

Oh, man.

 

[00:21:26.680] - Joe Goggin

And this year it was exciting because he was down, everybody was inspecting. Then it got the go ahead to be put on the scales. And then when it won, the guy literally was sheding tears. He spent so much time and everything on it. It's like Caleb. One of us going to junior nationals.

 

[00:21:43.310] - Caleb Sadler

That's exactly right. Or winning or something.

 

[00:21:45.360] - Joe Goggin

Yeah.

 

[00:21:46.130] - Ben Robin

I was going to say for the listeners that don't know what is the size of that, how big is it?

 

[00:21:51.430] - Joe Goggin

Ben,I don't remember. I want to say 1700 and change.

 

[00:21:57.450] - Caleb Sadler

When you think about that in the size of a pumpkin.

 

[00:21:59.930] - Joe Goggin

Yes. What they go through, watering every hay and the fertilizer and fusing in with the water. They've got it down to a science.

 

[00:22:09.120] - Caleb Sadler

I always heard that they could infuse milk into the vein of the pumpkin and it would make it grow bigger. I don't know. I don't know the truth of that either. I talk like I like I am an expert.

 

[00:22:19.030] - Joe Goggin

But they're very open sharing. This guy will provide seeds for anybody that wants to get into it and grow giant pumpkins. He'll provide you pumpkin seeds to do that. So it's really a neat group, but it's become a very popular event at the state fair. That first Saturday, we weigh in the pumpkins and watermelons.

 

[00:22:39.690] - Caleb Sadler

Yeah. Do you ever cut the watermelon after they weigh them in?

 

[00:22:42.070] - Joe Goggin

I haven't, no.

 

[00:22:42.730] - Caleb Sadler

I was going to say I probably wouldn't want to eat that. It might be too sweet or might be a little bitter.

 

[00:22:49.950] - Shelby Wade

Like some of the things we've mentioned here for the listeners who maybe haven't been to the State fair as not as familiar with it as we are. The things that we're mentioning, a lot of these different categories of things that people enter into are youth for each FFA members. So usually age nine through 21, usually. And then we also have some adult entries, adult classes as well. So it's really all categories and all ages. And everybody is involved in these types of things as well. And even in of course, we're talking about livestock. We're livestock people, but even younger get to be involved in that with novice classes and things like that. So just kind of give a background on ages.

 

[00:23:30.490] - Caleb Sadler

No, that's awesome. I appreciate that. So I will bring up one thing because I think you played a vital role in this when they did it, and that was the conversion of the Sale of Champions over to a Championship Drive.

 

[00:23:43.900] - Joe Goggin

Yes.

 

[00:23:44.410] - Caleb Sadler

Which, if I could go back and look at my showing career, I wish this thing was in existence. And I think Shelby would agree. I wish this was in existence when I was showing because it recognizes so many people and it puts so many people and so many youth under the spotlight. So tell us a little bit about that side of it. And Shelby and I both know a little bit, so we might even be able to feed off each other here. But tell us a little bit about that transition and what made you all go to that route.

 

[00:24:11.740] - Joe Goggin

Of course, the Sale of Champion started, I guess it was in the late 1970s, and started out it was the Champion and Reserve market steer, market lamb and market hog. And then obviously, when the market goes up, came into competitive, being shown at the State Fair level, then that was added as the four species. So at the Sale of Champions in it, it was very successful in its goals of promoting the youth livestock showing and highlighting. But really, the one drawback to it was it only emphasized and promoted the four youth who had the champion and reserves of each species. Well, 8, 4Champions and four reserves for the four species. And so a group of State Fair board members, we went to Indiana, they had started theirs up there a few years ago, and we watched their Championship Drive and came back and said, this is what we really have to do. And I will give really most of the credit to Warren Beeler again as well as Dr. Richard Coffey who was head of the Animal Science Department at University of Kentucky recently. Now at Oklahoma State University.

 

[00:25:35.080] - Caleb Sadler

Yes.

 

[00:25:35.880] - Joe Goggin

Both of them really pushed for many years to go from a Sale of Champions platform to the Championship Drive. So what we do now is each of the four market animal species, we pick all of the whether it be class Champions, divisional Champions, or breed champions, depending on the species, which is, by the way, one thing we also changed in the steer market animal class. It was always just yeah, it's always shown by weight, and now we show by breeds. And so that has really picked up and helped our numbers. We knew that there were already some purebred registered steers in the state because they were going to the respective breed Junior Nationals. You had registered Angus Steers, you had registered Hereford Steers and other breeds. And so we decided, well, okay, we're going to have this Championship Drive let's also migrate the steers to show by breed and we pick a top five. It's a Championship Drive. So on each of the days during the show, say for the Market Steer, Market Hog, Market Lamb, Market Goat, we pick the class winners or the Divisional Champions or the Breed Champions, but then they all come back on Thursday night, that second Thursday night at 06:00 for the Championship Drive and it is really quite a production.

 

[00:27:01.650] - Joe Goggin

We pick all of our Market Animal Champions and Reserves and Top Five in each species all at the same night, back to back. It's a huge event. We've had 3000 or 4000 people in Broadbent Arena attending that and that is another one Ag Credit always from the very first Championship Drive stepped up and said we're going to help sponsor this and we're going to help underwrite the cost of live streaming. And that has been huge. Yeah, we get people tuning in from all across the country to this Championship Drive and watching it and really thanks to a lot to Ag Credit for helping underwrite the cost of live streaming that event.

 

[00:27:47.140] - Caleb Sadler

And I think not only this is going off of memory too, but not only does it recognize those four species that night, but the Dairy show is the prior week. So they actually recognize the Champions, I think from that show too.

 

[00:28:01.490] - Joe Goggin

We do. And actually we started last year with the Dairy having their own Championship Drive because we had all of the light rigging and all of the facilities were set up in Broadbent Arena to do it. And so they kind of got a taste by coming to the Market Animal Championship Drive. Really liked it. They had not had an opportunity to really have their own and showcase the Youth Show of the Dairy. And so now we do have a Championship Drive for the Dairy the week before.

 

[00:28:34.800] - Shelby Wade

Yeah, it definitely brought like fresh, you know, just a whole new perspective into the livestock shows. Like Caleb and I mentioned, we've done this for numerous years, I think I showed for 15 years and while I loved it, it's the same thing every year. Like you said, the few times we got to our Champion Drive of the hogs or of the cattle, it's just the hog people watching or just the cattle people. So like having this fresh new light and something that those kids can look forward to having three, four, 5000 people viewing, it's definitely exciting.

 

[00:29:08.400] - Joe Goggin

Yeah, you talk to people, that when those spotlights come on and it's really an exciting event. But now we see it filter back. If you talk to people who sell Market Lambs, market Hogs, market goats or show steers, when kids come to their place looking at those, they talk about wanting to get one to make the drive. And in the past you only had, like I said, in each species you're only picking two champion and the reserve. You only had two for each species. Now we've got 80 kids that go through that drive, through the four species. And so when they're looking to buy market lamb, hey, do you think it's good enough to make the drive?

 

[00:29:51.950] - Caleb Sadler

Exactly.

 

[00:29:52.480] - Joe Goggin

Just excited to make the drive then. Now we've added not only selecting a champion and reserve, but we go down five places. So we do a top five overall, which adds another level of excitement.

 

[00:30:04.000] - Caleb Sadler

That's exactly right. And when you look at it, when you look at it from a competitive standpoint, it certainly added a whole new dynamic. Even I used to show steers at that point. And we brought up the fact that when I was showing it was done by weight. I really wish, looking back now, we should have transitioned to a breeding show a long time ago because the competition level for those other breeds, for instance, in the steer classes is certainly picked up.

 

[00:30:34.700] - Joe Goggin

Absolutely.

 

[00:30:35.790] - Caleb Sadler

So I know one thing that you all have incorporated this year. And I know that Central Kentucky Ag Credit really prides itself on too. We sponsor a Sunshine class through the Fayette county Bluegrass Fair. And I know that you all have incorporated one this year for the Kentucky State Fair. So tell us a little bit about why you all did that and your thought process there.

 

[00:30:57.360] - Joe Goggin

Well, we did, and this is the first year we're going to have a Sunshine Class, and it's going to be the second Wednesday of the fair on the 24th 06:00. It'll be about 30 minutes after the market lamb show ends. And that's something that I brought up as a board member after seeing the one at the Bluegrass Fair that Ag Credit sponsors here locally. And for those who don't know, a Sunshine Class. It's a class where we offer for special needs kids who probably would never have an opportunity to be around an animal like a lamb, a show lamb, and actually have a chance to take that lamb, lead that lamb in the ring in the show. And we're really excited about this. We've seen it at the Bluegrass fair. I've heard about it at some other shows around the country. And it's really a moving experience because it's not only good for that special needs kid to get this opportunity, but you use the 4-H and FFA kids to pair them with a special needs kid, to work with them, to go in the ring with them. What a great opportunity for that 4-H or FFA member to get the chance and the experience of working with the special needs child who never gets this opportunity and actually go in the ring with them.

 

[00:32:16.700] - Joe Goggin

So it's just really a win win situation. It's something we wanted to do on the State Fair level, and I think it's going to be really big. We started actually in the past year a foundation, the Kentucky Exposition Foundation, that is separate from the Fair board to help raise funds for our championship drive and then also for events like this. The foundation is going to underwrite the Sunshine Class at the State Fair. And I think it's just going to be a really exciting event. And I hope the kids in the barn that have animals there get as much out of it as the kids participating themselves.

 

[00:32:56.710] - Caleb Sadler

I think they will. If I look back at my show career, and I think Shelby would say the same thing, that's just phenomenal. I wish that that was something that was in existence when we were showing from a youth standpoint. And what we do today, we try to give our expertise and our guidance onto people, and what better way to do that to a special needs individual? Makes you feel a lot better.

 

[00:33:23.860] - Shelby Wade

How do people register for this?

 

[00:33:27.210] - Joe Goggin

Actually, the staff at the fairgrounds is working on that and getting people to participate. But I know they're going to be working with some schools in the area and they're going to be working with some organizations. When you think of special needs, kids, can be a broad spectrum of different groups that they can work with. And we really hope to if we have 25, maybe even do two rounds of 25, it would just be phenomenal.

 

[00:33:58.960] - Shelby Wade

So if anybody interested, reach out to you or any other fair board members, go to the website.

 

[00:34:04.790] - Joe Goggin

Yes, the State Fair website, the expositions department.

 

[00:34:08.820] - Caleb Sadler

And you said that was the second Wednesday.

 

[00:34:11.380] - Joe Goggin

 Wednesday the 24th. And really something interesting that morning, that's our Sensory Awareness Day at the fair. And so that morning, our Kissel Entertainment, who has the midway rides at the fair, and they are huge supporters of the livestock shows, by the way. They're very large contributors to the championship drive and just a great family organization to work with. But Kissel Entertainment is going to open up the midway that morning for sensory awareness. And the rides will be available for these kids without any lights, without any sound, and so they can come and still

 

[00:34:54.990] - Caleb Sadler

That will be neat.

 

[00:34:55.790] - Joe Goggin

Take part in the midway rides where they may have some sensory issues. There will not be any lights on, no sound, no loud noises, and they can take part in riding the rides on the midway that morning. And that's another reason we wanted this.

 

[00:35:12.190] - Caleb Sadler

Class to back off that evening.

 

[00:35:13.930] - Joe Goggin

And so it just kind of dovetails the two together.

 

[00:35:18.400] - Caleb Sadler

 So anything new that's going to be coming up at the fair besides the Sunshine Class this year, or any, I guess you could say, particular exciting activities that will happen?

 

[00:35:27.440] - Joe Goggin

Well, we're just thrilled to after coming out of COVID in 2020, we had to have a scale back fair where we were one of the few fairs, though we did have our livestock shows and our World Championship Horse show. But that's all we were able to have we came back last year in 2021 with the full fair, but it's still kind of during the COVID, people were still apprehensive and it was very hot. If you remember back to August of 2021, it's kind of like what we've just come through in June and July here this year. But now we've got, like I said, the Sunshine class over in the south wing. Of course, we have Agland. Agland is where a lot of the commodity organizations come together. We have a very large display over there where they all have exhibits as well as the Department of Agriculture, UK College of Agriculture, Murray State, different organizations. And it's an area where people, whether you're involved in agriculture, and especially if you're not, you can come and learn about agriculture. And we have some equipment. We've got a couple of dealerships that are very good about bringing in some large pieces, piece of equipment, and it's really interesting to go over there and watch people.

 

[00:36:46.290] - Joe Goggin

Of course, we're so heavily involved in agriculture, we take that for granted sometimes. But when you go to a place, even Louisville, and people are so far removed and they look at a piece of equipment and absolutely have no idea what it's for or where food comes from other than the grocery.

 

[00:37:06.040] - Caleb Sadler

Well and that's exactly I mean, you brought up a good point there. I mean, all we're trying to do is educate the people at that point. They got to know where their food comes from and how things work and how the world goes around, essentially.

 

[00:37:17.730] - Shelby Wade

For those wondering, what are the dates of the Kentucky State Fair? So we'll get out the calendar here. First day, really action packed here August 18, that's a Thursday, and as Joe mentioned, goes eleven days and ends Sunday, August 28. And pull up a calendar on your phone, go on the website. There's all kinds of events every single day, livestock related, ag related, and of course, things that aren't even ag related, too. So definitely get out to the State Fair. It's an experience that everybody needs to take on at least once in their life. So we make it every year tradition, but definitely get out there and experience it.

 

[00:37:59.540] - Caleb Sadler

Absolutely, yeah. Tickets are cheap, too.

 

[00:38:01.310] - Joe Goggin

Yeah.

 

[00:38:02.310] - Shelby Wade

And a lot of free concerts and things of an evening that go along with your ticket purchased. So definitely a fairly inexpensive family event and very family friendly for everybody.

 

[00:38:15.810] - Joe Goggin

Yeah, and we've got special days at the fair, so reduced ticket prices on certain days. I would encourage everybody to go to the website, Kystatefair.org, and look up and see. We have a military day for any veterans can get in. And we have different special days like that. I know here the first week of August. If you buy tickets online, it's free parking, so that's a big saving.

 

[00:38:45.970] - Shelby Wade

Perfect.

 

[00:38:46.400] - Joe Goggin

So I just encourage everybody to go to the website, check out the schedule and there's something there for everybody. If you get outside of the livestock or the agriculture side, just go outside and it's just amazing to watch, as you can see, truly across section of society at a Kentucky State Fair. And one thing really that is extremely unique to Kentucky. We're the only state fair in America that has a saddlebred horse show and we have the World's Championship Horse show that is held during the state fair and it is a huge event. And people think of Kentucky a lot of times, they think of thoroughbreds and thoroughbred racing. But really saddlebread the show horses are a huge component as well and it is a very big event.

 

[00:39:39.440] - Caleb Sadler

Well, if you think about it, too, I mean, just looking at the Kentucky Horse park, I mean, there's a lot more to equine or horses than just your thoroughbreds coming out of Kentucky.

 

[00:39:49.950] - Shelby Wade

You mentioned the whole aspects of society that you get to see. I've got to tell this story, and I love to tell any time we talk about the state fair. So I grew up in the hog barn, of course, and those of you who've been around hogs, you understand, they have a smell, they have a very strong smell. But watching these kids from inner city schools coming in, holding their noses, dodging, you know, piles of poop and such, they do. And we try to clean up as best as we can, but I always love talking with those kids, though, and their teachers and just kind of like introducing them a little bit to what we got going on. And it's not just like a stinky animal, but I always did enjoy those interactions with those people that I wouldn't necessarily get to have at the farm or, even here where we work. Ag Credit.

 

[00:40:43.990] - Joe Goggin

Absolutely. It's like Caleb said, it's a great educational opportunity, people in agriculture to educate our urban cousins.

 

[00:40:53.070] - Caleb Sadler

That's exactly right. Yeah. I don't even know that we brought this up, but the Kentucky State Fair, if you're listening, is located in Louisville at the Kentucky Fair and Expo Center there off of Waterson Expressway there.

 

[00:41:06.840] - Shelby Wade

Very easy access.

 

[00:41:07.880] - Caleb Sadler

Yes, very easy. Lots of parking. So make sure you get out and.

 

[00:41:10.960] - Joe Goggin

Visit and concerts most every night. And they're all free. Yeah.

 

[00:41:15.130] - Caleb Sadler

Awesome. Well, Joe, we really appreciate having you on to Beyond Agriculture. Maybe we look forward to having you back on at some point in time as we may put out another episode for the podcast. But to our listeners, we thank you for tuning in again and be sure to go out and like, subscribe and share our podcast.

 

[00:41:34.720]

This episode of Beyond Agriculture is brought to you by Central Kentucky Ag Credit.Thanks for listening to the podcast. Be sure to visit Agreditonline.com/BeyondAgriculture, access the show notes, and discover our fantastic bonus content. Also, don't forget to hit the subscribe button so you're you can join us next time for Beyond Agriculture.

 

Episode 11 Interest Rate, Commodities and Lines of Credit

 

 This week join Caleb, Tom Zack, Ben and Shelby and learn about how lines of credit can be used throughout the year. Hear Tom Zack's thoughts on rising input costs and how hay production has been effected by the weather. Caleb helps to explain when it is beneficial to have a line of credit and Ben updates everyone on how inflation and rising interest rates can effect the economy. 

View Transcript
Caleb Sadler (00:01)

Welcome to Beyond Agriculture, the podcast that takes you beyond the scope of AG and into the real life stories, conversations, and events taking place in our community. Who we are and what we do is Beyond Agriculture. Hello and welcome in to Beyond Agriculture. Caleb Sadler back with you today. I'm also joined with Shelby Wade and Tom Zack Evans, and also the man behind the scenes, been Robin again with us back in our Paris branch today. It's good to have everyone here today. And good morning. How are y'all doing?

 

Shelby Wade (00:38)

Good. Caleb, how's it going with you?

 

Caleb Sadler (00:39)

Good, going excellent. Coming back off a good weekend. Busy weekend at that  Tom Zack, what did you all get into this weekend?

 

Tom Zack (00:48)

It has been busy. We attended the antique tractor show here in Bourbon County and Battle of Bluegrass Pool that Ag Credit was a sponsor of. And I think they had one of the biggest turnouts they've had in several years.

 

Caleb Sadler (01:01)

Yeah, I was out there on Saturday and we were talking there. My family, of course, we exhibited a couple of gas engines, and it was probably one of the biggest shows that we've had out there in a long time.

 

Shelby Wade (01:13)

And the weather was perfect.

 

Tom Zack (01:15)

Yeah, it was. It cooled off some. We just concluded Harrison County Fair last week. Had really good turnout for it from livestock shows, the tractor pull, we work the gate, Ag Credit. Did Thursday night had, I guess, one of the biggest nights of the fair. My gosh, that was really good. And the other thing that can't go without mentioning is the rain we've gotten. I think all of central Kentucky was desperately needing the rain. And now I think I got a little mud on my feet yesterday.

 

Caleb Sadler (01:51)

It feels good. Finally, I was actually talking we went and ate dinner last night in Lexington, and I was talking to a borrower that ran into at the restaurant, and he was talking about his tobacco, and he said they were getting ready to start topping, but they're actually going to start with the latest tobacco they set. And then the earliest is actually looks like it's stunned a little bit from being so dry early on, so man, it's been tough.

 

Tom Zack (02:13)

Yeah, the rain has really been a blessing.

 

Caleb Sadler (02:15)

Ben, what's new with you? It's been a while since you've been on and anything exciting on your end?

 

Ben Robin (02:21)

Yeah, that's been a while. I haven't got to join you all lately. Now we're busy on the farm and taking a few trips, trying to get the girls out and about before they start school, before we get back in the groove of that. So had a pretty good conference this weekend with Farm Bureau Generation Bridge and so just watching it rain.

 

Caleb Sadler (02:44)

Yeah, well, I know what you're meaning on that one. Now, you all were recently in DC. That was a pretty neat trip, wasn't it?

 

Ben Robin (02:50)

Yeah, that was kind of one of the spontaneous trips we took that we didn't really have planned, and it was fun. First time the girls had ever been to DC. First time they'd been on a plane. So we drove out there with one of my wife's friends and flew them back. So it was awesome. Fun trip. Yeah, we really enjoyed it. Really hot out there. Gosh, it was hot.

 

Caleb Sadler (03:08)

We were talking there earlier before we got started recording, and I remember going one time this has been a few years ago, actually, I think it was '18 when I moved to the Paris branch, and we went to the Cherry Blossom Festival. And my gosh, the amount of people is unbelievable. Anytime you're really in DC, it's that way.

 

Shelby Wade (03:31)

I've never been. I'm looking forward to going, but I just haven't been yet. Maybe next time i'll hop on with Ben, we'll go. Yeah, you and the girls. I'll experience it, too.

 

Ben Robin (03:38)

They want to go back. They enjoyed it. They, of course, wanted to see the White House, so we did all that, and it was really fun.

 

Caleb Sadler (03:45)

Now, did you all get to go inside, like tour inside the White House?

 

Ben Robin (03:48)

No, I guess the president had Covid. They didn't have any tours, but you can actually get a lot closer. Last time we were there, you couldn't get close to the they had, like, a barricade up before you can get to the fence, so you could actually go right to the fence.

 

Caleb Sadler (04:06)

When I went time before last, that was one of the tours that we went on. We actually got to go through the White House, so it was really cool.

 

Ben Robin (04:14)

Yeah, no, we didn't get to go in, but we got to see it. It was a fun time.

 

Caleb Sadler (04:17)

Well, back on topic here, just kind of telling you a little bit about what's going on in our lives and what we've been going through the past couple of weeks here, but one thing that we wanted to get in touch on here a line of credit and what it is and truly what it can do to help your operation. So, Tom Zack, tell us a little bit about what technically a line of credit is.

 

Tom Zack (04:39)

Well, we offer some different types of lines of credit here at Central Kentucky Ag Credit, and they offer another tool in your toolbox for cash flow purposes throughout your cattle cycle, your crop year, whatever your operation is, they are another tool there to help you manage risk and also manage the cash flow. And so the most popular would be the crop operating line of credit. So whether your tobacco, corn, beans, wheat, whatever crop you're raising hay sometimes in the spring, you're putting a lot of inputs in. And like this year, things were extremely high, the highest we've ever paid in our life.

 

Caleb Sadler (05:29)

Prime example of that, we've had numerous people come back in and needed to increase their line of credit because they got a fertilizer bill that they were not prepared to see. And I know we've done several that way here across the association and in this branch as well.

 

Tom Zack (05:44)

Yeah. So you're hit with a lot of cost in the spring and sometimes your checkbook just can't handle all that. Another thing is sometimes you could go ahead and lock in some prices earlier if you have the cash flow to do that and lock in a better price than what you would be paying maybe later on for these inputs. So you have the cash there to go ahead and do that. So the crop operating line is one of the most popular. Caleb, I know you deal with a lot of the feeder lines of credit if you want to talk about those.

 

Caleb Sadler (06:24)

Yeah, so the feeder cattle lines of credit, they were very similar, I guess you could say, into a crop line of credit. But they're on a twelve month cycle generally is how we set those up on. And what those lines of credit are used for are to purchase those livestock. If you're turning stocker cattle or feeder cattle out on an annual basis, you'll buy, fund those cattle, the purchases of those cattle off the line of credit. You may have some expenses associated with those cattle in terms of vet, hay, mineral, things like that through the course of the twelve months. And then once you sell those cattle, you would turn that money back to that line of credit. And as long as that line of credit is revolved or the largest principal balance you've had on that line has been turned to the past twelve months, we're good to revolve that line and turn that back over for another year and renew that. I know that there are some unique tools that we have in the toolbox in terms of for young, beginning, smaller farmers. Regarding FSA guarantee lines of credit, tell us a little bit why it's different between those and just a standard in house line of credit.

 

Tom Zack (07:24)

That's right, Caleb. So we offer lines of credit from one to five years. Sometimes the beginning person coming in might just be twelve months and as long as they cycle that line properly, then we can do three years the next time. Sometimes because of the size of the accounts, they're still just twelve months. But on our FSA guaranteed lines of credit, the way those guarantees work, we're able to go out five years on those lines of credit. So that's pretty nice, you're not having to touch those. But those do come with some extra criteria that we have to follow throughout the year per FSA. I was also going to mention that a line of credit for someone's not familiar, it's kind of like a credit card, but it's a lot lower interest rate. Typically ours follow prime. So if prime goes up. Which we've been experiencing. Federal Reserve has been raising rates and so anybody with a line of credit will get notification that that rate has gone up. But it is like a credit card where you would use it to help with those cash flow purposes and then pay it back when you sell your crops.

 

Tom Zack (08:37)

When you sell your cattle. That sort of thing.

 

Caleb Sadler (08:40)

So, Tom Zack, I know that you brought up a really good point, and I'm going to get off topic a little bit here and maybe dig into the weeds a little bit, but you referenced there that our lines

 

Caleb Sadler (08:50)

 of credit are tied to prime, and you said that the Fed sets that rate. And just recently, I know that the Fed raised interest rates. Ben, tell us a little bit about why the Fed has been raising these interest rates of recent and the last jump that they just did last week.

 

Ben Robin (09:08)

Yeah. So you kind of discuss a little bit of how the rates are set at the Federal Reserve level. But really the main purpose of raising rates is to slow down the economy. When there's money moving through the cycles, real estate is in demand. It's cheaper to borrow money. So there's a lot of movement in the markets. Well, the Fed controlling interest rates. They have the barometer of how the economy is going. And if things need to slow down, they raise rates, try to pull the reins back a little bit. That's the easiest explanation.

 

Caleb Sadler (09:47)

Yeah.

 

Tom Zack (09:47)

I would say this inflation is the highest it's been in our lifetimes. I'm sitting here as a 37 year old, and inflation has never been this high. And as they raise rates, then less people can afford to buy stuff. So it's going to slow the economy down. And I think they're trying to target in that 2% to 3% inflation rate and where it's over 9%.

 

Caleb Sadler (10:11)

The last article that I read, the inflation rate was 9.7% and no real signs of slowing down right now.

 

Tom Zack (10:18)

And they're trying really hard to raise these rates cautiously to slow the economy down, but not send us into a recession. Some would argue that we're already in a recession, but the Federal Reserve is trying not to send us into a deep, long recession like we've experienced in the past.

 

Caleb Sadler (10:36)

So we'll get back on topic. Thank you both for answering that for me there and pitching in some Shelby, what should a farmer look to have in preparation to come in to get a line of credit?

 

Shelby Wade (10:50)

Yeah, great question, Caleb. And we get this question a lot. So it's basically going to be if you've never had a line of credit or any other loans with us, bringing the same things that you would just get in a tractor or a landloan. So have on hand recent tax returns. We typically ask for the last three years and then an updated balance sheet. And that updated balance sheet is going to have all the things that you own, all your assets, all your equipment. If you've currently got crops in what you've gotten growing crops, things like that. So have all that ready, bring that to us and then we will kind of simulate from there how big a line you need versus what you think you need. And we want to make sure you have enough but also not go too crazy to kind of get you in a little bit of trouble and make sure it fits your production history. Now, if you're a new farmer, obviously you might not have those historical tax returns, these things that we would need to kind of establish what you've done in the past. We're going to look at what your goals are, how many acres of corn you're looking to grow, how many head of cattle, whatever.

 

Shelby Wade (11:55)

Kind of look at your goals and go from there. Based on current market like you mentioned, feed rates, fertilizer, what it is. So those are kind of the types of things we look at to establish the right line for you.

 

Tom Zack (12:09)

I'll just add to that that if you're a beginning farmer starting out, a lot of times cash is tight because you're trying to get your operation established. So the beginning farmers typically need those lines of credit. Also, the larger operations need the lines of credit. Me personally, I'm not afraid to admit that I'm not a large operation. We're just square baled hay and some cattle, not a huge operation. When I was a beginning farmer, I did have a line of credit because I was raising tobacco and just strictly for cash flow purposes. But now, just with the hay operation I don't have a line of credit anymore. But someone with a larger operation probably would because they got a lot more expenses going out. Also, folks with feeder livestock, a lot of times they have lines of credit because they're purchasing large amounts of cattle and then of course when they sell those cattle, they can pay that back.

 

Caleb Sadler (13:19)

I know we've talked a little bit about it the term wise and we've talked a lot about revolving lines of credit. But there are multiple kinds of lines of credit that Central Kentucky Ag Credit offers, whether that be if you were looking on a construction loan or if you were building a project on the farm. So we offer both revolving line of credit as well as a non revolving line of credit. Shelby, tell us a little bit about the non revolving line of credit and what those we tend to set those up for.

 

Shelby Wade (13:50)

Yeah, that's a good point, Caleb. The nonrevolving lines of credit are also very useful. A lot of times we set those up for, like you mentioned, construction type deals or farm improvement loans. So basically we'll set it up for you. You can take the funds out as you need and then at the end we'll term it out on a certain term depending on what the loan looks like. And we also do that too with breeder cattle we'll do a certain amount of time, usually three to six months depending on how many head you're looking to purchase. So that way you don't have to purchase them all in one place. You can shop around and get the best deal. And then once you get them bought, we'll term out the amount of funds you spend. If you don't use it all, that's great. We'll only term out what you've spent on those catalog or the project.

 

Tom Zack (14:34)

I'll give you a couple of examples on that just for folks listening that maybe haven't done that before. I've got a gentleman right now, he's building a farm shop and of course supplies are hard to come by and so we actually gave him twelve months to do it. And so he's pulling out money as he poured the concrete, as he got it framed, he's going to insulate the inside and put some heat in it and all that. So as he's building that as a non-revolving line because he's just pulling the money out. And then once it's done, then we'll put it out on terms where he can make monthly or annual payments on that. Another one I did recently was just a farm improvement loan. They were doing some dozing and fencing on the farm and so they were having to wait on the dozer guy to get there and then they were having to wait on the fence builder to get there. So instead of paying interest on that money the whole time, you only pay interest as you pull it out. That's people's number one question generally is do I have to pay interest on this the whole time?

 

Tom Zack (15:42)

No, it's just when you pull the money out.

 

Caleb Sadler (15:45)

Yeah.

 

Caleb Sadler (15:45)

And the nice part about the line of credit feature is if you don't know the amount that you're going to need, we are always able to set up a larger amount just out of abundance of caution for you and then turn around and you term out whatever you use. We're not going to term out the full amount, it's just based on the funds that you use at that time. So one thing that we've got a little spreadsheet here that we're going by today a little bit, but one topic that I see on the sheet is renewal season. And this is something that's kind of evolved over the course of time as production has changed in central Kentucky. But when we were predominantly tobacco producers back in the would have said that there was a set renewal season of probably coming up in the spring. Now when you start to look at our portfolio, really the renewal season is all twelve months of the year because everybody's operation is totally different now. It's not just heavily dependent on tobacco or row crop production. A lot of these cattle guys, there's a couple of lines of credit right now that we're working on renewals for stocker and background guys.

 

Caleb Sadler (16:49)

So I would just say that right now the renewal season is basically twelve months out of the year. Now obviously that we're hit with that more heavily in the spring. For those guys that have different aspects of the operation, whether it be cattle, grain, corn, soybeans, or tobacco, those are probably still on that spring renewal schedule, just like normal.

 

Shelby Wade (17:16)

And renewing your line of credit just for those who aren't fully aware of what the process is. Is basically if we've got you set up for a year. Twelve months. Come back to us with your production history. All you've spent. What you've grown. Things of that nature. And if the line worked for you. That was a good amount. We'll renew it for another year or we can take it on out. Or if you don't want the line of credit anymore, we can cancel it. It's not something you have to do. And if there's an issue getting repayment back on the line, we can term it out and put it on terms if need be. But that's kind of a little bit of example of what we mean by renewal.

 

Tom Zack (17:56)

One of the biggest things that we look for is that the line of credit has been turned. That's what we always ask. We look back on the transaction history to make sure that you didn't just take all the money out and it's just kind of sitting there as we would call stale. We like to see that money cycled as you sell your crops, as you sell your cattle, cycle that money back through. That's also cutting down on the amount of interest you pay because it's back on the line. Then when you have more expenses come up, you would pull that money back out.

 

Caleb Sadler (18:30)

So as we're talking about it here, one of the tools that we look at, and Shelby brought this up earlier with requiring three years of tax returns and for the application process. But that's actually one of the tools that we look at when we try to establish and set up a line of credit when you look at the tax returns and the first place we go to is that Schedule F. And if we're looking about setting you up a line of credit. We don't want to set you up a line of credit that's bigger than your operation because that tells us right there that you're not going to turn enough money through the line of credit and there's going to be some stale funds that would establish do that. So that's one of the first places that we go to is the Schedule F on the tax returns and looking at that gross farm income that you have to make sure that we're going to set a lot of credit up that adequately funds your operation. Not too big, but not too small either.

 

Ben Robin (19:20)

You talked a little bit about that there, but you got young beginning farmers. What if they don't have the tax returns, what do you do then?

 

Tom Zack (19:27)

Yeah, well, in that place, Ben, we rely heavily on projections for that kind of stuff and we use the UK, University of Kentucky, Ag econ budgets a lot and we can tailor those to your operation. So don't think that just because the university says this much mineral or this much hay, we tailor that to your operation and what you think you're going to realistically use, but we can use those projections, say, okay, we think based on this, that you're going to gross 80,000 off the farm and you're going to have 60,000 in expenses to gross at $80,000. So that's a big tool in our toolbox to help with beginning farmers that may not know what they're going to need.

 

Caleb Sadler (20:16)

And you brought up a really good point and this kind of goes back to the young beginning farmer side of things too. But I would encourage those people, if you're starting out farming right now or you're a young beginning farmer, go out and look at those budgets that UK has to offer because those are a great place to get started with knowing how much you're going to need and how much return you're expected to have.

 

Ben Robin (20:38)

That's what I was going to say, just to see if it is going to be profitable, given the current Ag landscape in the market.

 

Caleb Sadler (20:44)

And I tell you right now, if you look at the way commodity prices have been the past three weeks, we're knocking on the door of some producers. If they didn't lock in some prices, these fertilizer prices that they put this stuff on with, it could be getting really close to a break even right now.

 

Tom Zack (21:00)

That's right. I was on an adm call, they have a conference call once a month I call into, and that was last week. And a lot of these fertilizer prices, whether it's Urea or Murate, are getting down in that 700 range, depending on your supplier. I think in Cynthia's it was 740 a few weeks ago when I checked. And based on that ADM call and these world economists that are on there, that's probably about as good as we are going to see on prices and that's going to carry on through the fall. If you're an operator that thinks you can lock in a margin for next year with those kinds of prices, then you ought to probably look about doing that. They said obviously, that as we go into winter, fertilizer will follow those natural gas prices pretty heavily. So look for fertilized prices to come back up as we go into winter.

 

Caleb Sadler (21:58)

That gives you some good insight going forward next year, looking at 2023 growing. So make note of that. Go ahead and try to lock in some fertilizer prices right now. So, Shelby, I know that you offer a different aspect because you all do finish out some pigs and things like that. What are commodity prices like right now on that end of it?

 

Shelby Wade (22:17)

Well, as you mentioned, our biggest input is going to be feed, soybean meal particularly, and of course, corn. We don't grow any of our own crops. We purchase from local farmers, which one was 7.50 cash. That's what I had to pay for it and did enjoy it, but that is what it is. But like you mentioned, the price for corn going into fall specifically is going down continuously, which is for my side of things. I like to see kind of being a little selfish because the cheaper I can get corn, the more margin I have on my animals. So I'm looking forward to kind of getting a little bit cheaper according to the fall. But like you said, the other livestock prices in general are pretty strong. I don't sell any of my animals to the market, but I know, for instance, hogs this summer have been over $1.10-$1.15 market, which is, I shouldn't say abnormal, we've seen that before, but that's a very strong hog market here.

 

Caleb Sadler (23:23)

I remember when it was $0.25 there.It wasn't that long ago.

 

Tom Zack (23:27)

Yeah, speaking of that, we sold some pound cows off the farm just a few weeks ago and a $1.05, and I don't remember ever selling these were 1500- 1600lb pound cows that sold amazing. So there's really strong demand for that stuff right now.

 

Caleb Sadler (23:46)

So getting back on topic, talking about lines of credit and things like that, and Tom Zack, and Shelby I will let both of you all answer this question, but what do we look for at Ag Credit in terms of collateral position to secure those lines of credit? Whether that be equipment, cattle, or real estate.

 

Shelby Wade (24:04)

Any and all, we'll take it all. It all depends on the person and what they have to offer. For instance, if we've got your mortgage loan with us, we've got your farm, and we have an open end in there, we can use that to secure your line of credit. Most usually I'll say, though, the lines of credit are secured with the crop that is being raised and or if it's cattle the cattle that are being purchased and whatnot and also equipment. So basically we'll look at your asset list on your balance sheet and see what we have on there and what we can use to best meet our, of course, credit standards and what's going to work for you.

 

Tom Zack (24:42)

One of the first things that I look for is to find collateral that's obviously free and clear. So you might have some equipment loans with another lender or whatever, and they have all your farm equipment taken. So we would say, okay, your cattle are free and clear in that case. So that's the first thing I look for is something that's free and clear. And then obviously we need to have enough collateral to cover the line of credit. And sometimes that's an accumulation of cattle equipment. And if it's a really large line of credit, then we would take real estate in that case. So it's just kind of tailored to meet your needs and your operation. And that's what we're here for as loan officers at Ag Credit, is to help tailor this loan, the time of year, the amount of the loan, the type of collateral, all that to your operation.

 

Caleb Sadler (25:41)

And what I was just going to say, I was going to feed off of that a little bit, too, because that's one area I think that we look at a lot. If you didn't have the collateral or to secure a line of credit, that's where we typically bring in the Farm Service Agency with an FSA guaranteed line of credit that allows us to extend our underwriting standards to where we can make a credit that we typically wouldn't be able to make. And nine times out of ten, if we're making an FSA guarantee line of credit is because the collateral, there's just not enough collateral to secure the loan to keep the loan in house. So just as we're wrapping up here today Tom Zack, I know that you do a lot in the hay side of things and tell us a little bit about how the weather has affected your operation this year.

 

Tom Zack (26:28)

Yeah, so we had a really good first cutting that was back early in May. Off the top of my mind, it was around May 10 or May 15. The weather cooperated. We have a nice window there. The hay barns are full of roll balls that are good enough they could have been square baled. The quality was just phenomenal. And then we ended up getting a really good second cutting on our alfalfa fields. But it turned off dry. It turned off dry right after that kind of the middle of June, right after our second cutting of alfalfa, It turned off dry for a lot of central Kentucky. As I was driving around to some of our equipment dealers here, the southern part of our territory, Lincoln. Garrard down through there, were even drier than us. So we got really dry in June, really from the middle of June and the middle of July, we had guys irrigating tobacco and stuff and got really dry. So that kind of just got really hot and really dry for a month. And it kind of just shut things down. Other than the weeds, it seems like the weeds have just gone rampant.

 

Tom Zack (27:38)

And now here in late July, we've started getting rain. And like we said, we got a lot over the weekend. It was kind of muddy, so things have greened up and started to grow. We're hoping we got a third cutting that is ready on alfalfa. Now grass hay fields are a little different. That hot dry spill really shut those down, and we're hoping that over the next month or so, maybe those grass hay fields will kind of rebound.

 

Caleb Sadler (28:07)

Yeah, hopefully. We'll get into the fall here, we'll get some really nice weather and some good rain at some appropriate times and maybe we can get a good fall cut in the Hayden. How has the weather impacted your end of things, the cow side? Has it been more stress on the cow herd?

 

Ben Robin (28:24)

Yeah, I was just going to kind of chime in with Tom Zack. We're talking about operating lines credit and Tom Zack is obviously hay producer. What's the haysupply look like this year?

 

Tom Zack (28:37)

We still got some guys that are looking for hay, to be honest. I think like we said, we had a good first cutting. Now with that said, the quality of the first cutting was good, but as far as quantity, it was probably down a little bit from the past couple of years. And I think that's where some of our large beef cattle guys that run a lot of cattle are still looking for some hay then on the square bale end of things. We're doing good, but we definitely need a strong finish to the year. Hopefully these rains will get that for us and the hay supply will be okay, but yeah, I think your larger guys are still looking for some round bales.

 

Ben Robin (29:15)

That's why I was thinking too, with the way the drought has been and a lot of cows moving through the market out west, feed them some of that hay making its way out there already.

 

Caleb Sadler (29:26)

That's why I was just about to say there's a ton of cattle that are making their way from Texas up this direction and that drought down there. And it wouldn't surprise me if we don't see some hay that is going in the opposite direction going back down there.

 

Shelby Wade (29:41)

You've been talking about hay, but from a pasture side of things as well. I know that there's a few people that I've already heard of and talked to that have started lightly feeding bales and it's the end of July, so that's kind of scary to think about going into winter and fall. Hopefully these rains that we've got in the last couple of weeks really kind of help get us more grass coming in for pastures. But I'm kind of going to think that there's going to be a definite hay shortage going into fall, winter.

 

Caleb Sadler (30:09)

Yeah, I would have to agree with that. And not only the rain side of things, it's just been so hot that the grass is just not growing.

 

Tom Zack (30:15)

Those full season grasses just won't grow in this hot weather.

 

Caleb Sadler (30:18)

That's exactly right.

 

Ben Robin (30:20)

You're talking about that, asking how the cows are doing and everything. We've more intensely rotationally grazed this year and made the intention to split our fields up a little more and we've been able to rotate every couple of days and now we've got plenty of grass for the time of year, obviously theres been moisture, but that's made a huge impact on our operation, just being able to more intensively graze those fields and cows are good. They're slick and trying to keep flies off of them this time of year.

 

Shelby Wade (30:54)

Yeah, that's always difficult.

 

Caleb Sadler (30:57)

Yeah, we're getting ready to go into fall calving too. So that's a notorious time, I think, for bad face flies and everything like that. Well, as we're wrapping up today, I want to thank you all for joining in. Also, I would like to go ahead and extend some thoughts and prayers with our people in Eastern Kentucky. Those people were just hit with a real devastating flood. So our thoughts and prayers with them from Central Kentucky Ag Credit to those people there in Eastern Kentucky. Thank you all for tuning in and listening to Beyond Agriculture. And be sure to go out and like subscribe and share our podcast. Thank you.

 

Speaker 5 (31:42)

This episode of Beyond Agriculture is brought to you by Central Kentucky AG Credit. Thanks for listening to the podcast. Be sure to visit agreditonline.com Beyond Agriculture, access the show notes and discover our fantastic bonus content. Also, don't forget to hit the subscribe button so you can join us next time for Beyond Agriculture.

 

Episode 10- All Things Ag with Lee Hood

 

 

 

Listen to Lee as she discusses the inflation, supply vs demand and what advice she has for today's youth. Lee is the co-owner of Blandford Feed, CFO of Clements Ag Supply and a Director of the Ag Credit board.

Read Transcript
Speaker 5  (00:01)

Welcome to Beyond Agriculture, the podcast that takes you beyond the scope of AG and into the real life stories, conversations and events taking place in our community. Who we are and what we do is beyond agriculture.

 

Patrick Durham  (00:21)

Welcome to Beyond Agriculture. My name is Patrick Durham. I'm here with John and Saravard from the Stanford office. We're here today with Lee Hood. First off, I'd like to start by just checking in and seeing anybody got any rain lately?

 

SaraVard Von Gruenigen (00:38)

We were talking about this before the podcast and I was nervous to say what kind of rain I've gotten because I don't want to hex on me.

 

Patrick Durham  (00:44)

Yeah. So I assume, John, you've had some rain yourself.

 

John Peek (00:49)

This is Lincoln County Fair week, so we're almost guaranteed rain during the fair. We've got a little rain at home this week, so it's been good.

 

SaraVard Von Gruenigen (00:56)

That's good. I hope everybody is getting some rain across the state and in our area. We're here today with Lee Hood, CFO. Clements AG Supply and owner of Blandford Feed in Springfield, Kentucky. Lee is also a Central Kentucky Ag Credit board of director. Afternoon, Lee. We're glad to have you here today. Lee, do you mind telling us a little bit about yourself?

 

Lee Hood (01:19)

Sure. Thank you, Patrick. I was born and raised in Springfield and had the fortune of growing up on a 2000 acre farm that my dad managed full time. We raised cattle, hay and row crops, and my brother and sister and I showed cattle through 4-H and FFA. I graduated from UK in 2004 with a bachelor's degree in accounting. Fast forward several years and now my fiance, JP Blandford and I together have six kids and one granddaughter. We own and lease a total of 650 acres where we run about 160 mama cows and background 300 feeders every summer. I started working for Clement's Ag Supply about 17 years ago. I love my job there because I get to do the accounting work that I enjoy while being a part of all of our customers farming operations. In 2021, Mr. Clements was gracious enough to let JP And I purchase a portion of Clemens AG Supply, which we now operate on our own as Blandford meals in conjunction with Clements Ag.

 

SaraVard Von Gruenigen (02:29)

And you all sell feed, seed and a little bit of everything like a regular farm supply store would, correct?

 

Lee Hood (02:35)

 . Between the two businesses, we could pretty much cover anything you need, anything for animals, crops.

 

SaraVard Von Gruenigen (02:41)

And both of you work there together and get along?

 

Lee Hood (02:44)

We do.

 

SaraVard Von Gruenigen (02:46)

Good.

 

Lee Hood (02:47)

We do.

 

SaraVard Von Gruenigen (02:47)

Yeah.

 

Lee Hood (02:48)

We work together during the day and.

 

SaraVard Von Gruenigen (02:49)

At home, both of you, for a long time through my time with the Springfield stockyards and great people and they do a great job there.

 

Lee Hood (02:58)

Thank you, Patrick.

 

SaraVard Von Gruenigen (02:59)

Lee, can you tell us more about Blanford Feed for us folks that are in the Springfield region? Tell us about what supplies and offers and the products that you all have.

 

Lee Hood (03:10)

Sure. So we bought out the portion of Clements AG supply. That pretty much anything that would deal with taking care of an animal. So we sell a lot of bulk feed bag feed, fence, other farm supplies. We have the gooseneck trailer part of the business. Mineral for, cattle, sheep, goats, everything. Pretty much anything that your animals may need, we would have that for you.

 

SaraVard Von Gruenigen (03:37)

What do you think is your most peculiar or different farmer that you have encountered in your feed business?

 

Lee Hood (03:44)

We're seeing a lot more sheep in our mix. It used to be pretty much everybody had cattle and that was it. But now we're seeing a lot more sheep. We haul a sheep feed from Campbellsville all the way to Shelbyville.

 

SaraVard Von Gruenigen (03:58)

I've noticed that even with our customer base, it's not like a predominant part of their livelihood. But I've seen a lot of my cattle farmers like oh, yeah, I got about 40 of them. Hair sheep. They call them Hair sheep?

 

Lee Hood (04:09)

Yes.

 

SaraVard Von Gruenigen (04:10)

I don't how you pronounce katan. Is that catan?

 

Lee Hood (04:13)

I'm not sure.

 

SaraVard Von Gruenigen (04:14)

Yeah. But yeah, it's pretty common in our area, too. It's getting to be more prevalent.

 

Lee Hood (04:18)

Right.

 

John Peek (04:19)

Well, I'm just really interested, Lee. I met you a few times, but I don't really know you that well, so I'm excited to hear. So you grew up in Springfield? In Lincoln County. I didn't realize that. That bigger farm and operations. Really? Where I'm at over in Lincoln County, mostly smaller type operations, but that's pretty big. What would you say that's done for you? I mean, give you different perspective than some people around here?

 

Lee Hood (04:49)

I think it's given me a broad perspective. I felt like I was lucky that I was exposed to cattle and row crop. The owner also had horses, so I was around that a little bit. I got to run all different kinds of equipment. Rolling hay, running combine. So I felt like it gave me a pretty broad experience.

 

John Peek (05:11)

Absolutely.

 

Lee Hood (05:12)

Rather than just a small farm.

 

 (05:13)

Yeah.

 

Patrick Durham  (05:14)

At one point, I can't remember how long ago it was, he even had a horse that ran into Derby. Correct?

 

Lee Hood (05:20)

He did, yeah. I forget the year, too. It was probably maybe ten or 15 years ago.

 

Patrick Durham  (05:26)

But yes, remember the whole town really got behind it.

 

Lee Hood (05:30)

Yes. The horse's name was actually Where is Springfield? Because so many people have not heard of the small town in Springfield.

 

Patrick Durham  (05:39)

Lee, just a few questions along the way. Your position and the things that you've done in your career with agriculture. In the times that we're in with inflation, it's a common topic these days. It's kind of like covid and stuff. We kind of like to get away from it, but it seems to be here and having to deal with it. From your position, what do you see as being some of the key problems causing increased input costs today? With the inflation and stuff that we're.

 

Lee Hood (06:07)

Seeing, I think a lot of it simply boils down to supply and demand at a recent meeting we heard an economist speak on that very topic in the current conditions in the world and when he explained this to me, it kind of all made sense. He said that prior to the pandemic, most people spent about 70% of their disposable income on services and 30% on goods. Then during the pandemic there were all these non essential business shutdowns which were a lot of the service oriented businesses. So people kind of reverse that and they spent 30% on services and 70% on goods. Then you add in the fact that they had extra money from government stimulus and things like that, that there were just so many goods being purchased so fast that inventories were depleted, then production facilities were slowing down because of social distancing and it's just created this huge backlog. And any time that happens when supplies are low and demand is high, then the only way to correct that is prices to go up.

 

SaraVard Von Gruenigen (07:18)

I know when I was in college I didn't like my economics class too much, just wasn't my thing. But I remember I had an economic teacher and he always talked about the law of supply and demand and he would draw these graphs and he would say, one's gun and one is butter. Every time I hear people talk about supply and demand, I think guns and butter.

 

Patrick Durham  (07:44)

What's some of the ways in the Ag business that you've seen through your all store that people are dealing with that cutbacks or are they paying more attention to other inputs or what are some of those trends that you're seeing?

 

Lee Hood (08:00)

Definitely people are cutting back but not completely cutting things out, which is good. A lot of people are being just more mindful of each of those inputs. We found that a lot of people soil tested this year that maybe normally wouldn't have just to give them that extra information and know what they're purchasing is going to do them some good. And even if they didn't, they would ask the question, what does my hay field really need? Rather than just well, this is what I do every year, you know that people were thinking and asking questions and market prices have increased, which helps. But I think still just being mindful of each of those inputs and learning what input gives you the greatest return is probably the best solution.

 

John Peek (08:49)

I think going back to the supply and demand thing and we've seen it in every facete, toilet paper I think was the big thing. But people going out and stocking facetup on stuff and that's no different in agricultural supplies and the supply and demand, the supply chain was stressed anyway. But when you go and people are stocking up on that stuff and it causes huge demand and then a big price swing because people can get what they want to out of it, it really puts a strain on the economy and causes these price swings and it's increased prices. It's not just a swing, it's a swing up. And it's probably never going to swing back to where it was before.

 

SaraVard Von Gruenigen (09:29)

I think that's the worst part. Whenever we see input prices increase, the farmer's fears always, I don't think this is ever going to go back the way it was.

 

Lee Hood (09:38)

Right.

 

SaraVard Von Gruenigen (09:38)

And when are my prices that I get when I sell my goods, when is that going to go up to meet that? Remember when we had the big cattle price increase back when was that, '14 somewhere? I remember that was the big thing. It was like, finally we're getting caught up. But then it seemed like all the.

 

Lee Hood (09:58)

It wasn't very long.

 

Patrick Durham  (10:00)

Yes, that's a good lead in. Lee, in your position, say you did have the magic mirror to look into. Where do you see prices going from here? And what do you think the next couple of year outlook is as far as prices and inputs and stuff?

 

Lee Hood (10:19)

Well, I certainly wish that they would just drop as fast as they came up, but unfortunately I don't think that will happen. From what we're seeing right now, things are leveling off. So that is some relief. I think that will give a chance for some supply chains to catch back up. I know that for example, we're a Gooseneck dealer and we have some trailers on order, but if I ordered a brand new one today, it's at least a year before I can get it. So if you think about that, it not only stinks that you can't get what you want in a timely manner, but they've already got that price set for the next year and they already have those supplies bought for the next year at this current price. So it's not going to go down right away, but hopefully in time it will. We have been through periods where maybe fertilizer wasn't as high as it was this year, but I remember one year there was a big spike and everybody got scared. But in a couple of years it did come back down to a more reasonable thing. So I think we're just kind of in a cycle right now and hopefully within a year or two things will start to normalize somewhat.

 

Patrick Durham  (11:35)

I hope so. We've got several years ahead of us that it's going to be some trying times in the Ag business, and I think so too. And hopefully one thing comes out of this. People will start paying a little bit more attention to their inputs and different things and do a little bit better job of managing. That's something definitely we see from our end, for sure, from the lending side. Lee, you've been successful as a business owner. What would be a good piece of advice you give to young people starting to get into the agricultural field?

 

Lee Hood (12:14)

I would say to expose yourself to as many things, agriculture as possible. It's always amazed me how every part of agriculture every subsection of agriculture intersects together. So no matter where you work, just work anywhere, whether it's a farm, a greenhouse, a farm supply store like ours, the stockyards, anywhere, you're going to be exposed to ag in some degree. And then what you learn there will build onto something else. And then later when you kind of get to the agriculture field that you want to I feel like with anybody in agriculture, when they're hiring someone, they want to know what your ag background is, and they want to know that you can connect to that ag job that you're going to be doing. So any of those previous jobs you did in agriculture are going to help you somewhere. You will learn something from them and use them and whatever you're going to do.

 

SaraVard Von Gruenigen (13:19)

I'm a testament to what you're talking about because my family has a farm. My family is generational farmers, but due to family circumstances, I didn't really have much farm background as a kid growing up, like most farm kids have. But whenever I wanted to get in farming and so I did just what you said. I got involved in agriculture through my husband. I helped him with his stuff, and then I got jobs in agriculture. I did co-op type jobs during college. And even though I didn't grow up farming, now I've got the knowledge to come to an employer, like you said, and be able to give what I know.

 

Lee Hood (13:56)

Right? Yeah. You saw the exposure.

 

SaraVard Von Gruenigen (13:58)

Exactly. And it's amazing. The stuff that I learned just through I worked with the Kentucky Beef Council, and the stuff that I learned through that program was just amazing. And of course, the hands on experience on the farm too, that later on got right.

 

Lee Hood (14:11)

Even my hands on experience growing up on the farm was great. But then when I came to work at Clements Ag Supply, I learned so much more from a different perspective. Yes. So to expose yourself to as many things as you can, I think is the key.

 

SaraVard Von Gruenigen (14:26)

Good advice, I think.

 

John Peek (14:27)

And I just like to add that too. I just came back from a vacation trip out west and even expose yourself to different areas.

 

Lee Hood (14:36)

Sure.

 

John Peek (14:36)

Because I saw so much stuff out there that we just don't deal with here. There are advantages out there. There are advantages here. Every place has its own issues that they deal with. And it was really eye opening to me to be out there and see how they did things versus how we do things. It's just a vast agricultural community in the nation and how that all goes together. I don't think we can ever stop learning. So I think that's great.

 

SaraVard Von Gruenigen (15:04)

We just got John back at the Stanford office and we've been dogging him about questions. So can you explain a little bit more about where you all visited while you were out west?

 

John Peek (15:13)

So we actually flew into Denver and then we made a big circle. We went southwest and into Utah and up through Salt Lake and over to Yellowstone and then back east. We went up into Montana and back down to Denver. But the agriculture out there, there's a lot more challenges, a lot drier out there, so there's a lot of irrigation. I don't see any irrigation around here. That was fascinating to me. I was visiting with a friend out there and he was telling me about the water rights out there and how that all works. Of course, I'm a cattle farmer, so then I got to go out and look at cattle with him. And it was 96 deg out there, and I wasn't sweating and the cattle were happy and they weren't standing in a pond and they weren't panting and there weren't flies all over them. There weren't tree in sight, but they were really happy. And my cows at home at 85, they're looking for shader standing upon, and I don't think we realize what fescue does to our cattle, and that's something they don't deal with out there. So it was just very eye opening to me, the differences and the different challenges people have.

 

John Peek (16:26)

And I'd say I probably wouldn't want to go out there in the wintertime and spend much time with him. That'd probably be a big challenge for them out there.

 

Patrick Durham  (16:34)

Along with that. Lee your brother lives in Iowa. What's some of the challenges I'm sure you all talk quite often what's some of the challenges he sees there versus what he's used to here in Kentucky, right?

 

Lee Hood (16:47)

Yeah, that's right. Patrick he moved to Iowa to farm about four years ago, so he spent 30 years farming in Kentucky and then had to learn how to farm in Iowa. One of his biggest challenges is the winter, and he is not at all happy about that because they have snow from, I think from October through March or even April. So he's also a cattle farmer, so dealing with that in that kind of weather is certainly a challenge for him. But then in some ways, he has the hot summers like Kentucky, too, but they have a lot more row crop ground, so they will graze corn stocks in the winter after harvest, and they kind of have more capacity to do some cover crops than even they graze. It's just unique.

 

SaraVard Von Gruenigen (17:35)

You are talking about those Midwest winters. It made me think about a story that one of my college professors told me. He was from the Dakotas and he had a real dry sense of humor, and he would say, talk about the snow that they got and all this kind of stuff. And he said, well, basically, you just go out to the barn, you tie rope to yourself and wade out in the snow, and if the rope quit jingling, you better get the pulling. I remember we always had the funniest stories from them about their winters out there.

 

Patrick Durham  (18:01)

And I think, too, with your story, John, traveling out west and telling about your brother's experiences in Iowa. I think it's a big plus for young people, whether they attend college, trade school or anything. Don't close your mind to just an idea. Open your mind up and do different experiences, and later on you can tie those experiences all together into a career path. Experience everything you can learn what you can, and then put a plan together. Because my career path has been a little bit everywhere eventually. I've always been around agriculture, though, so that's the one thing that kept me on the forward path. Lee being the CFO with Clements Ag Supply, you obviously have an extensive finance background in agriculture. What's some of the ways you see the farmers being able to utilize what Ag Credit has to offer to help them through the ever increasing rise in operational cost inputs and the market volatility that we're dealing with in today's times.

 

Lee Hood (19:13)

I think that probably the thing that will help anyone the most through these challenging times is to be financially strong. And that's not something that happens overnight. It takes a while to develop that and to get to that point. So I would first advise people to listen to their loan officer, to listen to you guys, because not only do you have ag backgrounds and you farm too, but you're in the finance industry. So as a borrower, as a farmer, if you would engage your loan officer, talk to them, share ideas, share your plans and your thoughts, then together the two of you can make the right decisions for your operation to help you become more financially stable. And that will help you whether any storm, whether it's market volatilities or droughts or anything. The other part to that, I think, is good record keeping. With my accounting degree, I feel like I keep records on everything and I write everything down. But we were talking about inputs and learning what input is the most valuable, what gives you the most bang for your buck. The only way you can really know that is if you keep records every year.

 

Lee Hood (20:32)

And then you can see when you make those changes, what effects they have, whether it's increased yields or increased calving rates, conception rates, things like that. That's the only way you can truly know what's working for you, is if you have good records.

 

John Peek (20:48)

Right? I'd just like to add to what you said there. I really wish people would spend more time with us, talking to us about what they're thinking about and what they're planning to do at Ag Credit or any lending institution. We're in the business of making loans, so the fact that you come in there and pitch us an idea and we say no to it, the reason why we would say no would be because we think it's too risky. Sometimes people come in and they don't know whether an idea is a good idea or not. And that's good to come and run it by us. But if we say no to that, we're not saying no to you as a person. We're not saying we don't want a relationship with you. We're not saying we won't lend you money in the future. We're just saying right now we think that's probably not the best move. At the end of the day, it's not our operation, but we want to be a partner with borrowers. I just think people sometimes take it hard if we don't go along with an idea they've got. But it's not necessarily that we think it's a bad idea, but it may not be right for you right now.

 

Lee Hood (21:51)

Right.

 

John Peek (21:51)

And if you'll talk to us more about it and we can analyze it and look at it any which way you want to, maybe it's something that we can work into in the future. You just have to take a little time. But I appreciate you saying that.

 

Lee Hood (22:05)

Thank you.

 

SaraVard Von Gruenigen (22:05)

I also want to kind of go over when you were talking about record keeping. A lot of farmers, that tends to be not their strong point. One, they want to be out there doing things. And then also, two, farmers have a strong conflict with Uncle Sam. It's kind of a battle that we often see where they don't have records, but what we have our tax returns. And so then we're battling the tax repair versus what we need to do. And so I agree with you wholeheartedly. When I have a borrower come in with good records, it's just like a breath of fresh air, and it helps them get accomplished what they need to accomplish. Because your operation may be meeting these certain goals, but those tax records that were handed to your taxpayer in a shoe box that they had to muddle through may not represent that. And so it's very important. So I'm glad you mentioned that.

 

Lee Hood (22:58)

Oh, thank you. And that kind of goes along with it's a whole picture thing, I think, because just like, if they had the good records, then when they pitched the idea, like John was talking about, yes, it can help you put all of it together and piece by piece get to where they want to go.

 

John Peek (23:14)

That's right.

 

Patrick Durham  (23:15)

And I've often heard the added tools and the tool belt. And John, you brought up a good point with the relationship. We are a relationship lender. Farmers look at us need to look at us more as a tool in their tool belt. We have lots of tools, Lee. You have lots of tools. You're professional in your field. We're professionals in our field. So it's a joint effort if you come in to us to see us, ask questions. We're here to work with you, build that relationship and help everybody out. That way we can build a lifetime of relationships there and do future business together and everybody be successful. Lee, being one of the younger members of the Ag Credit Board, how do you see the future of agriculture changing and how do you see Ag Credit changing with it?

 

Lee Hood (24:14)

Patrick that's a good question, and I think it really ties into what we were just talking about. And even though we've talked a lot about cost and inflation and economics and everything going on today, it's all very important. But that's not everything. A lot of farmers today are young. Maybe they're just starting out. They have families. A lot of them have full time jobs in addition to their farming operations. So their lives are hectic with those jobs with kids sports, kids FFA activities. So I think that they are looking for more than just a loan with a good interest rate. I think they are looking for someone to help them out, someone to have that relationship with, who will provide them great service, who will help them with their operations and offer them the sound advice like we were just talking about. I think they're looking for more of a whole package, not just get a loan and be done. And I think that's what Ag Credit offers, that's what Ag Credit was built on. In addition to that, I think they're looking for conveniences with technology and things like that, which Ag Credit, is adding those things into the mix all the time.

 

Lee Hood (25:31)

So I think today's atmosphere, along with what Ag Credit has to offer is really just perfect for what the farmers are looking for.

 

SaraVard Von Gruenigen (25:40)

We actually just recently added for some loan products where we can find digitally now.

 

Lee Hood (25:45)

Yes, we've talked about that at the board meetings.

 

SaraVard Von Gruenigen (25:47)

It is amazing how much we have used that product, because, like you said, and just like my husband and myself, we farm pretty good size, but we also have these W-2 jobs where we have to be at work the same time. Ag Credit is open, so it's been super handy for those folks that are coming to work and they don't have to take a couple of hours off work for some loan products. We can now do that online and digitally. It's great.

 

John Peek (26:12)

That is good, and I'm really excited. Agriculture is challenging right now, but if you look back through the history of America and agriculture, good managers are successful. And I think that kind of goes back to what you were talking about, keeping good records. And I've always heard you can't manage what you don't measure, so you have to keep good records and you have to know whether you're making money. And like I said, we want to be a partner in that. But I'm excited because agriculture is challenging, but there are people out there doing very well, and will continue to do so. Yeah, I'm excited about what's coming up.

 

Patrick Durham  (26:51)

In closing, Lee, we've had obviously a lot of great conversation today and a lot of topics I think a lot of people will get a lot of useful information and a little inside look on what some of the things you do on a daily basis. In closing, what would be a good piece of advice that you could give any young farmer right now? What would that be?

 

Lee Hood (27:16)

Probably, first of all, work hard. Nothing worth having comes easy. And that's especially true of farming. And the hard work never goes away, as we all know. But second, find a mentor. Maybe it's a family member. If your dad farms, if your grandparents farm, maybe it's your loan officer, just like we were talking about having that relationship with them, or the person you buy your supplies from. I know a lot of people seek advice from JP and from Pat, depending on what they want to know about. But no matter what, there will always be challenges to farming, and there will always be something to learn, which we've mentioned, too. But having that person that you can trust, that you can confide in, that you know is an expert in their field, they can help you through those challenges and help you to learn. And that will make you more successful.

 

Patrick Durham  (28:14)

Absolutely. And that's one thing I think is very important for younger people and even older people like ourselves. We're never going to stop learning. We're always going to learn something different. And there's always going to be somebody that's experienced what you're trying to learn. So find those people, search them out and ask questions. There's never a dumb question, right? Maybe every once in a while. But reach out to those people. Ask the questions, like you said. Find somebody to be a mentor and pick their brain. In the long run, I think both of you will learn a lot. They can learn something from you as well. It goes both ways.

 

Lee Hood (28:58)

Yeah, that's what I was just thinking. Even as the mentor, once you reach the where you've experienced enough that you can mentor someone else, you still find that you learn from that other person.

 

Patrick Durham  (29:09)

And hard work, like you said, that's a big thing, raising two teenage boys. Sometimes I wonder if maybe that's lost, but you know youfive-acre need a five-acre tobacco patch or something to let them experience what hard work really is. But I'm not sure dad wants to go back down that route. But Lee, thank you for being here with us today. We appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule and being here with us, and look forward to visiting with you down the road.

 

Speaker 5 (29:47)

This episode of Beyond Agriculture is brought to you by Central Kentucky Aggregate. Thanks for listening to the podcast. Be sure to visit Agreditonline Combeyondagriculture, access the show notes, and discover our fantastic bonus content. Also, don't forget to hit the subscribe button so you can join us next time for Beyond Agriculture.

 

Episode 9 Livestock Markets with UK's Dr. Kenny Burdine

 

Join the Ag Credit as they speak with Dr. Kenny Burdine about the current cattle markets and where he predicts they will go this fall. Shelby talks about the Kentucky Ag Finance Program and how it works with Central Kentucky Ag Credits AgStart for young, beginning and small farmers.

Central Kentucky Ag Credit https://www.agcreditonline.com/
Dr. Kenny Burdine https://twitter.com/kycattleecon
Sign up to receive Cattle Market Notes Weekly https://us15.campaign-archive.com/?u=d27b0f8ca2d30ab88ad971a94&id=b444c1d96b

Read the Transcript
Caleb Sadler (00:01)

Welcome to Beyond Agriculture, the podcast that takes you beyond the scope of AG and into the real life stories, conversations, and events taking place in our community, who we are and what we do beyond agriculture. Hello, and welcome in to Beyond Agriculture. Caleb Sadler back with you today. We're in our Lexington branch, and I'm also joined today with Ben Robin, the man behind the scenes running our tech, as well as Shelby Wade. And we have a new cohost with us here today, Ben Van Hook. Welcome to the show, Ben, and tell us a little bit about yourself.

 

Ben VanHook (00:44)

Yeah, so, my name is Ben VanHook, born and raised in Harrison County, Kentucky. Grew up on our family farm there. We raised tobacco. We were unique in the sense that we grew seed tobacco as well as well as leaf tobacco. So had a couple of greenhouses there and raised tobacco and spent lots of time summers in the tobacco field, something I'm never going to forget. My brother and I joked we'd be out there chopping weeds and we would always have to recruit our buddies to be some cheap labor and for my dad, and we'd always bet on who would last the longest, how many days they'd last in the field. So we didn't have an option. We were out there no matter what. But I grew up in Harrison County, played football and baseball there, so spent a lot of time on the farm when I wasn't active in sports throughout school and really was involved in agriculture, but really developed that passion for agriculture when I was a senior in high school. Actually started taking AG classes prior to that point, I was in engineering, the Pathway, but kind of switched roles their senior year and had class with Savannah Robin, and she volunteered me for everything that she could get me in and really pushed me to develop myself more in agriculture and went on to the University of Kentucky and majored in agricultural economics, minor in business.

 

Ben VanHook (02:10)

And actually, Dr. Burdine was my academic adviser, so I know him personally outside of today's podcast, but so he guided me throughout school and took his class. And Dr. Isaacs and was very involved in the agricultural economics department, worked for Dr. Isaacs as well as a lab assistant teaching his Excel management classes and things like that, and also worked out at the Spinal Type Research farm out here on Ironworks, doing tobacco and hemp research as well through school. So happy to be here. Just joined Ag Credit back in May as a loan officer and like Caleb said, training here in Paris and will eventually be in our Lexington office.

 

Caleb Sadler (02:54)

Thank you for that, Ben. I really appreciate it. Before we get into today's guest and today's podcast topic, there are a few things that we need to bring up in regards to what's going on within the association or in our counties in the community. So first topic that we needed to bring up was Mr. Jim Caldwell's retirement, actually retiring from Central Kentucky Ag Credit after 40 years of service, June 30. So starting on the 1 July, our new President and CEO elect, Jonathan Noe becomes our new CEO and go out and listen to that podcast with him and Richard Medley. It's a good way to get introduced to him. So congratulations on Jim's 40 years and we wish him well in retirement. And some other things going on in our communities right now is one big topic for the summer is county fairs. We have a lot of those coming up. Bourbon County just concluded. We have Garrett County, Madison, Estelle, and Harrison County coming up. So all of our listeners be sure to attend those county fairs. Central Kentucky Ag credit is a proud sponsor in those events. So one thing I will bring up that just happened was congratulations to Finley Ben's daughter.

 

Caleb Sadler (04:19)

I think she was reserve champion or was she champion at the goat show costume?

 

Ben Robin (04:26)

She was champion.

 

Caleb Sadler (04:27)

Now tell us a little bit about what it was.

 

Ben Robin (04:30)

Yeah, so Finley has this little goat that she's been working with. And when we first got it, she loved to jump up on purina tubs and so she would just jump up there and hang out. Well, my wife got the idea to when she talked about showing, having costume contests, that Finley was going to be a lion tamer and the goat, Ruth, was going to be a lion. So she got her a lion mane. And so put the lion mane over Ruth and walk through the ring. And Finley had a top hat and look like she was lielion tamer from the circus.

 

Caleb Sadler (05:09)

The pictures are pretty cute. I would say.

 

Ben Robin (05:12)

Our listeners, one of my good friends, I sent it to him, he was like, you have to do a second take like that looks like a legit, like there's something weird going on there.

 

Caleb Sadler (05:20)

It really did look like a lion at first take. Yeah, it really did. The mane looks really good.

 

Ben Robin (05:25)

It was pretty good.

 

Shelby Wade (05:26)

And talk about the county fairs a little bit more at Central Kentucky I Credit, we support all of our local county fairs. A lot of times you'll see us out there just supporting our local youth and just agriculture, the agriculture projects that are there. So definitely get out and support your community. And it's always a good fun, good time.

 

Caleb Sadler (05:45)

All right, one other topic that we need to bring up is an event that's taking place. We just had one in Winchester, Kentucky, and that is a farm to table in Stanford with the Black Soils. That is a big event that's coming up there. And I would encourage you, if you're interested in attending that event, to reach out, to go to the website for Black Soils or Central Kentucky AG Credit. We can get you in contact with those people to attend that as well. So another event coming up. We're getting really close to Kentucky State Fair time in August. We just wish good luck to those exhibitors and really look forward to seeing them in Louisville at the Kentucky State Fair. So without further ado, I'd rather turn the mic over and introduce our guests with us on the show, mr. Kenny Burdine. And Kenny is an extension professor with the University of Kentucky. Kenny, tell us a little bit about yourself.

 

Kenny Burdine (06:42)

Yeah, thanks, Caleb. First of all, I appreciate the invite. Good to see everybody and good to be on. A real treat to be on with three former students and some friends. And one of the things that I guess I enjoy the most about my job is this very thing is that I get to know so many folks through my role as an instructor in the college and then a good chunk of those students to get to work with afterwards in different roles. And lending is one of those, and that's something I sincerely enjoy. You ask about me background. I grew up in Jessamine County. That's still my home, so I live there now. I grew up on mostly tobacco farm. We had tobacco, but we had some sheep and some cattle and horse too. So like everybody else, I grew up in the eighties in Kentucky. I grew up in tobacco field in a lot of ways. I've actually been at UK about 23 years. My role has changed some, but I am an extension professor now, so I get to do a lot of things. I get to travel the state and work a lot of good people, do a lot of extension programming, get to work on your publications and articles relative to the livestock sector.

 

Kenny Burdine (07:42)

Enjoy doing that. There's a few things that I think are more entertaining and informative than following AG markets. And I get to do that for a living and that's a real blessing.

 

Caleb Sadler (07:51)

Thank you, Kenny. And it is really a great to have you on beyond agriculture, and hopefully we get to have you back on here too, in the future, maybe in the fall or something like that as well. Because as everybody knows, the cattle cycle is certainly an evolving thing. And right now, if you talk to somebody, they'll tell you that we're going into the peak of the cattle cycle. So one thing I might ask right now is what do the markets kind of look like from a cattle background standpoint? And then we can get into the other commodities too, like poultry or swine or any of that stuff.

 

Kenny Burdine (08:23)

Sure, So starting with cattle, especially the cow calf level, we've honestly had several frustrating years back to back. We're in, I guess this is our fourth year of herd liquidation. So the cow herd is getting smaller, quite a bit smaller and still as we speak. But on the same note, we've had so many things that have really limited our ability to capitalize on the tighter supplies. So it was COVID in 2020, it was rising input prices, and it was an expensive feed in 2021. And we're dealing with inflation right now. So in reality, I don't think we're seeing the kind of price levels that we're going to see once we work through kind of the glut of beef production that we're dealing with right now that's drought driven. So longer term, the next several years, I think the cattle market looks extremely bullish. I'm very positive on it. We've seen heavy feeder cattle move up a fair amount here lately. Even this calf market, I always kind of watch a five weight steer, kind of as my baseline, if you will, for a cow calf operation. He's selling for about the same price that average that he was back in the spring.

 

Kenny Burdine (09:25)

And that's unusual. And I think because supplies are going to get tighter as we move through the year, I think we may see an unusual year where our calf market may actually be higher in the fall than it was back in the spring, and it wasn't too bad in the spring. So I think we're going to see our strongest calf market probably since about 2016, if I had to guess, when the dust settles on 2022.

 

Caleb Sadler (09:45)

And I would say this, and this is just me being the economist that I am in a loan officer at the end of the day, we've had several borrowers at Central Kentucky Ag Credit, that really started buying in on these stocker backgrounders early. So they were able to really soften that margin or really grow that margin that they had because they were able to incur some calf costs that were a little cheaper if they got them in November, or at the end of October. And then going into some long yearlings. Right now, looking at the board today, current board, it's up $3. So, I mean, that's really strong coming into the 4 July.

 

Kenny Burdine (10:22)

Absolutely. With input prices where they are, the truth is we need a really strong fall market for cow-calf operations to really offset the increased cost in fertilizer fuel, what have you. You mentioned stockers, though, Caleb, and this is going to end up being, I think, one of our better stocker years. One thing that high feed prices do right, is it limits how aggressive feed yards are when they're looking to place calves in the spring, right? So in one sense, your stock operators have a little bit less competition for calves in the spring of the year. They get a better buy on them. And when feeds higher, those price differential, price slides, we call them, right, the difference was by weight, those tend to tighten up, so it costs more to put weight on cattle via feed, and that tends to translate to higher value on feed or I'm sorry, higher value of gain. When we look at what we can do on the stocker side. So this is going to be a pretty darn good stocker year when the dust settles here in the fall.

 

Caleb Sadler (11:20)

No, I would agree. And honestly, if you look right now at the weather standpoint, too, they always tell me that a drier year, even though the grass is lighter, you'll still put more pounds on those cattle. And I don't know if there's any truth to that or not, but we were talking about it there's at the break a while ago. And Ben, you can pitch in here, too. I don't know what it's like down in Cynthiana exactly, but we're dry. We need a rain, let's put it that way.

 

Ben VanHook (11:49)

Yeah.

 

Ben VanHook (11:49)

And I'd like to touch a little bit back on my introduction there. I know I spoke on my tobacco background, but now we currently have beef cattle. We have a commercial herd of breeder cows, so I'm still involved on the family farm, and we produce our own hay as well. So I just wanted to ask you, we're pretty dry, and we've got some rain forecasted for this weekend, but it seems like the percentage keeps trickling back. What are some ways that producers can manage throughout this dry period with the next couple of months coming up and how they handle and make strategic decisions?

 

Kenny Burdine (12:24)

Yeah, great question and give you the best I can do in terms of answer, but we're in that time of year, and we'll be for a while still where rain are just so spotty. My wife and I were actually moving cattle Sunday afternoon. In the last two weeks, I've been shocked how much pastures deteriorated. It's a combination of lack of rain and certainly heat both right. But it's certainly a challenge that's out there. As we think about strategies, there are some things we can manage, some things we can't. Always, when I get into a situation, like I always say, think about rotational grazing, the more that we can rotate cattle, keep them moving, that always helps. I was optimistic about getting some rain was at about ten days ago now, I guess it was would have been last Sunday, I suppose, and even started raining in the middle of the night wife even woke me up and told me. And we got up in those two tents in the gage. Right. So you get into those kind of things all the time. Yet I've got some friends that got an inch or more. So being like you, I'm hoping that we think I'm hoping that we're able to get some more rain here in this next it looks like some four or five days ahead of us with some possibility, but I think rotational grazing first.

 

Kenny Burdine (13:35)

The second thing that I always like to think about is that we're in a situation like this where it's dry. I start thinking about, okay, what about winter hay supply? And I'm getting increasingly worried about that. And frankly, I was even back before it got dry here in Central Kentucky because so many parts of the US are dry. And if you look at hay stocks coming into this year, they were fairly low in a lot of places. So we may see some pull of the hay that we do have into other parts of the country. And you combine that with high fertilizer prices and I don't have any way to track this, but I guarantee on average folks applied less fertilizer than usual this year. And I would have done the same thing by the way. Okay. But my point is we're going to see lower production levels in all likelihood. So you combine all those and I think hay supply could be an issue come forward. So planning ahead for that I think is important. And then the third thing I would say sorry for the long answer no, but you've got to think about long term decisions and sometimes that means you cull a bit harder and you're like this.

 

Kenny Burdine (14:32)

And the reason I wanted to mention this is because we're in a unique situation now where we've got an extremely high cull cow market, right? I mean run of the mill cull cows are in the 80 to 90 cent range, some of them pushing a dollar.

 

Caleb Sadler (14:43)

Well, I was going to say I talk to Ben and I think he's got a really good example of this this week. I mean the cull market right now is just unbelievable.

 

Ben Robin (14:52)

That's what I was going to try to chip in and get your opinion on that. There's a lot of cows moving through the market and bulls and what kind of effect that's going to have on everything. Cow numbers.

 

Caleb Sadler (15:03)

Well, I mean when we also talk about it too, we're not the only place that's experiencinga drought. I was just had somebody in my office there earlier that made a comment that they had a couple of loads of cows that came out in Texas that were really thin and needing a place to go for them. And really there's not a real good place around here because we don't have the grass to put the pounds back on them right now either.

 

Kenny Burdine (15:26)

I've been shocked how strong the cull cow market has remained despite how many cows we're moving. It's a stunner. We've kind of got the perfect storm, right? We've had some challenging years, the cow calf sector back to back. We've got high cull cow prices and we've gotten dry in a lot of places. That's a recipe for moving cows. It's an opportunity in one sense, right? If I have to unload some cows, this is not a bad time to do it. The other thing that I would say is that if you kind of look at what the cull cow market is relative to the breeding stock market, I think breeding stock is a better buy right now, relatively speaking. So by that I mean it's probably not a bad time, if I had to, to think about unloading some cull cows, buying some young, breeding stock some bred heifers, something like that, have a younger herd. Right. Maybe a better quality herd in the next few years when I think prices are going to be better. Ben to your question about numbers. I'm trying to think when I ran this, I would have ran this back around the end of may, but we had moved we've slaughtered 220,000 more cull cows this year than last year. And to put that in perspective, I mean, last year was a pretty big cow movement here, too. So we're on track if that were to kind of continue forward, we're on track to harvest about 500,000 more cull cows this year than last year, which that in and of itself is two and a half, 3% of the US. Cow herd. Combine that with heifer retention, I think we could have 700,000 fewer cows in 2023 than we do now. So that's a tighter supply I think we're looking at down the road.

 

Caleb Sadler (17:05)

I was getting ready to bring that same thing up as we were sitting there talking. I wrote it down here, and that was heifer attention. You might speak into this, but if you look at the cattle on feed report right now, are there any signs of any heifers that are not being on me? A lower amount of heifers being on feed, maybe that producers are keeping back more, or no insight into that.

 

Kenny Burdine (17:27)

We're seeing the opposite. Okay. Heifer numbers on feed are pointing to the fact that we're keeping back fewer heifers for replacement, right? Yeah. We only get two estimates from USA on true heifer retention for cow replacement. One in January, 1 in July. So the january one was down. I forget the number 3%. I think july will be down, too. So all we can look at right now, really, is heifer slaughter placement of heifer on feed. And what it's pointing to is the same thing a calorie getting smaller.

 

Caleb Sadler (17:57)

Yeah. And we feed into that, too. That's a good way to transition from what else I wrote down, is how long do you really think this calf market will stay strong at that point in time? If we have less cows on the market, obviously, that's just less calves. They're going to be at the sale barn. I don't know how long that will take for. I mean, typically, you might go in to see or you tell us how long the cattle cycle is at that point in time before we start seeing that come back around.

 

Kenny Burdine (18:23)

That's the million dollar question. Right? I think we'll see a good calf market this fall. I think we'll see an even better calf market in 2023. And I think also in 2024 now, weather is going to impact that, right? We could see multiple back to back drought years. I hope we don't, but it's possible things could change quickly. So even if we started, even if weather got better in 2023 and we started rebuilding this hurt, right. It still takes some time to do that. So if everything changes at the drop of a hat, we're two or three years away from bigger calf crops, right. So it's going to take at least that long, probably longer. The other thing, though, is you also can't ignore that in reality the value of cattle is driven by the value of beef. Right. And that all kind of starts at the retail level. So what happens with the other species affects that, too. Fortunately, we're seeing high prices retail pretty much across the board, but that can change, too.

 

Caleb Sadler (19:21)

And I know that our export levels right now on the beef side are up right now. Are we seeing that maybe as a correlation to we're exporting more beef or is it just for the fact of a demand right now for it?

 

Kenny Burdine (19:32)

I think it's both. Exports are up, frankly. US. Demand has been strong and we're seeing good export. Most everything fundamentally looks good. I think the supply picture, beef production is artificially high right now because of the dry conditions. Because we're culling so many cows, we're pulling cattle forward. If you look at cattle on feed and the placements in the lower weight categories, a lot of the placements are in the lower weight categories, which is unusual right this time of year. But it's drought driven, so that's going to eventually work the system and we're going to be tight on supplies eventually. That's not sustainable is what I'm saying.

 

Caleb Sadler (20:09)

Yeah, and I was talking to somebody there yesterday and we were talking about as we move into the fall run, typically our basis here gets narrower. And he was telling me about some cattle that were trading out west right now, that we're above the board and not just a little above the board. They were substantially above the board trading. I mean, I know it takes longer, further for us to get cattle out west and cattle our value based on proximity of feed and feeding out those cattle. But why do those cattle out there, why are they trading so much higher above the board right now?

 

Kenny Burdine (20:47)

It's transportation costs, Caleb. It really is.

 

Caleb Sadler (20:51)

Well, if you couple that with $5 fuel, it doesn't take long to add up at the end of the day.

 

Kenny Burdine (20:55)

Exactly. All those things that we talk about can impact basis. But on the same, the bottom line is if I'm in Kentucky and a feed yard in western Kansas buys a group of steers, they got to get them there. Right. So our cattle prices typically reflect those transportation costs. And with diesel fuel where it is now, I don't think we're going to see an unusually strong basis here this year simply because of transportation costs.

 

Caleb Sadler (21:23)

So you think maybe we could be backwards a couple of cents off that basis than what we typically average?

 

Kenny Burdine (21:28)

Maybe we will be right. I mean, rule of thumb, a lot of folks use is roughly diesel fuel price per loaded mile. Now that works pretty well in kind of a normal diesel fuel price range. It doesn't work when you get to five, $6. The point being the transportation costs go up with fuel cost. And frankly, it's not just fuel cost, right. It's the cost of maintenance and it's the cost of the trucking. Right. It's all that kind of stuff. So yeah, that's going to impact our kettle prices. I think they'll be good. But I still think you'll see that differential between what we see in Kentucky versus what you see out there in the major cattle feeding areas.

 

Shelby Wade (22:03)

One of the things that you talked about there, Kenny, especially when Ben was asking about what producers here locally could do to kind of offset this drought year we're looking at potentially having one of the things I know you talk a lot about with your students and with other groups across the state is LRP insurance. And so for those who aren't familiar with that term, livestock risk protection. So tell us a little bit about that. And are more producers using it these days? I know it seems like it's a little bit more attractive nowadays, so it gives a little insight on that.

 

Kenny Burdine (22:35)

Absolutely. So I'm trying to think, I started UK in 2000, Shelby. I first started doing programs on futures and options, I think in 2001, maybe the very next year. And when I would do those programs, because we're talking about futures and options, the only risk management tool that we had was really the board, right? Yeah. And when I'm using the board, I'm locked into 50,000 pound quantities. So when LRP finally came around, we finally had a tool we could use to manage price risk in feeder cattle that could be scalable at a small level, so I can buy it on a few head. So a lot of our smaller operators that aren't trading in truckload quantities of cattle can utilize this tool. Simple way to think about it is you're buying an index insurance product that pays you based on movement in the CME feeder cattle index. And that index is seven day weighted average of feeder cattle in twelve major states. So when Caleb asked about prices out west, it's really those states that define that index. You got to think, okay, that index isn't go to transitransitionstion into kentucky, perfectly. But the idea is if that index moves and feeder cattle prices are lower out there, they're going to be lower here too.

 

Kenny Burdine (23:39)

So that's the idea. So it's a good product. You mentioned it being more attractive now. And that comes down to premium subsidy. When I first started doing programs on LRP, the premium subsidy was 13%. Right now, depending on the level you buy, it's 35, 45 or 55%. Now when I work with folks, I usually push them towards one of the higher coverage levels, which usually means one of the lower subsidy levels. The way to think about it is, on average, you're going to be paying about 35% less than what you would pay for a comparable put option. That's a pretty good subsidy.

 

Shelby Wade (24:13)

Yeah.

 

Kenny Burdine (24:14)

And it's attractive enough now that even larger producers that could use futures and options, it's looking more attractive for them to be using LRP, too. So if that's not in your risk management toolbox, it probably should be.

 

Caleb Sadler (24:28)

In my brief experience with it, it leaves the upside open. It still allows you to capitalize on the market. It protects the risk. So, I mean, the producer really just has to get comfortable with where they want to be at and what they think they can't take anything less than those cattle are for.

 

Kenny Burdine (24:44)

Work with your lender and see what level of LRP insurance you need to cover your downside. And then you hope for the best, right. You hope you spent some money on premium and didn't need it. Right? That's the best case scenario. Yeah.

 

Caleb Sadler (24:56)

Well, and we were talking I know the LRP really gained some traction here recently, and it had to do around that premium. I'll let you maybe get some insight into that because I think there before it was maybe paid ahead of time. And now you don't have to pay it until it's after you sell the cattle.

 

Kenny Burdine (25:14)

They made several changes to it over the last two or three years. Kind of hard to keep up with, truthfully. The premiums were increased. But yeah, what you're referring to was initially I don't know, actually, when this changed, I think 2020 I could be wrong, Caleb. Initially, though, you had to pay premium upfront, and now you pay it basically at the end of the policy. So it works the exact same way as PRF insurance. For example, if you're doing indemnity, then you never actually end up paying the premium if it offsets that. Right. And if you do, you pay it at the end. So it just makes a little more palatable sometimes. So in most cases, in a cattle scenario, you can deal with that after the cattle are sold.

 

Caleb Sadler (25:49)

Well, that's exactly right. And if you're looking at it right now with extremely high input costs, that's just something the producer doesn't need right now. You don't need to add another bill that's unnecessary at the time of purchase. So it really works out great for farmer

 

Ben VanHook (26:04)

At Ag Credit, we deal with a lot of young, new and beginning farmers. How does somebody who doesn't know a lot about LRP insurance learn and go about maybe enrolling in that?

 

Kenny Burdine (26:13)

That's a great question. So there are multiple ways that you can learn about any of those risk management tools. I like LRP, first of all. Right, on my team, we do a good job, I think, at the county level, doing extension programs on things like this. And one of the parts of my job I enjoy the most is going out and doing programs like that directly with farmers. On the same note, we've got a lot of material online. I've done a couple of video programs on LRP. So if someone just wants to watch something from the comfort of their home now we've got some YouTube videos that are out there that you can get that information from. Work with your lender, talk to them about what your goals are, be blunt with them and tell them about your pros and cons or cost structure, and they'll help you understand what risk levels you can tolerate and what you need to think about managing. And they'll kind of point you in those directions. It's one of those things too, though. You need to develop a relationship with someone that you trust on the insurance side. LRP the way that it's set up, it's not like you're going to be shopping for price, right?

 

Kenny Burdine (27:14)

That doesn't matter. So find someone that you're comfortable working with as an insurance provider and build a relationship there too.

 

Caleb Sadler (27:23)

On your operation. I know that you all turn a few calves yourself at that point. Do you all utilize that program yourself or do you strictly stay on the board side and with calls or puts and things like that on the cattle?

 

Kenny Burdine (27:38)

Good question. I run some cattle with a friend and colleague. In the past, when we had more of a traditional stalker operation, we actually have used LRP and used the board both. Right now we're moving smaller numbers. And the way I kind of describe it is we've got a grazing grazing-oriented stocker operation, but it's kind of evolved into like a forage finishing operation now. So what we're doing doesn't lend itself well to something like LRP your futures. So we're in a little bit different market right now. So we're very grazing oriented, actually. A bale graze through winter. Great system, by the way, but it doesn't lend, it doesn't fit with what we do. Our market is very different.  We sell a lot of cattle direct and some is freezer for beef.

 

Caleb Sadler (28:20)

Got you.

 

Shelby Wade (28:22)

So you mentioned that obviously beef in Kentucky, that's kind of your primary focus. The other proteins you do work with as well. What are you seeing on the side, those type of things. As far as Kentucky, nationally, globally, that kind of are affecting beef here in Kentucky.

 

Kenny Burdine (28:41)

The markets are relatively strong, much like the beef market, maybe even more so, frankly. Pork and poultry are impacted by feed cost. Right? Yeah, we don't think about it sometimes. We probably have more flexibility on the feed side when it comes to cattle than the other species do. Right. In Kentucky, both pork and poultry tend to be more contract integrated. We have a lot of independent operations, obviously, but we also have a lot of those that are out there under contract with Integrators. So it's a very different system. With construction costs like they are right now, I don't think we're seeing the growth that we were seeing at one time in some of those types of operations. And I think it's just a function of what it costs to get an integrated operation up and running.

 

Caleb Sadler (29:27)

The technology that's behind that right now is unbelievable. If you go into a chicken house, it's like working into a four star or five star hotel. So basically today that industry has come a long way.

 

Kenny Burdine (29:42)

There's no doubt sectors are healthy, but they have challenges, just like the beef sector on the input side.

 

Caleb Sadler (29:51)

Now, where do you see consumption or demand at the retail level being right now from a standpoint of beef or poultry or pork? Where do you see that falling at? Are people demanding more protein from those cheaper sources?

 

Kenny Burdine (30:14)

Really good question. And frankly, it's hard to track. The retail meat price series are not ideal. There are some series you can use, there's some composite series for the species. There's also some individual cut prices you can track. One of the things that we wrestle with when we look at retail prices of meat is featuring, right? And I live in Jessamine County, that's home, so I'm in a fairly competitive retail grocery type environment, but there's a lot of featuring that goes on with meat. Right. So a lot of your meat managers will tell you that a lot of what they move has moved at cost. Right. Because it generates traffic. So it kind of makes it tricky. General answer to your question, though. Prices have actually remained very strong. In fact, box beef prices have actually slipped backwards. Retail prices hold pretty well. But I do think that the fact that these cull cow prices are so high does point to something. Right. And if you look at trim prices, I do think we're starting to see some movement towards cheaper meat products, ground beef being one of those. Not the ground beef is cheap, by the way.

 

Caleb Sadler (31:20)

Yeah, no doubt. Well, the other things, yeah, if you look at it, compared to the nation's inflation rate right now.

 

Shelby Wade (31:28)

You mentioned it there, beef is higher in the store relative to a couple of years back, but so is poultry, so is pork. So that, you know, all of the meats are increasing price wise. And like you mentioned, Caleb, inflation, no doubt families are feeling a little tight in the pocketbook, so they're going to cut back a little bit. It's just a matter of how long this inflation holds out. And hopefully all the proteins, especially beef, of course, remain high on the list at the grocery store.

 

Caleb Sadler (32:00)

So one topic, and that Shelby I think you fed right into it, really. But if you look back 2020 with Covid, we've seen grocery store shelves bare, completely bare, and we've seen a lot of people start pick up and selling beef off the farm. And there's two people here. Well, really? Three, you do it yourself. What's the demand like there? Is it still the same as it was in 2020? Or are we seeing any softening there or all three might pitch in here?

 

Shelby Wade (32:35)

Yeah, that's a great question. On my side, it's still very strong, and especially if we can keep our products, I mean, they're going to be a little bit higher than the grocery store. It's a little bit more of a premium product, but if we can keep it at a good price point to where it's not over the budget of consumers, I see this as a trend that's going to last a while. This local driven people want to get their beef from the farm. They want to go out there and get it directly from us. So I definitely see a good positive still market there.

 

Ben Robin (33:11)

Yeah, I agree with you, Shelby. Our customers are still calling us left and right stock freezers, and it's just different times. I worry about the talks of recession and how that's going to affect consumption and sales. But yeah, I mean, business is still good.

 

Kenny Burdine (33:33)

I would have bet money that we would have seen a fall off in demand for local protein, but I don't know that we have.

 

Caleb Sadler (33:41)

I would think there's probably an increase. I'm only speaking from a consumer level standpoint. I raised beef cattle myself, but I don't slaughter any. But there's just a comfort level knowing.

 

Ben Robin (33:53)

I was going to say trust. Definitely.

 

Kenny Burdine (33:57)

We've always been a little bit tight on local process capacity in Kentucky. Right. As far as capacity to actually have livestock slaughtered and sold for direct consumption. And that became really apparent during COVID. And we've added some capacity and we're adding more. But it seems to me like anecdotally what I see is we're still pretty backed up in a lot of these plans. So that's a sign to me. That market keeps growing.

 

Shelby Wade (34:23)

Yeah, I agree with that. And Ben, we're booked out all the way through the middle of next year. I have appointments already at these places because we have a set schedule. They're working us in. But, you know, just Farmer Joe down the road, he just wants to take one beef. He's going to wait a while, depending on the different processing plants. So that's definitely something that's still in effect today.

 

Ben VanHook (34:54)

I think a lot of that demand was driven by COVID. But since people are starting to source some of their proteins and beef here locally, they're creating relationships with local farms. And that's what we really like to do here at Ag Credit. Once you meet a producer and create that relationship and you're able to ask them questions and really learn about where their beef comes from, you can't do that at the grocery store.

 

Caleb Sadler (35:18)

That's right.

 

Ben VanHook (35:18)

So some of that is continuing and hopefully that will continue in the future.

 

Ben Robin (35:24)

Yeah, what we say all the time is they're not buying beef from us. They're buying our family story and our product and how we raise the cattle and our livelihood of the animals out there, too.

 

Caleb Sadler (35:39)

Well, we'll get back a little bit more on topic, I guess you could say. But I know when we were talking there, Kenny, before, I know you do a lot of programming with university. Tell us a little bit about the programming that you do. Do you travel all the way across the state of Kentucky, or are you more centralized here in central Kentucky or how does that work?

 

Kenny Burdine (35:58)

No, I'm based here on campus, obviously. My office is really just maybe a mile from here or something. But I travel the state from east to west, north to south, and that's one of the things I enjoy. Naturally. I spend more time in areas that have more livestock production, of course. But no, I've been in 119 in Kentucky's 120 counties. Wow. Now not all of those are extension related travels, but I've got one left to hit.

 

Caleb Sadler (36:23)

What county, if you don't mind me?

 

Kenny Burdine (36:24)

I don't mind you asking one bit, and I apologize. Any listeners that live there? It's nothing against Martin County. I just have never been in that county.

 

Caleb Sadler (36:30)

I never even knew there was a Martin County in Kentucky. I'm sorry.

 

Kenny Burdine (36:34)

It's a beautiful county. I know it is. I've just not been there. But, no, I enjoy traveling east to west. I enjoy the Mississippi to the Big Sandy.

 

Caleb Sadler (36:42)

I will ask, though, what do you see across the state? I mean, do you see stronger cattle prices in certain communities or how do you see that across the state of Kentucky?

 

Kenny Burdine (36:52)

There's always going to be variation and it comes down a lot of things, frankly. Right. The type of cattle, the quality of cattle, how strong the buying community is right in that area. I had a graduate student, I'm dating myself now because this has been a while, but they did a study of I think he looked at four or five different markets across the state, and he had obviously a lot in this area, some kind of in, what I'd call more true central Kentucky when you get a little bit west of here than some out in the far western part of the state. And when he statistically looked at those prices and the conditions that they sold and accounted for, whether it was an inway or an outweigh market, there really was not much difference in price. I think that's interesting to think about. These markets are pretty efficient, right? If they were a big difference in one market versus another one, the market will sort that out. Right. Then you don't know what markets do. So we tend not to see major differences. Now, on a given day, anything can happen. Right. But if you look over the long term week after week after week.

 

Kenny Burdine (37:53)

We don't see a lot of variation.

 

 (37:54)

Right.

 

Caleb Sadler (37:56)

And I'm going to get a little deeper in the weeds here because I've been out west and I've experienced a spring out there and I know a lot of backgrounders out there will buy calves or feed lots. They'll buy calves and they'll graze them on the wheat or whatnot. Have we seen any softening on that this year with wheat prices?

 

Kenny Burdine (38:16)

Yes, although I think so a lot of that occurs in the Southern Plains. I think Texas, Oklahoma, and I don't know, maybe the southern half of Kansas, something like that. I think wheat prices certainly matter. But remember, it was starting to get dry there way earlier. So I really think that the dry conditions that we've been in that area really started in the fourth quarter. Right. It was not dry in the Southern Plains until we got to about September, October. And it was almost like I took that drought and I kind of shifted it counterclockwise and it moved into the Southern Plains. So we saw a lot of movement there. But even ignoring that, just the basic question do wheat prices impact wheat grades? And answers, yes, they'll use the term out there, they'll use the term graze out. And what a lot of times they'll talk about is, okay, if I can graze cattle and wheat and get them off, I think like mid March kind of the rule of thumb that I won't have much impact on yield. All right. Now there's still some impact on whether or not they want to place cattle or not on.

 

Kenny Burdine (39:13)

But certainly when you think about grazing cattle post that mid March time period when prices are high, there's much less interest in that graze out, they call it.

 

Caleb Sadler (39:24)

If you're sitting there looking at the board right now, I would probably be more inclined to harvest the wheat off of that.

 

Shelby Wade (39:33)

As far as our next kind of category question going into you talked about your extension programming. Of course, one of the topics that we discuss a lot with our customers and just people who are interested is going to be the transition from the older generation of farmer. We got the rising average age of farmer across the nation transitioning that into this younger generation. So is that something that you done work with? And of course, obviously the majority of our foothold is going to be the cattle producer. So touch a little bit on that.

 

Kenny Burdine (40:06)

I don't do a lot of programming directly to transitions myself.  Steve Isaacs probably does more of that than anybody in our department. But it's an important topic and it's one that I think a lot of folks don't want to think about. But it's one that if you don't think about it, it will come back to bite you. And sometimes it's as simple as just having the conversation. For example, I don't do programming with it, but I oftentimes am involved when something comes up, I'll put it that way. And it's not uncommon for one generation to just assume that the next generation wants to operate the farm and they never really have the conversation. So it drives the planning and the decision making to a point that if they had just simply known what each other's goals were, it may have changed things drastically. So the first thing is just to have a conversation. Don't just assume that the farm is going to be operated after you're gone. It's not pleasant to think about, but it's better to know than not know.

 

Caleb Sadler (41:06)

No, that's exactly right. And secession planning, I'm a big believer and a big component of that. At least write it down. That way somebody knows.

 

Shelby Wade (41:17)

That's a great tip. Yes. And Ben Van Hook here alluded to that a little bit. Of course he's going to potentially follow in his family's footsteps and take over the family farm one day. But we have a good number of young farmers that are coming to us and whether that's maybe taking over their family farm or a new farm in general, just getting started. So we have what we call the AgStart program. We've talked about it a lot here on the podcast, but that's the new young beginning farmer that's really just getting started and where do they need to go? So they come to us. We kind of break down the different things. We have different programs. One of the things we work a lot with is USDA. Of course, we have a guaranteed loan program that we work with them, but also Kentucky Ag Finance Corporation. So of course you're very familiar with that program. So if you want to tell us a little bit about your time there and how that program, you've seen, it benefit a lot of young farmers.

 

Kenny Burdine (42:14)

Absolutely. I really enjoy working with the Kentucky Ag Finance Program. It's been one of the most rewarding things I've gotten to do. So this is a program that really was kind of started by the Ag Development Fund through tobacco settlement dollars. The corporation itself was kind of created to manage those funds and the staff there does a fantastic job. But put simply, this is a partnership loan program and that's the way you want to think about it. You work with your lender, that's where it starts. And then they work with the Ag Finance Board and we've got limits on what we can do, but up to a certain amount, we'll provide half the funding for the loan. And we have some different provisions too, by the way, for beginning farmers. But the idea behind it is you get a little more attractive interest rate because the money from Ag Finance goes into a pretty good rate. But the other thing that we do is we take second position typically on the loan. So what that means is it really puts the lender in a better position to loan money and we like to think that in a lot of cases that we can make loans to folks that would have a hard time getting a loan otherwise because we take the riskier back into that loan.

 

Kenny Burdine (43:27)

So I'm proud of that. It's worked extremely well and I have learned a lot from some very smart people I get to work with on that board and I really do enjoy being part of Ag Finance.

 

Caleb Sadler (43:37)

So you talk about the money that they lend out and I know on my end, but where does that money come from and how does Kentucky AG Finance, how do they get that money?

 

Kenny Burdine (43:47)

Sure, over time that has basically come from the Ag Development board, which of course we're talking about to back a set of dollars. Right. So that's just been one of the things that's been established as part of those dollars. Okay? But now we're at the point now it's actually a pretty big loan pool doing very well and a lot of our money is coming back in. So it's starting to get the point where it's

 

Caleb Sadler (44:08)

Could be lending out your own capital at that point.

 

Kenny Burdine (44:12)

Which is something i'm proud of.

 

Shelby Wade (44:14)

You mentioned there, getting those loans into hands that otherwise might not qualify for the loan and we absolutely see that on our end. I know Caleb has made more of these loans than I have, but being able to help that young farmer get going if that wasn't an option so it is a very rewarding feeling to see that happen. So if anybody listening wants any more information on those programs, feel free to reach out. We'll definitely talk to you one on one about that.

 

Caleb Sadler (44:46)

And really you can reach out to any office at Central Kentucky Ag Credit. There is a loan officer in each office that will be more than happy to give you some guidance into that Ag Start program and to answer any questions you might have about an FSA guarantee type loan or Kentucky Ag Finance loan. Kenny, I will ask this and I don't know if you said it and I might have missed it myself, but how long has Ag Finance been in existence? And I don't know off the top of my head either. I'm not going to hold you to it.

 

Kenny Burdine (45:18)

It predated my involvement on the board. I've been involved with the board, I think 14 years. Okay. And don't even hold me to that one. I'm at that point in my life, but I would have to go back and look to when it actually started. But it's been around since pretty early in the days of the fund. The idea of having a low interest loan fund that we could partner with existing lenders to make Ag loans was a goal of the aging of the Ag Development board and some of our leadership. And I think that foresight is why that loan program is where it is today.

 

Shelby Wade (45:54)

And I think definitely in the rising interest rate environment that we're in now, that's even more attractive because our blended rate is much better than the current market rates. So very attractive to young and beginning farmers.

 

Ben VanHook (46:09)

So, Kenny, I know another resource that the University of Kentucky puts out there is the Cattle Market Notes Weekly, and I know you're directly involved in that, as well as with some fellow extension professors at Mississippi State and University of Arkansas. I think that would be a great resource or tool in the toolbox for local producers. Talk a little bit about what you all put out there and how do people subscribe and get that weekly report?

 

Kenny Burdine (46:37)

Yeah, great question, and I really enjoy working on Cattle Market Notes Weekly, the full story on that. Like everybody right when COVID would really begin to impact things in March of 2020, you're talking to somebody who spends a lot of time on the road. In fact, I had a series of cow-calf conferences literally planned for like a week after they kind of started pulling things back. So it was quite a shock to me all of a sudden, how do I do extension programming and how do I get information out when I can't be on the road face to face like I'm used to doing it? So I started doing a weekly market update just as a way to kind of keep in communication with our stakeholders, our county agents. And then as things picked back up, I got back in the classroom. I really couldn't do that every week. So Cattle Market Notes Weekly is a weekly newsletter, but I rotate, like Ben said, with two of my friends and colleagues, Josh Maples and James Mitchell. So every third week one of us writes, but our clientele gets something every week, so there's no easy way on the air to share how to sign up for that.

 

Kenny Burdine (47:38)

It goes through MailChimp, there's links I can send you, I can get you on there. Probably the simplest way to do it is reach out to me or one of your lenders and we can get you on the sign up list. The URL would be long and I don't know what to actually get you signed up, but that comes out once a week on Monday afternoons. One thing I always say about Cattle Markets weekly, there are several there's several Cattle Market newsletters out there that are good, and I read them all, but because I'm in Kentucky, Josh is in Mississippi, and James is in Arkansas, it tends to be a little bit more calf and feeder cattle oriented. So we tend to focus on topics that are a little bit more feeder cataliented and less fed cattle oriented.

 

Shelby Wade (48:19)

Okay, that's good. Yeah, that would be great information for.

 

Caleb Sadler (48:21)

Our listeners, and I think this is still the case, but I knew Kentucky at one time was the largest beef producer this side of the Mississippi. Is that still the case?

 

Kenny Burdine (48:30)

We are, we have the largest cow herd east Mississippi, so we rank 8th. Okay. But largest on this side of the Mississippi River.

 

Caleb Sadler (48:37)

Awesome. Well, Kenny, as we finish up and wrap up here today, I do want to give you the opportunity to go back and we'll just touch on the high points here real quick. I'd like to maybe give your take or a brief forecast of what you think the cattle market will be and then we can wrap up and go from there.

 

Kenny Burdine (48:53)

Sure, glad to do it. Of course there are so many things that impact these cattle markets, although I'm always glad to give you my best guess, understand that anything can change that and I have been wrong in the past and I'm sure I will. Again, I like to always say that I really do think this calf market is falls going to be unusual because I'm going is a really good chance that we see calf prices higher this fall than we saw in the spring at a bare minimum flat. So five weight steer in the spring averaged about $1.75. He's not really moved much from that state average right now I've got groups in the 180s, don't get me wrong, right? But just state average run of the mill $1.75, I think he'll be at least that high this fall. I think October, I think decent chances even higher. So that'll be a good cap market. Now, in all fairness, with fuel and fertilizer prices eat up a good chunk of that. I think this heavy feeder cattle market is also going to run. I don't think we've seen the top yet, I don't. Seasonally August usually is our peak in the heavy feeder cattle market.

 

Kenny Burdine (49:58)

But again, I think because supplies are going to get tight, I think we're going to actually see probably those prices higher in the fourth quarter than we even see this summer. So I'm pretty optimistic going forward. One last thing, don't want to leave without saying this, just how much I appreciate the relationship that we as the UK extension service has with Ag Credit, friends, partners, sponsors and we're so glad for that relationship. Thank you all so much.

 

Caleb Sadler (50:23)

Thank you again, Kenny, thank you for coming on and we really appreciate the insight and the wisdom there that you have to share with the listeners of Beyond Agriculture and thanks for Ben for coming on today, first timer. So really appreciate him as well. And Sheby for joining us again.

 

Shelby Wade (50:37)

Yeah, good job, Ben. Thanks Kenny, it's been a pleasure as always. And go cats.

 

Kenny Burdine (50:51)

This episode of Beyond Agriculture is brought to you by Central Kentucky AG Credit. Thanks for listening to the podcast. Be sure to visit Adcreditonline. Com/BeyondAgriculture, access the show notes and discover our fantastic bonus content. Also, don't forget to hit the subscribe button so you can join us next time for Beyond Agriculture.

Episode 8 A Relationship with Your Lender

 

 

Listen to Caleb as he travels "South of the River" to our southern branches and talks with SaraVard, John and Patrick. Get to know them as they tell you a little about their life in and out of Ag Credit. Trying to figure out how to build a relationship with your lender? Listen to what our Loan Officers from Stanford and Lebanon have to say about the importance of finding the right lender. 

Read the transcript
Caleb Sadler (00:01)

Welcome to Beyond Agriculture, the podcast that takes you beyond the scope of AG and into the real life stories, conversations, and events taking place in our community, who we are and what we do. Beyond Agriculture. Hello and welcome in to Beyond Agriculture. Caleb Sadler with you here today. I'm also joined well, today we're actually in our Danville Branch, and I'm actually joined with three other loan officers with Central Kentucky Ag Credit today. I have Miss SaraVard VonGruenigen out of our Stanford office. I also have joined with us as John Peek out of our Stanford office, and then Patrick Durham out of our Lebanon office. So these three individuals are going to help us out on the podcast today, and maybe in the future you'll hear them back on as we travel across our 17 counties with Central Kentucky Ag Credit. As we interview different people out of the south, one of these individuals might pick up that podcast and help us host that. So, hello everyone, and welcome onto Beyond Agriculture. We're going to do a little bit of introduction around here, so SaraVard we'll start with you. You're a loan officer and our Stanford office, so tell us a little bit about yourself.

 

SaraVard VonGruenigen (01:18)

Okay, I've been over at Stanford for 14 years now, been the association 15 years, a loan officer, like you said, I live in Garrard County, born and raised, and we have beef cattle operation over there, and I have a little eight year old boy, and we live in the southern part of Garrard County and just enjoy life over there.

 

Caleb Sadler (01:43)

I try to keep up with you a little bit on Facebook too. You like to hike too, is that correct?

 

SaraVard VonGruenigen (01:47)

Yes, I like to hike a lot, actually. Next week I'm going hiking all week.

 

Caleb Sadler (01:51)

Awesome. That's awesome. Is that a spring break trip?

 

SaraVard VonGruenigen (01:53)

Yeah.

 

Caleb Sadler (01:54)

All right. My wife is on spring break next week too, and I told her that I would at least take off Friday, and she told me the other day that I don't know, that I'll be around here. And I said, well, that's fine, I'll just take off anyway and maybe I'll get some farm work done anyway. All right, well, thank you, SaraVard, I appreciate that. Next up, we have John Peek as well. He's a loan officer out of our Stanford office. So hello John, and welcome on to Beyond Agriculture and tell us a little bit about yourself.

 

John Peek (02:20)

Yes, as you said, my name is John Peak. I've been with the association for 20 years, born and raised in Lincoln County, Kings Mountain area. I've got a 75 acre farm there that was my grandparents and run a registered Angus small herd and graduated from UK, worked for two years after that before I started Ag Credit. And actually Ag Credit, for me was a chance to come back home. So, in short, that's kind of how I got here.

 

Caleb Sadler (02:54)

Where did you work at before?

 

John Peek (02:55)

I work for a place in Versailles called Kentucky Equine Research, and we actually sold horse supplements, race horse supplements, and interestingly enough, we had camel supplements as well because we did a lot of business with Shaks and so on in the Middle East who are very involved in the racehorse industry.

 

Caleb Sadler (03:16)

I find that funny at the same time because there's not a lot of camels here in central Kentucky. And actually, if you drive in between Paris and Winchester on 627, there are actually camels on a farm there. And I don't know who owns that property, but it's neat to see them along the side of the road, that's for sure.

 

John Peek (03:33)

Interesting.

 

Caleb Sadler (03:34)

Thank you. John, how long have you been with the association now?

 

John Peek (03:38)

This is my 20th year.

 

Caleb Sadler (03:39)

20Th year, wow. So I won't get into how old I am in there either.

 

John Peek (03:44)

I'm one of the old guys now.

 

Caleb Sadler (03:46)

All right, up next we have Patrick Durham. Patrick out of our Lebanon office, and I think, Patrick, you're a recent hire with the association, so tell us a little bit about yourself and where you come from and what you do now.

 

Patrick Durham (03:58)

Again, my name is Patrick Durham. Yes. I am the rookie of a group started in January. Previously I worked about 15 years in the livestock marketing industry in around the area of Lebanon, more in Washington County and then the last five years in Bowlin Green and Irvington with United Producers. Came to Lebanon in January, starting a new career path with Ag Credit, excited about doing that and in the area and working with a great group of people. My hometown is Hodginville, Kentucky, born and raised there. Again, a lot of friends, family over in the Washington County Lebanon area. So it's kind of like a second home coming over here. I know a lot of people coming in and out. Wife Jennifer, two boys, 18 and 11, both real active in sports. We also have a registered Shorthorn farm, commercial cattle there in Hodgenville. Just do cattle and hay and coming back to Lebanon to work every day and going back home and doing that just kind of fits the mold where I'm at right now.

 

Caleb Sadler (05:17)

Got you. Now I'm going to go back to SaraVard. I know you alluded a little bit to your farming background. Tell us a little bit about your farming operation today, and maybe we'll feed off of that and see if anybody has any questions.

 

SaraVard VonGruenigen (05:32)

Okay, yeah, sure. So we just got commercial cows. Every once in a while, we will put together a group of feeders.  We've got 100 mama cows at this point, and we have two different farms we run. My husband's family farms are down in southern Garrard, and then my family farms are in the 1295, the Hill and Holler region of Garrard County.

 

Caleb Sadler (05:55)

Well, if you're ever in Nicholas County, that's exactly where I'm from, too.

 

SaraVard VonGruenigen (05:59)

We tease and say that I've got one leg longer than the other. I can only walk around the hill one way, can't walk the other way. I'll tip over.

 

Caleb Sadler (06:05)

They always said we always raise tobacco, and they always said that you could get more tobacco in a curved row than you get a straight road.

 

SaraVard VonGruenigen (06:12)

Yeah, we're farming all sides. There you go.

 

Caleb Sadler (06:14)

I understand. Are you all primarily spring fall calving?

 

SaraVard VonGruenigen (06:18)

Yes, spring calving is our goal. That doesn't mean we don't have a few that trickle in the summer. But our main majority of our calves, we're actually calving during the presumed ice storm that was going to happen this year and the ice storm last year. So good timing. We think we need to bump it over a little further.

 

Caleb Sadler (06:33)

Yeah, push the bulls back a little bit.

 

SaraVard VonGruenigen (06:34)

Yeah, exactly.

 

Caleb Sadler (06:36)

All right, thank you. So we're joined here today on the show with three loan officers, like I said in the intro today, but one of the things that we're here to talk about today is really a relationship with your lender and relationship with Central Kentucky Ag credit. We really pride ourself on being that relationship lender and really creating the bond with the customer as we are member owned as a true cooperative model. So, Patrick, tell us a little bit about I know you're fresh here with the association, but tell us a little bit about just your take for the short time you've been here on how building those relationships is a really key role.

 

Patrick Durham (07:18)

Well, I mean, building on what my previous job entitled building the relationship to me is first and foremost, and when I interviewed and talked with the guys from Ad credit about coming over here, that was very key in the things that I spoke about and knowing a lot of people that worked for Ad credit previously, before I started the job, I knew that building the relationships was a big part of that. And I think that's what set Central Kentucky apart from other organizations is the fact that we build those relationships from start to finish, and it doesn't just end at the point we sign papers. We're always a phone call way, come by visit, we'll talk. Whether it's cattle, tobacco, hay, anything, we're there to kind of be a tool for you to use. And I think that's very important. And I've noticed it's widespread in Central Kentucky.

 

Caleb Sadler (08:20)

That's awesome. Now, John, you've been with the association the longest out of all four of us here. I've been with a credit now a little over seven years now, and I guess you could really key in and talk a little bit about these relationships because I'm sure that you've got accounts that when you made a loan when you first started here, you still service some of those loans today. So tell us a little bit about those relationships you've built over the course of time and how those are maintained.

 

John Peek (08:47)

Yeah, absolutely. I took over some accounts from some older, for some older fellows when I came in and some of those guys had already been with the association for 20 or 25 or 30 years. And I've actually got a loan I'm working on right now that I know third generation. And it's not just for that particular farmer, but also it carries on down the line. So relationships, that's all we are. In my opinion, people do business with loan officers. Not that they're not loyal to Ag Credit, but in general people do business with people. And for me, it was great to get to come back home and to get to work at Ag Credit. Because I grew up in the Lincoln County farming community. I'm a product of the extension programs and Farm Bureau and 4-H and FFA. I feel like I owe the Lincoln County Agriculture community a lot for who I am and how I got to grow up. And for me, the agriculture community in Lincoln County is a big deal and it's a big part of my life and who I am. And those are the people that I'm doing business with and they know me.

 

Caleb Sadler (10:09)

Yeah, and I would say that goes further because talking about my experiences as well, I serve on the Bourbon County Farm Bureau Board, on the AG Development Board in Bourbon County as well. And being involved in those community events like that really builds your relationship in the community. And so when those producers out there that are in the field and they need something, they're going to call in a familiar face at that point in time. And if they've got a relationship outside at another venue, then they'll probably give you a call. So there's no doubt there at all. So SaraVard, one question I would have is how do you find the right lender? Let's say you didn't have that relationship and you were a young beginning and small farmer. How do you find the right lender?

 

SaraVard VonGruenigen (10:52)

Well, it boils down to what do you need and what can they do for you. I know we run into a lot when we deal with young beginning farmers. They need guidance in which way to go and how to get there. And so you need to find a lender that can do that for you. We work with a lot of young beginning farmers and I know that the big thing that they run into often is that they can't find a loan program that works for them because they don't have the owner equity position or maybe not all the down payment that they need, things of that nature. And luckily, an institution like us, we work with programs that allow us to help them out, like with FSA, the KAFC programs. So it basically boils down to what they need and who can help them get there.

 

Caleb Sadler (11:41)

Yeah, I would agree with that. I do a lot or I see a lot of YBS customers that I work with and I think Central Kentucky Ag Credit is maybe one of the largest, largest guarantee lender in the state of Kentucky. And I really think that we're out there for the young beginning small farmer, not just them, but every farmer. One thing that we got a little agenda here that we're trying to cover and one of the items on there if you are looking for a lender would be to do your homework. So tell us a little bit, Patrick, on how some of these, if someone was looking to obtain a loan, either be farm equipment or real estate, how could they do their homework before they came in and meet with us across the desk?

 

Patrick Durham (12:27)

I mean, definitely any good producer is going to do their homework before they come in and meet with us. I call it shooting in the dark or shooting arrows at a blind target, whatever you want to call it. They're going to put down, they're going to pencil out some ideas and look up their interest rates compared to other places. They're going to have some ideas and prices and stuff that they're going to need. Just check, make sure we're where we need to be. Once they come in. They need to have their records on hand, good record keeping, balance sheets, three years tax returns, business plan, if they have one. If they don't have one, they need to work on getting one, especially those young farmers. It's good to start early on doing that. Those programs, as I was growing up, we're heavily involved in 4-H and FFA programs and the reason they do those is continuation on through your career in agriculture. If they bring those things in, it makes our job a lot easier. We're able to do a lot better job servicing them and giving them what they want and speeding the process up. I just recommend just have an idea of gameplan, what you want, what you need and how you want to get there and let us kind of take it from there and then we can put the pieces together.

 

Caleb Sadler (13:55)

Having that end goal and what you want to accomplish is very key and oftentimes we see a lot of producers that will come in and try to get a loan and they just don't know exactly what their true end goal is. And I think it is good to have that and know exactly what you're looking for.

 

Patrick Durham (14:13)

And I think too to add to that going forward with the current prices and stuff that we have inputs and stuff that's going to set people apart, doing those records and having those plans, those producers that are able to do a good job of managing their operation, that's what's going to set them aside and get them over this home.

 

Caleb Sadler (14:34)

If you listen into our first podcast on Beyond Agriculture, we got in and talked a little bit about equipment values and if you're familiar with equipment options and new equipment right now, I mean, the prices are elevated and really it boils down to making sure you keep good records on that end of it to be able to track that kind of stuff. Because you get into a used piece of equipment and you're constantly having repair bills, it's probably time to look about maybe upgrading that. So we've talked a little bit about some of the stuff, about preparing to come in and maybe talk with us about a loan. John, let's say we had a borrower or an applicant that was looking to come in and maybe look at a real estate loan. Is it better to have a property in mind already before they come in, or is it better to be kind of pre approved on that end of it?

 

John Peek (15:25)

We can sure look at it both ways. I like it when they actually have a property in mind, but I also appreciate I have people come in sometimes and they say, look, I'm thinking about trying to buy a property. I've got this in mind, this type of property, and say it's a $200,000 property, then I can tell them how much down payment they need. We can look at cash flow, we can look at their ratios and et cetera, et cetera. So that's not a bad idea either, I would just say because this real estate market is hot still and there's a lot of competition out there, so you probably want to get out there early and try to get pre approved if you're really serious about buying a piece of property, because some of these properties are going fast and some of them there's quite a bit of competition for them.

 

Caleb Sadler (16:13)

Yeah. In our market that we see is I'm out of the Paris office, so I see some deals out of Winchester and Georgetown and Lexington, and those are places that if you find like a ten acre lot and SaraVard, you could probably talk a little bit about this. It seems like if you're not preapproved and you don't put a full list offer in, you're behind eight ball at that point in time. Is that the same way down in Stanford? Are you all seeing things like that?

 

SaraVard VonGruenigen (16:41)

Yes. I don't know if it's as hot as it is above the river, as we say, but it still is. And so we've seen a lot of deals where they'll come in and even offer more than what they've even listed for it, and then there'll be 10,000 more, 15,000 more. So, yeah, we've seen that kind of interest around home as well.

 

Caleb Sadler (17:03)

So you brought up a good point there. Without borrowers or offers coming in above purchase price or what's list price is. Does that affect any on the appraisal side that you see?

 

SaraVard VonGruenigen (17:17)

It could. I know at first whenever this market started hitting right, honestly, it kind of happened the beginning, COVID that's when I first started noticing it in my office, the appraisers were having a hard time finding the comps because the demand was obviously there because multiple people put in and they had to offer more. But then the comps weren't out there in the past because they look at these comps for six months to a year back. Traditionally, as it sits today, it's probably not as big an issue as it has been maybe a year and a half ago. With appraisers, it'll be interesting to see what the future holds as well.

 

Caleb Sadler (18:01)

And I'm only going to ask from a listener standpoint, when you refer to comp sales, would you explain that a little bit more?

 

SaraVard VonGruenigen (18:08)

Yeah, sorry, I'm talking the lingo, expecting everybody to know it. It's kind of pompous of me, isn't it? So what it means is whenever an appraiser goes out there and tries to value a property, they look at like type properties in the same area, the same type soils. If that comes into play, if it's a farm, they just look at the general area and try to find, OK, this is similar to this property and how did it sell, and then they compare from there.

 

Caleb Sadler (18:36)

Okay, good deal. So Patrick, you touched on this before and I'm going to have you reiterate it. That way we'll get a clear picture. But if you were coming in for a purchase, if you were looking for a loan, what are those key items again, that list out in a separate segment on what they need to come in prepared with to obtain a loan?

 

Patrick Durham (18:57)

When you come in and you're looking to purchase some land or a larger volume type item, you need to come in, be prepared to fill out a balance sheet with your financials and everything.

 

Caleb Sadler (19:11)

One thing I will ask there to explain the balance sheet a little bit just for the listeners. That way we want to educate and that's what this podcast is about. Tell us a little bit about what a balance sheet does for us and for the borrower.

 

Patrick Durham (19:25)

It's basically just kind of an overview of what your financials are. It's going to list your assets, how much cash you have in the bank or you have available, what kind of loans you have out there as far as what you owe on some of those credit cards, bank loans, equipment loans, anything like that. Items that you have as far as trailers, wagons, farm equipment that may be paid off. We put all that together into a balance sheet and that gives us a good idea of where financially you stand when we can base our loans off of that.

 

Caleb Sadler (20:04)

One thing, and this is only speaking from experience there, but whenever I take a balance sheet with a borrower, they assume that if they owe money on it, they don't list it on the asset. That's not correct. And John, tell us a little bit about why that is the case.

 

John Peek (20:21)

Well, I'll just add to when I talk to people about balance sheets. They get the deer in the headlights look. I'm like, look, take a piece of white paper, draw a line down the middle on the left hand side, make a list of everything you own, and then on the right hand side, make a list of everything that you owe. Make sure that there's something on the left hand side for anything that's listed on the right hand side. So you want to make sure that you are getting credit for having an asset for any debt that's out there.

 

Caleb Sadler (20:48)

Yeah. For instance, if you owe on a tractor, and let's say you owe the last payment of $3,000, for instance, and that tractor was 40 or $50,000, we want to give you the equity that you've got in that tractor because it's going to build some equity on the balance sheet.

 

John Peek (21:01)

And one misconception people have is if they list something on the balance sheet, we're going to try to take a lien on it.

 

Caleb Sadler (21:05)

Yeah.

 

John Peek (21:06)

And that's not the case. We're trying to assess your net worth, basically your credit standing in general, just your financial position. So we're not looking at a list of things to take a lien on.

 

SaraVard VonGruenigen (21:20)

One thing I see folks forget to put on there a lot is their 401K. Yeah. Because they put money in it and they forget about it. But it's a big asset that a lot of folks have because a lot of times I'll ask, do you have 401K or IRA or stocks? Oh yeah, I do.

 

Caleb Sadler (21:35)

Yeah. Really, in our territory, in our market that we service, that is a really big asset because the primary people that we service are probably part time farmers, so they have a job off the farm where they're contributing to a retirement account. And a lot of times, if they are an older member or borrower, those accounts have some size to them. So there's no doubt. Yes. I get that a lot though, John, with the people that think that borrowers that think that just because we're going to lift it out and build an equity position, we want to take a lean on it, that's definitely not the case.

 

John Peek (22:08)

I'll say, do you have anything else? Yeah, but I don't want to put it on.

 

Caleb Sadler (22:11)

Yeah, no, that's exactly right.

 

SaraVard VonGruenigen (22:13)

I hear it happen a lot, too.

 

Caleb Sadler (22:14)

Yeah. To kind of go back and touch on this. I know that we were talking about building relationships there before and starting in the communities, but one thing that we kind of missed when we talked about that was word of mouth. And I'll let whoever wants to open up talk a little bit about that because I think that's one of our bigger marketing tools that we have in the shed is word of mouth and your experience that you've had with Ag Credit, because that's going to go a lot further than anything else. So somebody go ahead.

 

John Peek (22:44)

I don't care talking about it a little bit and I'll back up a little bit. I didn't say anything about my family, but I've got two kids right now and they're in high school and middle school, 16 and 13, so I'm out and about it, all those type of functions too. My daughter's involved in FFA, but I think when people come in, add credit, they're going to be impressed with the amount of knowledge that there is behind the desk. We have a lot of people come in, or I have a lot of people come in and they start telling me about their cattle operation or a little bit something about a piece of equipment, and then I make a comment or add something to it and they're like, Oh, you know about that. And we do, we know not everything about everything, but we are agricultural people for the most part. And when people who are involved in agriculture have tried to do business at commercial banks, they sometimes have had a hard time communicating just about their operation and what they're trying to accomplish. But I feel like we have a real leg up understanding what people are doing and what they want to do and helping them out with that.

 

Caleb Sadler (23:49)

Yeah, I would call it. And I know that there's people at Ag Credit that don't farm or that are removed a little bit from the farm, but I always look at Ag Credit is really farmers helping farmers at.

 

John Peek (24:00)

No doubt about it. And there goes your word of mouth.

 

SaraVard VonGruenigen (24:03)

Yeah, and that's the big thing about farmers, too. My husband needs deep and farming. He loves it, breathes it since he's a little kid. But it's funny to me, whenever he wants to learn something or he needs to know something, what's he doing, he asks another farming friend. And so that's where word of mouth comes into play for us as well, because they trust each other more than they trust anything else, it seems like, in that farming community and these local.

 

Patrick Durham (24:32)

Previous years working in the stockyard industry and livestock, there's no better place other than your local Hardees or McDonald's where farmers talk.

 

Caleb Sadler (24:41)

Every community has got one.

 

Patrick Durham (24:43)

And I've heard those guys talk, and a lot of times they will talk about their financial, the people that they deal with, and they talk a lot. And the word of mouth is big. So those experiences really do play out once those people start talking about Ag Credit and stuff.

 

Caleb Sadler (25:03)

No, I agree with that totally. So one thing that John talked on there, and I'm going to let Sarah explain a little bit more about it, and we've talked about this in the first episode of Beyond Agriculture, but really what the true difference is between Central Kentucky Ag Credit and a regular commercial bank and really tell the listeners what the difference is and what the benefits are to Ag Credit versus a standard commercial bank.

 

SaraVard VonGruenigen (25:29)

When we were created, we were created specifically for farmers. We were meant to be there for the good times and the bad because we were created basically during the Depression area era when a lot of farmers saw commercials, banks just back up from them and not help them out at all. So that's what our intentions were for us. So that's primarily why we're here. Whenever some farmer comes to us, we've got products that are tailored for them. The payment plans are tailored for them, like John touched on. We've got people who understand what they do because we do it ourselves. So there's just a whole other level. There an understanding and appreciation. When times are tough, we understand that, too. We can talk through it and we can walk through it together. When times are good, we can celebrate together because we all understand that we're in the same boat.

 

Caleb Sadler (26:19)

One thing that's just recently happened would have been our patronage day and where we've passed out checks to the members and borrowers. And one of the benefits talked a little bit about that benefit from a cooperative model and the dividend that they just received back.

 

SaraVard VonGruenigen (26:34)

Yes. So one thing about us, we're traditional cooperative. We're kind of a dinosaur at this point. There's not many left.

 

Caleb Sadler (26:41)

Yeah, there really is not many left.

 

SaraVard VonGruenigen (26:43)

Our borrowers own a little part of us. While they're with us, they can vote on our board members, and then also they're privy to a little passionate refund or dividend, however you want to call it, for being part of the co op. I think a lot of our farmers are our borrowers. They just really appreciate having a say in how this place has ran and owning a part of us and being part of, like I said, a dying tradition.

 

Caleb Sadler (27:10)

Yes, that's correct. And we've paid back a dividend. Now, this marks the 25th year that we returned one back, and it's a record year for 2021. I mean, from the association standpoint, record year. So that's awesome. One key that kind of going back into leads into our next segment that we've talked about consistently is communication and communication with your lender. And John, tell us why that is so important from a listener standpoint of why communication with your lender is so vital.

 

John Peek (27:45)

Yes. If you come and talk to us, we'll do our very best to work with you. And that's whether you're needing something new. That's whether you have a payment that's a little past due. No matter what's going on, we don't know where you're at unless you tell us. The only thing we can do is assume, and that's a bad situation to be in as a lender. It's unfortunate, but sometimes we have to assume the worst. So we have rules and regulations that we have to go by, and if you don't contact us, we just have to go down that road. But fortunately, basically most of the time, if there's any way you can pay, we'll try to work that out for you. If you've got a good plan, if it's feasible, we'll sure work with you.

 

Caleb Sadler (28:32)

Yeah, I think that goes back to the relationship lender tool. So we talk about that from a borrower standpoint. But how critical is communication with your lender from, let's just say, a new applicant walking in the door and communicating with them through the loan process? How critical is that

 

SaraVard VonGruenigen (28:52)

It's very important because especially as a new borrower, they're getting to know us and we're getting to know them, and it's important to lay everything out there. This even if we're talking about the balance sheet, don't be scared to give us information about your balance sheet. It doesn't mean anything bad. And then also the same way if somebody kind of thinks that they've got something that may be an obstacle, just go ahead and tell us. And the other thing I like to talk to about customers is often, just like earlier, I was using the terminology and stuff that people may or may not know. I tell my customers, there's no silly questions. You ask me whatever you feel like asking, because I think about young SaraVard before I started working Ag Credit, 20 years old, 22 years old, and all the things I didn't know about financing and how it worked and how all that was just laid out. And so how are we to assume that everybody will know everything inside and out about the financial world?

 

Patrick Durham (29:54)

I'm 44 years old and just new to this industry. And believe me, yes, I didn't know half of what I think rephrase that I don't know exactly. How do I say it?

 

SaraVard VonGruenigen (30:09)

You're learning.

 

Patrick Durham (30:10)

Yeah, I'm learning. Sorry.

 

John Peek (30:11)

Sometimes you don't know what you don't know.

 

Patrick Durham (30:13)

Yeah, that's exactly it.

 

Caleb Sadler (30:15)

They always say the only stupid question is the one that's not right. And I think that is really important. Even if a borrower doesn't know or an applicant doesn't, don't be afraid to ask a question. I mean, because that's what we're here for. We do it every single day and we're going to help you.

 

SaraVard VonGruenigen (30:34)

There's no embarrassment there. But if it's not your bread and butter and you're not doing it every day, then how are you supposed to know everything about it?

 

Caleb Sadler (30:39)

That's right.

 

John Peek (30:40)

That's what we're here for, to help you through that process.

 

Caleb Sadler (30:42)

That's right. And I think that feeds into having those good relationships really make a really long standing success in a long term relationship. So having that open communication really feeds into that. And John, I know you've been here the longest out of the four that are on here today with us. Tell us a little bit about how those good relationships and those good communications has led to long term success.

 

John Peek (31:07)

But we were talking earlier about word of mouth and my borrowers are my best advertisements. The majority of my borrowers are referred by somebody else. The majority of my new business I get now today is a referral from somebody else. So and so downstairs told me to come talk to you because you did this for them. The relationship is what it's all about. Like I said, we have people who come in from our website, we have a lot of social media, we get some people who are just calling out of the blue, but the majority of the people in our community, because we serve such a small area, we're not a great big lender, we're a small regional lender. And that word of mouth is invaluable.

 

Caleb Sadler (31:47)

Communication, like you were saying, even in the bad and the good times, if you're having a hard time, tell us about it.

 

John Peek (31:54)

Absolutely.

 

Caleb Sadler (31:54)

We're here for you. At the end of the day as a lender. We're not your enemy, we're your friends.

 

John Peek (32:00)

Well, and I've been in situations in my career. I've been here 20 years and there's been some good loans and some bad loans. And I feel like some of the biggest ways that there's been a few people that I've helped tremendously by being able to plan a good exit strategy from farming because it wasn't going well, or maybe they just decided it was time to get out. But there's a lot to be said for communication in that area. If it's not going well, if you let us know early, we can help you a lot more than if you let it go over a period of time. There are times, especially with annual payments, there may be a problem for six months and we don't really know about it because there's not a payment due, but when the payment comes due, it all comes to light. So you're better off to go ahead and tell us about it and then we can work with it from there.

 

Caleb Sadler (32:50)

Yeah. And from that end of it, when you're talking about the lending process or the borrowing money process can be intimidating from a borrowing standpoint. But don't be afraid, the lender is there for you. We're going to be that trusted source of information that you're going to need to make your decision at that point. I know we've kind of covered our agenda here today. We'll just kind of open it up. Patrick, tell us. Here at Central Kentucky Ag Credit, we refer to it as the north and the south as, like SaraVard said, north of the river and south of the river since we only cover 17 counties in Central Kentucky. So as I alluded to earlier, the three individuals that I have with me today on the podcast John Peek, Patrick Durham and SaraVard VonGruenigen, whenever the podcast goes to the Southern offices, if we have someone to interview or something like that, they're going to pick it up from that end of it and be the host of the show for that day. So I really appreciate you all coming on and joining us here today and really introducing yourself because you all will be, I guess you could say, the southern voice of Beyond Agriculture.

 

SaraVard VonGruenigen (34:05)

We'll have more twang than you?

 

Caleb Sadler (34:06)

That's right. Yeah, that's right. I'm about as far north as you can go in the whole territory. But you're absolutely right. So thank you for listening in to Beyond Agriculture, and I really appreciate all three of you being with me today. So be sure if you're listening to subscribe and rate the podcast. And thank you again.

 

Speaker 5 (34:28)

This episode of Beyond Agriculture is brought to you by Central Kentucky Aggregate. Thanks for listening to the podcast. Be sure to visit agreditonline.com. Com Beyond Agriculture, access the show notes, and discover our fantastic bonus content. Also, don't forget to hit the subscribe button so you can join us next time for Beyond Agriculture.

 

Episode 7 What is Black Soil KY?

 
 
Listen to CEO, Ashley Smith, talk about Black Soil KY. The mission of Black Soil : Our Better Nature is to reconnect black Kentuckians to their legacy and heritage in agriculture. By bringing together urban families with rural and urban-based black farmers/growers/producers across the state, they help introduce opportunities in agriculture that promote self-sufficiency, encourage healthy living, and activate cooperative economics. 
 
Links:
Black Soil KY website: www.BlackSoilKY.com
 
View the Transcript
Caleb Sadler (00:01)

Welcome to Beyond Agriculture, the podcast that takes you beyond the scope of AG and into the real life stories, conversations and events taking place in our community. Who we are and what we do is Beyond Agriculture.

 

Shelby Wade (00:19)

Good morning. We're back here with Beyond Agriculture. I am Shelby Wade. We're here with us today. We have Cassie Johnson. How's it going, Cassie? You're doing all right today?

 

Cassie Johnson (00:29)

I'm doing good. We're experiencing a little bit of clouds today, but that's okay. We'll take the rain every once in a while. I think that we might as well roll right into the podcast today because we have a very exciting person with us, Ms. Ashley Smith from Black Soil. Ashley, how are you doing?

 

Ashley Smith (00:49)

Hello, Shelby. Hello, Cassie. It's so great to be on the show with you today.

 

Shelby Wade (00:54)

Yeah. Thank you for joining us. We were very excited to get you on here and anxious to get going.

 

Ashley Smith (00:58)

Thank you.

 

Cassie Johnson (00:59)

So to start off, Ashley, why don't you just tell us a little bit about yourself and where you're from?

 

Ashley Smith (01:06)

Well, from here in Lexington. A lifelong resident native, I actually grew up in the Tates Creek area, so my backyard was a cow pasture until I was in third grade. And then like Veterans Park and Grand Reserve, all of these new subdivisions were built up around our small neighborhood of Fairhaven. My parents moved here in 81 from Western Kentucky, Trig County and Hopkins County, and so they've worked in healthcare and education. My mom actually retired, so she's always at my house. But thankfully, because we have three year old twins, Caroline and Trevor, they always have their clothes laid out for daycare and other activities like Weball. So I'm a mom and a business owner. I started my career volunteering at St. Joe east as a volunteer candy striper and medical records before there were any smartphones AirPods. And I worked in the medical records room. And that experience of just doing the same thing over and over, really getting good at it has taken me a long way over my career. And so to be here on the podcast today, talking more about what we do with Black Soil, the business that we've had for five years and being a lifelong resident native of Lexington really makes it has an impact.

 

Ashley Smith (02:34)

Thanks for having me.

 

Cassie Johnson (02:35)

How did you get from being a candy striper to owning black soil?

 

Ashley Smith (02:39)

Yes. So fast forward to 2017 from those many years ago. As a 13-year old, I worked at the Lyric Theater and I was a grant writer. Event engagement. We built programs around our mission of high presentations, high quality presentations of Gallery shows, stage plays, having field trips to working in agriculture. And I am still a fish out of water. Still three years later. But I got recruited to work at the Fayette Alliance, a wonderful nonprofit here in Lexington Fayette County. And their mission is to really have sustainable land use. So working to protect our key agricultural soil land, the operations that help build up a multibillion dollar industry here in the county with agriculture. And I loved every minute of what I was learning. We had so many opportunities. So our co founder, I say we a lot. Our co founder is Trevor Clayborn, and he works at Kentucky State as an extension agent. And so he has a research based education outreach program called Farmer Brown Scene. So, long story short, we combined our forces. So event planning and management. I've done crave and different festivals around the state in the city. And then Trevor bringing education and outreach.

 

Ashley Smith (04:08)

We created an event based company, Agrism. And so I visited an Allen County based farm called Need More Acres. Nathan and Michelle Hal operate, and they feed ten families a year and then use their farms like engage their community in a way that I'd never seen before. And long story short, we piloted this program on a family farm in Canmer, Kentucky, Andre Barber. So he has seven Barber siblings. Four of them have returned to farming.

 

Shelby Wade (04:45)

Wow. That's awesome. Yeah.

 

Ashley Smith (04:47)

And so they have a mixed use operation. And so I'm still talking about how we got started. It was a huge lifting up of attending city hall meetings and seeing an opportunity for a more robust conversation, including black landowners who exist, who want to be able to have relationships with the Ag Credits of the world and build up their operation and just connecting people to markets and the information and assets.

 

Shelby Wade (05:19)

Right.

 

Ashley Smith (05:19)

And so we took all of this desire to engage disconnected families from farms. Oftentimes, many of them have farms in their family, but they've moved to the city and have lost the farm. Someone's just paying the taxes and it's overgrown. And by bringing families from Lexington and Moville to the rural community, it bore this respect of the process of farming. Getting up early, dedication, resilience, working against Mother Nature. Sure. Family having to balance like, you have to have a public job sometimes and still run the farm. You still have students with sporting events and things like that. So I say all of that to really drill it down as we came about to bring a platform to farmers and bakers and chefs that we eventually molded into our cycle post 2017. And so I'm a co founder now. I serve as the CEO. And over the pandemic, I was the COO and just trying to hold it all together. It was a split second decision every minute by minute. And what we were able to experience was what we started in the very beginning, emphasizing around relationships, farmers, having relationships through markets. When you go to the farmers market, you have that farm family you want to support.

 

Ashley Smith (06:53)

So it's carried us through so many transitions and changes about that relationship, just bringing folks the chance to have people recognize their farm by name and know what their farm does very clearly and giving them the confidence to repeat it, make mistakes behind the scenes, but have the chance to step forward and expand. So we've worked all kinds of farms and our network traditional to the mission we have to farms outside of our network, like Robin Ridge Farm in County, Savannah, Ben and the girls there. We've been able to be really robust in how we've reached out to the entire Ag industry and sector.

 

Shelby Wade (07:39)

Yeah, that's awesome. And you mentioned there about relationships. Relationships are key. No matter what part of agriculture we're talking about. We consider ourselves a relationship lender. So we really want to build those connections with our customers. It's not just a one. And done. We want to help you throughout your entire farming life, supposedly. And we have grandparents now. We've done business with their kids and their grandkids now. So absolutely, we definitely understand that relationship being key for sure. You mentioned that you work with a bunch of different farms, obviously across the area, a lot of your local and Fade County. Of course, you mentioned Ben and Savannah. Robin obviously out of Bourbon County. So I'm curious what is kind of the furthest reach that you've had, maybe far Eastern Kentucky, far Western. You said you have family roots in Trigon, Hopkins County. Give us a little insight on that.

 

Ashley Smith (08:34)

Okay. I'd say far east would be Laurel, Wayne County. So Wayne Riley and Laurel County and Hudson produce Hudson family down in Wayne County, the furthest west will be McCracken county and George Wilson.

 

Shelby Wade (08:51)

Okay. Yeah. So that's a lot of counties and a lot of ground that you've covered. So that's really exciting to see how far you all have. You really reached so far and really early on. It's relatively new still. So you mentioned there about 2020 being a challenging year, obviously for everyone, but you had to be CEO, COO, C all the OS, so you were doing it all. A lot of things changing. You had people going on farms and really, like in person stuff to then everything has changed. So how did that really affect the organization and how you continue to move. Forward and where we are today.

 

Ashley Smith (09:38)

 Wow 2020, Talk about blinking the eye and everything changes. That was my first year of full time entrepreneurship and also trying to be a stay at home mom, which really pulled me in so many different ways in the first three months of the year were awesome. And being a stay at home mom to having to just go into crisis mode and making split second on the cuff, turning your heel decisions from March 2020 up until really, like earlier this year, coming out of, you know, winter and entering into spring and seeing some hope of the post pandemic life. So obviously throwing away all of those event plans and saying our commitment is to our farmers. So there has to be a vehicle. We use the vents as the vehicle. What is now the opportunity to present their farms to folks now living in our direct community because you remember, like, the grocery store shelves were just venture, just air. There was nothing there. And you see the meat processing constraints, supply and demand, and those price gouging, basically. And then your local small producers fighting to get into those processors to stay true to those households that they source in their local community and abroad, that they're trying to build more market. So 2020 was just trying to consistently remind yourself that you're going to make it, just breathe, keep putting one fit in front of the other because everything just changed so quickly and drastically. But in spite of we were still able to help 51 farm families with the grants. That was with partnership with Community Farm Alliance. So that was around $41,000 that we were able to privately fundraise. We leverage some grant funds that we both were able to secure. We also worked with the Mosaic Foundation, like out west, and we were able to write grants to help farmers get printers, laptops, fix their tractors. There was so much grant money flying through that we had to really harness in and be very strategic and specific. So we were able to really dig deep into this desire to help build and sustain the infrastructure needed for the farms.

 

Cassie Johnson (12:08)

So how did the farms really the farmers, how were they able to come together during the pandemic to be able to provide for the community?

 

Ashley Smith (12:19)

Yeah. So that was also so exciting earlier in 2020, February of that year, we gathered during the local Food Systems Summit and had a working lunch where folks were able to build relationships and coalitions within their region, within their like, I guess like type of farm. So livestock or CSA or you just hold farmland and you're looking for new, young and beginning farmers to work on those farms. And so now with the pandemic was setting in June of that year, we started our CSA program. So again, like a CSA is when your family Shelby says, okay, we have a couple of $100, we can pay it all at once or spread it out across some payments for a payment plan, which there's no shame in that. We love to see farms be able to bring on all types of families by offering the open accessibility for being able to afford it. So you provide this farm family with a couple of $100 upfront, say, March or April, and from there, they're able to get all of their supplies, materials, hire staff, support their families and build up their farms and get prepared to then on the back end when usually it's about twelve to 20 weeks, and that farm family then either comes to your doorstep or you meet them out at a local business. But you get your groceries because they've kept their promise, because you gave them your promise up front. And so this is a practice that is replicated across our communities. And we've seen small rural farm operations be quite successful coming into Lexington through the Black Soil weekly farm share program. So we have a three tiered system. And again, the role that we serve during the pandemic was directly marketing, serving as the bank. So we would receive your transaction and hold your fee for your CSA. And then we pay like that lump sum to the farm family, okay. Because we've again harnessed the power of community and everyone's putting their money into the pot, which helps us all get a better deal. And so we've taken that model, and we did households. The first year, we didn't work with any institutions like workplaces. And now we have eight workplace voucher programs or employers supported CSA models. We've done that. And now we're saying we're going to get back to being behind the scenes and letting that farmer speak directly to their consumer. And that, in our mind, is what self sufficiency looks like. We're coming out of this pandemic, we're coming out of this specialty role that we served, and we did it in spite of, like, being fish out of water. One farmers uses a bushel Peck as their terminology. But this farmer down here is like a case, a bundle. And I'm like, wait, what are you talking about? So the first three months of the five month CSA of our first year was just trying to interpret what everyone was saying, and they've trusted us. And that's the important piece of you trusted us to bring folks onto your land. Now you trust us to be your voice here in the larger markets of here's some information about the farm. You've met them. You've been on their farm. Now, during this time in which the grocery stores are shuttered, farmers markets are getting back up and running. Why don't you come and support directly?

 

Shelby Wade (15:53)

Yeah.

 

Cassie Johnson (15:53)

Now, Besides the farmers markets, you also in the CSA tours. Are you going to plan on doing some tours this year, too?

 

Ashley Smith (16:03)

Yes. So by the time this episode airs, our listeners, we will have already experienced our first one down in LaRue county. So Travis Clever, multi generational farmer, his farm is based in Hart County, but they have their admin offices in LaRue. So that will kick off Memorial Day weekend.

 

Cassie Johnson (16:23)

And what does that all consist of?

 

Ashley Smith (16:25)

And so all of our farm tours are kind of like a template. You get a three course meal that's prepared from a local chef sourced by the farm. In this case, it's a family kind of operation. And so the family was like, I'm offended you didn't ask me to prepare this. And we work with the local extension agents to host the dinner at the office.

 

Shelby Wade (16:47)

Okay.

 

Ashley Smith (16:48)

So in the past, we lugged a U Haul and tables and chairs. I mean, the pandemic helped us realize again what is going to eat up our money and reduce our ability to connect with our consumer because we're so busy about getting it done to. Now fast forward to what they can participate in as our listeners for July 15. So when you come to Miller's Farm in partnership with Central Kentucky Ag Credit, you'll get to meet not only George and Susan Miller of Miller's Farm in Stanford, but you'll get to hear how these small farm families located in these rural communities see agencies like Central Kentucky Ag Credits as ways that they can build up capacity. So Miller's Farm, they've received a grant from your local office which has helped them change how they grow their food on their farm. It also has allowed them to extend out their growing season. And it's also piqued their curiosity of how can we then continue building our relationship. So the purpose of these tours are to connect the local, state and federal organizations, FSA, USDA, Community Farm Alliance, K, Card, all of these agencies that are designed and mission to help not only farmers and agribusinesses, but consumers, too, and helping them understand the role that they play.

 

Shelby Wade (18:17)

I think people oftentimes, whether it's consumers or farmers alike, they don't realize how many of these organizations are really out there, really. But until you start mentioning them on, you'll forget a couple along the way. There are so many groups in Kentucky specifically that are for the farmer and like you said, educating the consumer as well. It's awesome to be able to combine and get all the powers that be and do events like that.

 

Cassie Johnson (18:46)

Central Kentucky Ag Credit has had a relationship with Black Soil for the last couple of years, and we are looking forward to having this with you because what we're hoping to do is to shine light on what all Ag Credit can do for the farmer, for the rural farmer or the urban farmer. And Shelby, we work with the FSA.

 

Shelby Wade (19:11)

The Kentucky Ag Development Board through the Kentucky Ag Finance Corporation. So the Kentucky Ag Finance Corporation is, of course, funded by the Ag Development Board. But yeah, and like you said, Cassie, really, we work with those two organizations specifically as far as their loans are concerned, to get the best deal for that beginning farmer or whether it's building a new maybe high tunnel, maybe they need additional funds for that or whatever it may be. We work with those groups to get it to where the farmer doesn't have to put as much down or get extended terms and all these things. So we really do, like you said, try to really get the best we can for them through these other groups and things like that.

 

Ashley Smith (19:56)

Yeah, it's really exciting and meeting your new leadership, Jonathan, and transitioning and just seeing FSA offer new, flexible loan products that more producers can have eligibility to receive that consideration and creating a robust, well educated, well prepared farmer producer and grower who is ready to take the next step with those loan products. And I think, again, it's a heavy lift to build up that confidence and trust as well as that knowledge that people desperately need around these types of lending opportunities, because it's a very serious commitment.

 

Shelby Wade (20:40)

It is.

 

Ashley Smith (20:40)

It's nothing to play with. And as well as farming is not an easy thing, you just walk up onto the field and there it is. So it's crossing those bridges of the finance and the farming and helping folks understand the place that they can find themselves driving.

 

Cassie Johnson (20:58)

So at our event in July at the Millers, we're going to actually have some loan officers there. We're going to have a table discussion, and we're going to bring in somebody from FSA, somebody from Kentucky Ag finance corporate.

 

Ashley Smith (21:16)

That's right. Yeah. Just really give folks the tools that they need in their toolkit so they can come back again as prepared customers. So you don't have to do so much. But also, it gives folks the right next step.

 

Cassie Johnson (21:32)

And for those that are listening that are wondering about what exactly this is called through Ag Credit, it's actually our Ag Start program. And what you do is you can come in, you can talk to your local loan officer, ask them about the Ag Start program. And it's the program that we utilize to make these connections with these other programs.

 

Shelby Wade (21:55)

Yeah, absolutely. And to kind of combine what you both have said, we're all about grants. Before I come to Ag Credit, I'd actually worked with the Kentucky Ag Finance Corporation and the Ag Development Board. So each office and loan officer and we all have our own connections, but we want the best opportunities for you. So we're going to try to get those getting you in contact with if it's a local sole conservation office to work out a state grant or the county Ag improvement grant through the development office. So lots of things like that, lots of opportunities. And we're going to help connect you all to those as well.

 

Cassie Johnson (22:38)

So, Ashley, if somebody's listening and they want to start having their own CSA and they want to start producing crops and need your help, how can they get involved?

 

Ashley Smith (22:49)

Yes. Well, we invite you to visit BlackSoilKy.com. Just look over our online platform, view some of the products that we've been in retail. You can always reach out to me, Ashley@blacksoilky.com, and then we'll kind of take you through an intake process and learn more about the history, the overview of your farm, how long you've been in business. That's really important to us because that helps inform our approach and strategy. You know, someone who's been farming for 20 years doesn't need the same type of approach or methodology as in five years and under. They're coming with different types of risk, liability as well as experience and resilience. The 20 year farmer has a different level of resilience, not saying it's greater or lesser than, but your five year farmer is still really trying to carve out who they are. Mark that identity in the local food system.

 

Cassie Johnson (23:49)

Now, we've been talking a lot about farmers and vegetables, but we haven't talked about the other aspects because there are other people that sell certain things, like candles and goat soap.

 

Ashley Smith (24:03)

So great value added products. I've always thought of us as a health, beauty and lifestyle. Again, tourism, travel. It's a lifestyle. And people enjoyed coming to our events, our farm tours, because they always left out with this great gift that were these vendors. They sourced these value added products in addition to our vegetables that you can get through our CSA program and come out. We've already gotten started at this point with our weekly farmers market every Saturday from 10:00 a.m. To 02:00 p.m.. You can get fresh farm eggs, Hills of Kindness out of Taylor County. The Thomas family, they're both AG educators and they also have livestock. And he's trying to figure out as a young farmer how to get back into dairy.

 

Cassie Johnson (24:48)

Wow.

 

Ashley Smith (24:49)

Bless it. That's really tough. It's really tough. But it's like, wow, do you dash folks aspirations and their ability to say, I've got the asset of the cattle, the livestock. But the market is just continuously shutting me out. So Coffee Wesley Coffee, Sean Robinson ground and wholebean Flygirl candle. So we love to connect that education. So you can come and do a candlemaking workshop. The next one for this audience would be in September. You can see that on our website as well. You can create a custom candle. Gifted.

 

Shelby Wade (25:27)

Oh, that's cool.

 

Ashley Smith (25:28)

Build up the different scents and notes and then put these pretty nice accessory like flower accutramonts on top of the candle. And then there you go. You have a full candle.

 

Cassie Johnson (25:42)

And where is this farmers market at?

 

Speaker 4 (25:44)

So here in Lexington, Fayette County, you can find us in the North side Loudon and Limestone area, two buildings down from the Greyline Station.

 

Cassie Johnson (25:53)

Okay.

 

Ashley Smith (25:53)

And so the BIA Building Institute Academy used to be our neighbor. We're in 109 and we're in suite 102. So when you pull up on the left hand side of the new Herald Leader building, you'll see a brightly colored yellow banner, and it says Curbside pickup. And that's where you can just come pull into the parking lot and see us. And again, it's really just welcoming vendors and artisans. We've got our products from Honey, a 15 year old beekeeper out of West Louisville. These are great stories.

 

Shelby Wade (26:26)

Oh, yeah.

 

Shelby Wade (26:26)

And it's about positioning them to say, think about it as like a localized Sam's Club. There's someone like there with all kinds of different items, and you can sample and enjoy safely if Sharon Spencer is listening, right?

 

Shelby Wade (26:43)

Yes. And like you said, kind of taking it back just a little bit to the pandemic. And one of the good things that have come out of the pandemic, I know there's not a ton, but is that desire for local we see it everywhere. It doesn't matter where you are in state or even the country. Rather, local food is in high demand and I see that as a great opportunity for any type of farmer, any type of value, anything. You can add value to this right now and it's a great opportunity to get in with black soil and get in maybe to the farmers market or to a CSA program. So definitely reach out to Ashley if you're interested. Maybe even haven't quite started yet, but are thinking about it.

 

Ashley Smith (27:23)

Yes.

 

Shelby Wade (27:24)

You know all the contacts you can help me.

 

Ashley Smith (27:26)

That's right.

 

Cassie Johnson (27:27)

Give them again your contact information one.

 

Ashley Smith (27:29)

More time so you can visit our website at Blacksoilky. com  Ashley@blacksoilky.com.

 

Cassie Johnson (27:44)

Awesome. Well, I really appreciate you taking the time to come in here. It's been a pleasure. We've had plenty of bloopers on the side that nobody out there will listen to you.

 

Ashley Smith (27:54)

You'll never know....

 

Shelby Wade (27:55)

That's right!

 

Cassie Johnson (27:57)

We look forward to having our next podcast coming up here in the next couple of weeks, but until then, please be sure to rate subscribe and share this one with all of your friends and family.

 

Speaker 5 (28:10)

This episode of Beyond Agriculture is brought to you by Central Kentucky AG. Credit thanks for listening to the podcast. Be sure to visit Agcreditonline.com Beyond Agriculture, access the show notes and discover our fantastic bonus content. Also, don't forget to hit the subscribe button so you can join us next time for beyond agriculture.

 

Episode 6 The Vision and Future

 Get to know President/CEO Elect Jonathan Noe and Vice President/Chief Lending Officer Richard Medley as they discuss the current state of Central Kentucky Ag Credit and their vision for the future.

 

Episode 5 Kentucky Beef Checkoff

Join Cassie, Shelby and Patrick as they sit down with Katelyn Hawkins from the Kentucky Beef Council. Katelyn talks about what the cattle producers $2 is used for and everything they do to help promote BEEF in the state of Kentucky. Be sure to join us May 26th at the Madison County Beef Day hosted by Central Kentucky Ag Credit with help from the following sponsors, Madison County Farm Bureau, Madison County Cattlemen's Association, Kentucky Cattlemen's Association, Kentucky Beef Council, Madison County Extension and the Bluegrass Stockyards.

Links from this episode:
https://www.agcreditonline.com
https://kybeef.com
https://kycattle.org
Episode 5 Transcript
Speaker 5 (00:01)

Welcome to Beyond Agriculture, the podcast that takes you beyond the scope of Ag and into the real life stories, conversations and events taking place in our community. Who we are and what we do is beyond agriculture.

 

Cassie Johnson (00:21)

Welcome to Beyond Agriculture. We're so glad to have you on here today with us. I am your co host, Cassie Johnson. I am filling in for Caleb. We have Ms. Shelby Wade from the Paris branch. And we also have a fill in for Tom Zack. Today we have Mr. Patrick Durham from the Lebanon office. We are here today and sitting down with Ms. Katelyn Hawkins to discuss a little bit about the Kentucky Beef Council and everything that they do. Katelyn, thank you so much for coming and being our guest today.

 

Katelyn Hawkins (00:51)

Of course, I'm glad to be here. It's always a great opportunity to talk more about the Ag industry and share my component of it.

 

Cassie Johnson (00:58)

So let's get started a little bit with telling us kind of your background. Where are you from?

 

Katelyn Hawkins (01:04)

I was born and raised in Bullet County, Kentucky. And it's Brooks, which is a truck stop town. It's grown a little bit. So I grew up and on our farm we raised mules, which is a little bit of a curveball for a girl that's in the beef office but love them and I grew up with them and we cut hay in the summer, just like most people do with kind of our neighbors and stuff like that. I helped on the surrounding farms anyway. I could my dad with his friends, things like that, always had a taste for agriculture but wasn't ever really in production agriculture. Went to a Catholic high school, so I didn't have FFA, 4-H, stuff like that, but was still the token ad kid with what I did in my personal time back home with the meals. And then when it came time to go to College, I had my site set on ag, prominent schools like UK, Auburn and places like that. As a lot of kids think they have raised with large animals, my mind was in the vet science world. I really enjoyed science, biology, medical, things like that.

 

Katelyn Hawkins (02:15)

Through coursework in College learned it probably wasn't for me but freshman year of College to travel on somebody else's dollar because I'd never been west of the Mississippi River. And to get to know more people, I joined the meat judging team. Oh, cool. Yeah. Which my friends from high school are like, you do what?

 

Katelyn Hawkins (02:36)

It's fun.

 

Katelyn Hawkins (02:38)

So I learned basically that meat industry and packing plants and what does the quality grade mean? What is marbling? What is the yield grade? Why would someone stay in a cold room all day? And that turned into a passion point for me. So really what I've done in my career and the opportunities that I've had is being able to bridge those gaps between whether it's a mom at the grocery store trying to figure out what to buy for dinner. A farmer who wants to get in the freezer beef and doesn't know how to talk to a processor or a processor that doesn't know how to talk to their customers or bridging some of those communication gaps and finding that sometimes I'd rather stand in a cold room all day than sit at a desk.

 

Cassie Johnson (03:21)

Understandable So how did you get from judging me to the job that you have now?

 

Katelyn Hawkins (03:27)

So I've always kind of had my eye on KCA. I mean, they're very influential in the beef industry across the nation, but they always have much like different organizations like AG credits the farmer in the forefront. So it was an opportunity in grad school when I was there that I got to do some work with Alison Smith. And if, you know the Kentucky Beef Council, you should know Alison Smith because she is an icon. And I had to explain to her what an OG was one time because I call her the OG. So I got to work with her and help with some of the trainings that she was doing in the UK Meats Lab because I was a grad student under Dr. Renfro studying technically, it's Animal and Food Sciences because there's not a meat science track of its own. So I got exposed a little bit of what KCA and particularly the Kentucky Beef Council did to where when they were looking to hire a consumer affairs position for the Kentucky Beef Council, I took her to Dr. Renfro and said, I know you've worked with them for a number of years. What would I be getting myself into? And he's like, It's diversified. You'll learn a lot of different things. You really get an opportunity to work with farm families. You really get an opportunity to work with the industry. So I applied. And at that time, from what I've been told, that there was an opportunity to even diversify that role. So really they put a call out for one role, but it split into three. So there were three of us hired at the same time, myself, and then Nikki Ellis, who did education, and Kya Twitzelman, who did more really the consumer affairs role and kind of that marketing piece. So my title, which I think we can all agree that titles, sometimes they are just something you write on a business card. Right, because you get into a lot of different things. But my title is director of Product marketing. So really what I do a lot of is still talking about the technical meat side of things. But what I've done over the past years is really honed in that opportunity to help people feel more comfortable in the kitchen. I grew up love cooking. My mom was 100% Italian. Her parents came over with their parents, and the kitchen was always the heart of the home. So very much when it's a great opportunity to be on the Gourmet garden cooking stage at state fair and doing a beef demo or TV or events at a County Cattlemen's Association meeting showcasing what the check off does, working with family consumer science, 4-H any time I get in the kitchen. So it's essentially an opportunity to talk about beef in every aspect.

 

Shelby Wade (05:59)

Absolutely. When I was in College as well, I got to take one of Dr. Renfro's classes regarding the meat science, and I loved it as well. That was just a super cool class. I was kind of like you. Maybe at one point I thought I was going to go down the vet route.

 

Katelyn Hawkins (06:13)

Yeah.

 

Shelby Wade (06:13)

And then I really did like that the meat science part of it. I decided to go the Econ route.

 

Katelyn Hawkins (06:18)

I'll tell you, I wish I would have taken more AG Econ classes in the role than I am now, because as the office has grown and expanded and we created Beef Solutions as an LLC. So I do a lot of work with the Kentucky Cattlemen's ground beef product. I really wish I would have had some Ag Econ Classes under my belt.

 

Patrick Durham (06:36)

Katelyn, with your position with the Kentucky Beef Council, I think something that's very important that a lot of farmers ask a lot of questions because myself personally, I came from the livestock background, livestock marketing, working in stockyards across Kentucky. One of the questions I often heard a lot of farmers, the beef check off.

 

Katelyn Hawkins (06:58)

Right.

 

Patrick Durham (06:59)

Anytime an entity takes a dollar out of a farmer's pocket, they want to know where that money goes.

 

Katelyn Hawkins (07:05)

Correct.

 

Patrick Durham (07:06)

And I spent a lot of time explaining where that money went and what it was used for. Can you kind of explain and then go into some of those details what those dollars are spent for?

 

Katelyn Hawkins (07:17)

Of course, it's a wonderful question, because you're right. You see those deductions at the stockyard on your check or if it's private treaty or wherever it is, and you want to know where are these going to? So in Kentucky, we have a $2 ahead check off. So we did just have the federal or the national $1. Then we adopted the state check offs, and now we have two. So a $1.50 stays within Kentucky for us to utilize in the realms of marketing, promotion, advertising, research, education. And then $0.50 goes to Cattlemen's Beef Board from the national funds pool. And then they're contractors to the beef board, such as National Cattleman's Beef Association, which is a lot of the "Beef, it's what's for dinner" branding work. American Farm Bureau is a contractor. North American Meat Association, North American Meat Institute. Naomi is a contractor. But here in Kentucky, what we're utilizing those check off funds for is when you really boil it down, it's the promotion of beef, and it's getting people to understand and choose beef as a protein in their families meal times. So it's an opportunity to invest those dollars with different sponsorships, whether that be through regional opportunities, like we invested some of our state check off dollars within the Beef 300, which is a NASCAR race that was developed that a lot of different regional States put money into to where we could position beef in a spotlight through mainstream TV that hadn't been before and with an audience that is very protein heavy. So help beef be the protein that they're choosing. We do partnerships with even on the level of how do you talk to youth about beef? How do you lay that foundation as to, okay, when I grow up and it's my turn to Cook or my mom sends me to the grocery store to pick something up, it's overwhelming. Like what is there? So we do interactions with I'm talking all the way down from kindergarten, all the way up to College or even adult education, helping people not only feel comfortable with beef and cooking, it because you can burn things real quick. I like to tell everybody can Cook, but not everybody feels comfortable. So it's bridging that gap and getting them there. And it's the opportunity to when they go into a grocery store or when they go to a farmers market or they're working and wanting for the first time to buy freezer beef, how do they navigate those waters all the way from the cuts? Because there's a lot of them. The beef industry over the years have made a lot of different beef retail cuts. But it's packaging, too. So you have vacuum sealed packaging. And why is that? What are the benefits of it? Over wrapped trays, which that Styrofoam tray. How long is this going to stay in my fridge or my freezer all the way down to we look at opportunities to advertise beef, yes, in the traditional markets such as TV and radio, but in these new nontraditional markets, like podcasts, like we're doing right now or Facebook or anything digital, making sure that beef has a prominent presence everywhere you turn around, we can all agree to this. When you go to events, you like to have something to take home, right? Because it's fun, you got cool things. But there's strategy behind all of those promo items. From a business perspective, I'm not just going to buy random balloons. Right, because how's that going to sell beef, but we'll invest in pot holders that have beef. It's for dinner on them. Because when you go to use that at home. Well, our brand is right there. So it's like that kind of subliminal messaging almost. We find opportunities to do partnerships within the industry in the vein of research. So one of the things that we've looked at previously is putting some dollars into some of those federal research projects or national research projects around nutrition. Beef gets kind of a bad rap oftentimes, right? I mean, it's red meat, it's heavy grilled, it's carcinogens, it's all these things. But when you take a step back and you really look at the nutritional value. A three ounce portion of beef gives you 25 grams of protein and ten essential vitamins and nutrients. Most daily value of protein that you're going to get recommended is 50 grams. So that's half your daily value of protein. Those ten essential vitamins and nutrients are iron selenium, like all the things that you're going to need to function your body in general, but even keep brain health. I know there's a lot of misconceptions around. Well, is it heart healthy? Beef can be heart healthy. There are cuts of beef that have been certified by the American Heart Association. A lot of them are from the Sirloin, but regardless, it has a place right now, one of the things that we're addressing and looking at is beef in the early years. So how do you, with children, start incorporating some of that beef into their diet to lay the nutrient foundation that they need as their bodies grow and expand? So we utilize those funds. And we're very diligent about the funds because, let's be honest, I told you, my family raises mules. We don't raise cattle. So these funds, they're not mine because they're the check off pool. But my family didn't necessarily contribute to that. So we take to heart all of the investments because we know we have the pleasure and the opportunity of working on behalf of the entire beef industry, and we want to make sure that we're investing those dollars to things that will give back to the beef industry in the long run.

 

Shelby Wade (12:34)

And I think you all do a great job, whether it's you out at events or some of your coworkers, anything that's involving agriculture. There's a beef booth there. And like you said, those giveaways a potholder. That's something that's not going to be thrown away. That's something that we use in any kitchen. So I love that idea for having potholder. And I've even seen maybe like pizza cutters and just all kinds of useful stuff that you guys have had.

 

Katelyn Hawkins (13:00)

Yeah. You got to get something they're going to keep using because I go to events and I throw away a lot of promo items that are in bags, but the good ones stick around.

 

Shelby Wade (13:08)

That's right.

 

Patrick Durham (13:10)

I had the opportunity years ago to go through the Kentucky Beef Cattle Leadership Conference. Wonderful leadership deal.

 

Katelyn Hawkins (13:18)

Yes.

 

Patrick Durham (13:18)

And one of the things that came from that, we spent some time in Chicago, and it was about the time that they came out with the Flatiron state.

 

Katelyn Hawkins (13:28)

Yeah.

 

Patrick Durham (13:29)

Well, I didn't realize the beef check off that helped develop those cuts and what not. We were actually in when they were doing some of those testing phases to see what those cuts were going to do. And I came away from that knowing, hey, this check off thing, it's really helping. It's developing new cuts, new ideas, promos and everything that you said. It's a great program.

 

Katelyn Hawkins (13:55)

It's an opportunity, too, because it's one thing to develop a new cut, right, or product or whatever have you, but it's another thing to then empower people to utilize it. So it becomes check off opportunity to get with those retail stores or restaurants or sales staff at whatever outlet it is distributors to help them understand the different cuts of beef. How do they answer questions for their customers? Alison Smith on our staff, she has a wonderful program with Bluegrass Hospitality Group, which is Malone's. They own those brands, Drakes, things like that. It's a waste of training. So they expect their employees to be able to answer questions about menu items. We as a beef industry, our first line of defense is someone that is selling the product. So it's the white staff, it's the butchers, it's the people that stock the shelves. So how do we get on their level and help them feel comfortable and confident in the product that's coming to them, that it's a farm family behind everything, whether you're buying beef from a farmer's market, a grocery store, a restaurant, there's a farmer and a family and a face behind everything. So I think now and a lot of this, it's always been the push. But I think the conversation around local has really driven this home in a lot of aspects is how do we tell the beef story effectively and how do we keep a farmer and his family or her family and whether they're a first generation or a multi-generation, help people resonate with that because it's just people talking to people at the end of the day and not everybody is comfortable putting their life on social media and that's perfect. But a simple conversation at the airport or the grocery store or the gas station can impact a consumer miles beyond what you think it can.

 

Cassie Johnson (15:49)

What are some ways that maybe as farmers we can talk to the community or when we get in one of those conversations.

 

Katelyn Hawkins (15:57)

That's a great question. I will say I am not a bashful person. So if I'm at the grocery store doing my weekly grocery run and I hear some people questioning, well, should I get this cut for this? I will totally jump in and give my two cent, which not everybody is crafted like that. But I think one of the greatest things is speak from what you do know. And it's very easy depending on how the conversation is going or how the person may be approached you because they can be harsh and argumentative. And I don't want to say uneducated, misinformed, misinformed. They may be misinformed. So it's oftentimes taking a breath before we jump in and remembering that they don't know a lot of things. You don't know what you don't know. So it's sharing your story with them, whether it's, well, I heard that beef is bad for you. Well, did you know that beef can be heart healthy? And if you don't know the facts, that's fine. You don't have to rattle off all these statistics and all the grams of protein, but it's understanding maybe where you can direct them to get resources.

 

Katelyn Hawkins (17:04)

So Kybeef.com is our website that we utilize. We update it with all sorts of different resources, whether it's recipes, whether it's content around sustainability, because that's a real big buzzword. But everybody has a different definition of it depending on what you're talking about, anything around the sun. So using Kybeef.com is a resource. Using Beef, it's for dinner as a resource or I think even if you're comfortable with this, showing them a little bit about what you do, whether that's a quick photo, you may have cows on your phone, whether that's if they're part of a community organization and they're looking for a field trip opportunity and you feel comfortable having them on your farm. Now, not everybody is comfortable with things like that. But it's just, I think, taking a moment to listen most importantly as to what their concerns are, what their questions are, and helping them understand that it's not all factory farming. It's not all bad agriculture. It's a community that will sacrifice itself oftentimes for its neighbor, and that will come to bat in times of need for each other. Kentucky, we're really fortunate. And when we go to conferences or we talk to other States, we forget how fortunate we are that agriculture in general is very strong in our state.

 

Katelyn Hawkins (18:20)

And yes, I may work for the beef industry and that commodity, but I also do some work with soybean and corn growers and pork, poultry and farm Bureau and things like that, because as a community, we have to work together to push agriculture forward. And I think as a consumer, even with my friends, they have a lot of questions. And I was talking to somebody on Monday and they were like, well, you must not like chicken or pork. And like I mean, I purchased it as a consumer. Do I like beef better? Yes, let's be real. But everything has a place. And as agriculture, we work together to get down the road further. And bacon is pretty good on cheeseburger, but I still want that cheeseburger to be the main focus.

 

Shelby Wade (19:07)

That's right. They go together hand in hand, right? Yeah. One thing you were mentioning in there was about the drive for local these days. And one of the positives, if any, that come out of covet that local drive for whatever it is, local shopping. Of course, it's no secret that we're dealing with some economic times. Inflation is pretty high. And of course, beef your highest. Usually your most expensive product. Right. So where do you see that as far as being a challenge currently amongst for consumers and also for farmers alike who are selling their products?

 

Katelyn Hawkins (19:42)

It sounds cliche to say we're in unprecedented times, but we're in this weird spot right now. Whether no matter what you believe or what your thoughts are on certain things. We can all agree that things are different than they were. And I think the opportunity for beef as yes, we do see retail prices are different than they were. Our opportunity then becomes to help consumers see how crafty they can get with our product. So it's helping them understand more. Okay. I typically like a Porterhouse. That's really great. But maybe my grocery store doesn't have it. Or maybe I had to spend more on diapers, formula, vegetables, whatever. Gas. We had a whole conversation around gas before we started this podcast. So okay, if you like Porterhouse, we'll have you considered maybe a strip steak, still a premium cut of beef if you want to go there, but oftentimes not as expensive as a Porterhouse, but a large portion of the Porterhouse is the strip steak. So kind of connecting those dots with them or. Well, I typically like this certain cut, whatever that is. How can we swap that out? How can we help you understand how to batch Cook or how do you understand that the seasonality of things. So we're going into summer grilling season. So ground beef and steaks really super popular, right? Roast not so much. So maybe they're priced lower than you typically would see them in the fall. So that's a great time to purchase them. Put them in your freezer if you got a freezer space.

 

Cassie Johnson (21:10)

Right.

 

Katelyn Hawkins (21:11)

Stocking up, buying in bulk. A lot of times you can see some price breaks when you're buying in bulk, whether that's at the grocery store or whether that's with a farm family that you're buying direct from. A lot of farm families we're seeing are making bundle boxes. So that also exposes people to different cuts of beef that maybe they wouldn't have seen before. It's being able to capitalize on this trend that we're seeing. Prices are getting higher, but people through COVID, they had to learn how to Cook. Again, I think all of us in agriculture can agree. None of us took a day off, but consumers, a lot of them sheltered in place. Right. They shuttered down. They transitioned to working from home, things like that. They just didn't get out like they did. So we see the trend that people are going to continue to Cook. Yes. They're going back to the restaurants as they should. That's great. We sell beef there too. So how do we keep them captivated by our protein, but give them the tools to be successful with it. So they keep putting it in their grocery cart as the grocery store cart continues to get higher and higher.

 

Cassie Johnson (22:11)

Now we obviously are having you on because May is Beef month and we wanted to get you on before we got into June too far. So what are some promotions that are going on for the Kentucky Cattlemens that you guys involved with? I know that Ag Credit is going to have the Madison County Beef Day we'll be there May 26. We're going to be serving free burgers for everybody in a drive through fashion. And we have Bourbon County is doing a Beef Day also on Friday, May 20. And we're going to be there representing. So what other events maybe that some people can join in on?

 

Katelyn Hawkins (22:50)

Yes. So May is Beef month. It's Beef Month, not only Kentucky, but nationally, but every month is beef month. Let's be real. I have to be cliche. Come on. You got to strike by the iron tot. But for Beef Month with the Kentucky Beef Council, we really like to maximize on that theme, not only with events that are going on. So if you're hosting an event and there's still plenty of time to host events for Beef Month, we can put together boxes that have cut charts or maybe some license plates or some recipe cards, things like that for you to utilize at your community events. Let us know about the event. We would love to either. If we can't make it on site. We'd love to still promote it through our social channels, things like that. We seek opportunities to do radio and TV and get out in the community, stuff like that so we can vocalize that voice of beef is healthy. Beef is great. Summer grilling's coming. Get ready for grilling season. Here's some quick tips on grilling beef. Here's some quick tips on grilling in general. But we like to have fun, too, and give back. So we will be hosting a giveaway on our website. That is a grill. Yes, it's a Weber Grill. You should all enter everyone in this room except me because I can't win because I work there. But everyone that's listening, too. So go to Kybeef.com. We are giving away a Weber grill, which is exciting. We also are doing some smaller giveaways on our social. So @KyBeef on Instagram Facebook, we'll be doing some smaller giveaways, too. That's getting you ready for grilling season, like aprons and tongs and things like that, T shirts because not thongs tongs.

 

Katelyn Hawkins (24:24)

Yes.

 

Katelyn Hawkins (24:31)

It's an opportunity to get people excited about beef and excited about grilling. For Beef month, we also have some featured highlighted recipes that we're promoting now. We promote a lot of different recipes all year round. There's tons of them @kybeef.com. But for Beef Month, specifically, when we're doing events or we're doing TV, radio, what we've been focusing on is a chimichurri marinated strip steak. It's real good, y'all. Sounds delicious. Real simple to make, too. So fresh ingredients. A lot of people either have put gardens in or a planting garden. So it's a great way to utilize some of those fresh herbs. We've got a farmer's market salad that it's not a lettuce based salad, like a lot of salads. You think maybe it's a Brown rice based salad with garbanzo beans and I think red Bell peppers, squash and asparagus with a nice cut of beef on top of it. So how do you integrate a lot of color into your plate if you kind of see this theme of color and beef and a nice vibrant plate that you're going to be putting in front of your families? And then we also have these two bite burgers that we're promoting.

 

Katelyn Hawkins (25:36)

So I saw those eyes get really big over there. Shelby. Yeah. I'm all about the burger. It's a nice slider component, but it's got three variations of a slider on it. So kind of testing the waters on your taste buds and getting you excited about burgers can be more than just ketchup, mustard and cheese and tomatoes. So there's a lot of different flavors you can pair with beef. And when we pick Beef Month recipes, we like to have a classic like a burger, because everybody feels safe with a burger. Everybody feels safe with a good whole muscle cut like a steak. So that strip steak chimichurri. But we want you to get creative and understand that beef takes on all sorts of different flavors. One of the simplest marinades that you can do at home is a bottle of Italian dressing and a cut of beef. And if you want to get a little jazzy and make it more Mexican theme, put some chili powder in there. There's no harm in using a premade marinade. There's no harm in using a premade spice blend. There's no harm in because I'm guilty of this all the time.

 

Katelyn Hawkins (26:32)

I will get home after a long day, a spoonful, peanut butter while I'm trying to figure out what I'm going to Cook. So when we do some trainings with beef, we do our version of chopped, where we give people here's some ingredients, make something out of it. It gets them excited because they get some hands on at first. They're like, oh, what am I going to do with all these random things? But it's an opportunity to get people excited around cooking and get them excited around beef, which gives them opportunity to come back for more.

 

Patrick Durham (27:04)

I have to say, I picked a really bad day not to stop and get lunch before I came in.

 

Katelyn Hawkins (27:09)

I didn't eat lunch either.

 

Patrick Durham (27:11)

Thanks for making me really hungry. On that note, now there is a website that you all have that people can go get these recipes before we leave the day. I think you need to share that, Kybeef.com. Yeah, Kybeef.com. Also, a lot of people listening that maybe is not familiar. They can go to that website or check in with your local extension office, check out the local farmers market. I know those guys. As long as with you all do a lot of work with them, the beef samples at a lot of farmers markets, people grilling check those out with recipes and all that stuff. They do a great job promoting as well.

 

Katelyn Hawkins (27:56)

100%. I mean, it's that network of you can't be everywhere all the time. So it's an opportunity to engage with extension or different organizations because we're helping each other. Agriculture is all about that community. So you're spoton there's. A lot of those Ag agents have gone through some of our trainings, and the extension offices have most of our resources, like the cut charts, the recipes. They know how to directly get a hold of us, things like that. But all of our contact information can be found @kybeef.com. We are a part of the Kentucky Cattlemen Association. I mean, there's firewalls, don't get me wrong, as far as funds go and things like that. But if you Google the Kentucky Cattleman Association office and you call that office and you want to talk about the check off, they'll direct you to one of us that works directly with the check off so we can answer all your questions, concerns, things like that. We love to be a resource for everyone. We particularly love to be a resource for the farmers because at the end of the day, it's your dollars that we're utilizing and we want to make sure that we're spending them in fashions that are going to benefit you.

 

Cassie Johnson (28:59)

So how can the farmers be more involved with the Kentucky Beef Council?

 

Katelyn Hawkins (29:04)

It's a great question, and I think really the best thing to do is share your story. Like I said earlier, whether that is on social media or whether that is just a casual conversation at the gas pump, because we're all working towards a common goal of increasing the demand for beef. Other opportunities become we do like to highlight the farm families, whether that be through some of our advertising campaigns, whether that be through some of the trainings that we do on farm. So if you would love to be a part of something like that or you feel comfortable being featured in some of those things, let us know, because we're always looking for new and exciting opportunities to showcase farm families. But we're also looking for opportunities to showcase different facets of the beef industry, whether that is a cowcalf operation, a backgrounding operation, whether you do grass finished grain finish, whether you're a stockyard, whether you're a person that owns a restaurant and you serve beef like all facets of the beef industry. This year's, I didn't mention this and I should have. I can't believe I didn't. But this year's Beef Month theme is #MyKybeefstory.

 

Katelyn Hawkins (30:16)

So it's very much around sharing that beef industry story all the way from the farmer to the chef and everything in between to the consumer as well. Because it is as an industry, we're so much reliant on other people to showcase our products because we raise it right, like we start everything, but then it's got to go through so many other hands that together we have to showcase this story and help people feel confident around not only agriculture, but feel confident within beef, too.

 

Cassie Johnson (30:49)

And that's a really great point that you made. Because I think that everybody loves to hear a story from the time that we're kids to the time that we're 80 years old. We want to know your story. And especially, like you said, with COVID and how that changed everybody's perspective. You know, when the shelves were bare at the grocery store and we didn't know where we were going to get our meat, we started selling beef off the farm at that point because we wanted to have some sort of additional income. And all people want to do is just know your story. They want to know about who you are, what you do and with the way that the cattle industry is and with the way that the markets are, any little thing that a farmer can do to help promote beef and farming in a positive light, to help let these people know what we do out here and how we do it is not always shed in the most positive light. And this is the true story.

 

Katelyn Hawkins (31:49)

It is. Honestly, it's beyond just the city people, because I grew up in a rural area and I had friends that had no concept of agriculture farming beef. They definitely didn't know mules. So it's helping just even your communities understand in your counties and things like that. I think oftentimes in the agriculture industry, we take for granted and we think, well, they should just know, but they don't know. And they're served so many opportunities to get misinformation everywhere you took turn around radio, TV, Google blogs in school, you're taught well, Wikipedia is not a verified resource. And you're so frustrated in those moments. Right. But now in my career, I'm like, man, I'm really glad Wikipedia is not a verified resource. Or you can't call a student can't use that in a term paper because it can be edited by so many people. So really, content that's delivered to people can be edited by so many people that we as agriculture have to be willing and confident to put ourselves out there to say, okay, I understand you're saying that. However, let's talk about the reality of what's going on here. If you're having those moments of doubt as far as how do I share my story, how do I go about this?

 

Katelyn Hawkins (33:16)

What materials or tools are provided out there? Give us a call, because we will help you understand where your resources are. We're here to help each other. Next week, May 19, for Kentucky Beef Council, we're going to be hosting a Beef Advocacy Training out of the Bluegrass Stockyards in the Yards classroom as a centralized location. So if you're interested in going through something like that, visit Kybeef.com. All the information is there to sign up. I know I mentioned that we do trainings with retail and things like that, but we've got resources for you. If you're selling freezer beef or if you own a local grocery store, things like that, cut charts, recipes, if you own a Butcher shop and you just want to have some materials on hand. We've got some infographics that are three simple steps to grilling, three simple steps to skillet cooking, things like that that you can have at your fingertips when you get those questions. Because I guarantee that if you're selling beef off of your farm, at a farmer's market or wherever, someone is going to ask you at some point, how do I cook this or what do I do with this cut of beef?

 

Katelyn Hawkins (34:25)

Because maybe they're looking for a cut of beef that you don't have, but you got something else. So we have infographics on stake swaps. Even if you don't hand that to someone, you have that knowledge and you feel confident in answering a lot of those questions. All of these tools and materials and things like that were created with those check off dollars. Whether they were created by our staff with Kentucky check off dollars or they were created with national check off dollars, they are yours to utilize.

 

Shelby Wade (34:52)

That's great to know and great information. I have viewed those myself, and it really is just wonderful information. And like I said, it's so easy to follow and it's great to have to pass out to customers or whatever. Really easy and really simple. My personal favorite is the pairing of wine with beef. That was my favorite.

 

Katelyn Hawkins (35:13)

But I talked about that last week at a Derby festival event.

 

Shelby Wade (35:16)

Yes.

 

Katelyn Hawkins (35:17)

And that goes to show you, like I feel on the vein of beef and wine. I think there's this misconception that beef has to just be paired with. It's a ribeye steak with a really bold, hearty red wine. No, that's not true. Not everybody loves red wine. Not everybody loves wine at all. But you can have a nice Thai salad with a white wine. You can have a steak salad with a rose. You can pair beer and beef. You can pair bourbon and beef. You can pair. I mean, I told you to put Italian salad dressing with a steak and a marinade. There's a lot of possibilities out there, ladies and gentlemen. Yeah.

 

Cassie Johnson (35:55)

Well, Katetlyn, it has been an absolute pleasure to have you with us today on Beyond Agriculture. Again, May 19, Katelyn will be out at the Bluegrass Stockyards in Lexington.

 

Katelyn Hawkins (36:06)

Yes, we're doing that beef advocacy training, so our staff will be out there. If you got your cow country news.

 

Cassie Johnson (36:13)

Then look for the Ag Credit ad on the back page.

 

Katelyn Hawkins (36:16)

I love it. Yes. And you can also find the calendar of events that we're going to be at for the month of May. We are continuing to add events. So also follow us on social media and you can track where we're going.

 

Cassie Johnson (36:29)

Wonderful. And be sure to look for the Ag credit tent at the Bourbon County Beef Day, May 20. And then if you guys are down in Madison County area around May 26, be sure to check us out at the Ag credit building. We're going to be doing a drive through where we'll be serving free Kentucky Cattlemen's hamburgers. We'll have the Kentucky Beef Council there. We'll have Farm Bureau bluegrass stockyards and I hope I'm not missing any of the other sponsors but it's an awesome event and we look forward to seeing you, Katelyn again. Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy month and stopping in at a credit to talk to us today anytime.

 

Katelyn Hawkins (37:08)

We always have time. If there's questions or if you guys want to know anything, I just really like to talk to people so anytime.

 

Cassie Johnson (37:16)

Thanks for listening to Beyond Agriculture. Be sure to like subscribe and share our podcast with all your family and friends. We'll see you guys next time.

 

Speaker 5 (37:25)

This episode of Beyond Agriculture is brought to you by Central Kentucky Aggress. Thanks for listening to the podcast. Be sure to visit Agreditonline.com Beyond Agriculture access the show notes and discover our fantastic bonus content. Also don't forget to hit the subscribe button so you can join us next time for beyond agriculture.

Episode 4 Question Persuade and Refer

 

May is Beef Month but it is also Mental Health Awareness Month. That is one of the reasons why we have Savannah Robin on as our guest. Ag Credit is focusing our efforts on knowing how to help when we are approached by someone struggling. In Episode 4 we talk with Savannah about serving as an ag community member through the Southeast Center for Agriculture Health and Injury Prevention. After the podcast Savannah is going to sit down with staff and go through QPR training. She will teach them how to understand signs and symptoms to look for to allow Ag Credit employees to be aware of mental health problems and how to provide referrals to that person. QPR stands for Question Persuade and Refer.

We also take time to talk with Savannah about all the hats she wears as a mom, wife and career woman. Join us in Episode 4 of Beyond Agriculture. 

Transcript of Episode 4
Caleb Sadler (00:01)

Welcome to Beyond Agriculture, the podcast that takes you beyond the scope of AG and into the real life stories, conversations, and events taking place in our community. Who we are and what we do is beyond agriculture. Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of Beyond Agriculture. This is Caleb Sadler speaking here. I've got Tom Zack Evans on with me here and a guest with us, Savannah Robin, and of course, the man behind the scenes, Ben Robin with us on as well. Savannah, we're going to get started and just kind of open it up for a little bit of discussion with you. And how about you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do and we'll go from there?

 

Savannah Robin (00:48)

Yes. Thank you guys so much for having me. My name is Savannah Robin. I am a native of Louisville, Kentucky originally, and now I reside in Bourbon County and live in Paris with my husband and our wonderful girls. We've got three kids, two little ones, six and eight. And then we have a 17. We just turned 18 year old.

 

Tom Zack Evans (01:07)

So, Savannah, I also know that you all have quite the extensive farm operation going on out there. Can you tell us something about that?

 

Savannah Robin (01:15)

Yeah. So Ben and I, along with our girls, have 70 acres that we raise beef cattle on. And we have a retail meat business. So we have Robin Ridge Farms. And so we have commercial cattle and registered cattle as well. But we primarily source our animals for our meat business at this time. We also raise cut flowers. And our girls are involved in a bunch of different endeavors. We've got a handful of sheep and some goats and donkeys and all kinds of other little critters.

 

Caleb Sadler (01:43)

I forgot about the donkey.

 

Savannah Robin (01:45)

Oh, Andi will not let you forget much longer. Now we have two. So he has a best friend.

 

Caleb Sadler (01:50)

That's awesome.

 

Tom Zack Evans (01:51)

Yeah.

 

Tom Zack Evans (01:51)

And after owning sheep, I know they can be very labor intensive between trimming feet and shearing the wool and just keeping the sheep alive, period.

 

Caleb Sadler (02:00)

Now, Ben on our first episode gave some insight that you are a potentially going to show some goats this year.

 

Savannah Robin (02:06)

Yes.

 

Caleb Sadler (02:06)

Tell us a little bit about that. What are you looking forward to? I mean, which child?

 

Savannah Robin (02:11)

It's Finley.

 

Caleb Sadler (02:12)

Okay.

 

Savannah Robin (02:12)

Finley has been a goat girl for the last three years. And a couple of years ago, when Andi got Sammy for Christmas, the donkey, Finley got a couple of little goats and we didn't know if it was going to pass. So we thought we'll just test it out with these little dwarfs. And if she still loves them, we'll invest and it's not gone away. She has been so addicted. So now she has Ruthy Jane, which is her little goat. And she wanted a doe so she could breed it. She wants to go on that end instead of the market side. So she's hopefully we'll hit a couple of shows this summer and just kind of get in that world. I come from a horse showing, so I don't know much about showing livestock on the other end.

 

Caleb Sadler (02:49)

And I can tell you this from my perspective. I'm sure, Tom Zack,  can tell you, too. But when you raise your own and you show your own livestock, it means a lot more. At the end of the day, when you walk in the ring or you walk out of the ring, it don't matter if your first or last just from the standpoint that you raised whatever you brought to that show. That means a lot. At the end of the day.

 

Tom Zack Evans (03:08)

You mentioned the horses. I remember seeing some pictures a while back of you with the quarter horses, and you were President of the Associate. Tell us about that.

 

Savannah Robin (03:19)

Yeah. So I grew up showing quarter horses as a kid and grew up in Equine Four H and Horse Four H. And we got really involved in the American Quarter Horse Association. And so my freshman year of College was the national youth President for AQHA.

 

Tom Zack Evans (03:33)

Wow.

 

Savannah Robin (03:33)

I got to travel around and advocate for the breed and just the importance of the equine industry as a whole.

 

Tom Zack Evans (03:39)

So what's a funny story about the lamb or the sheep.

 

Ben Robin (03:43)

You have to tell that.

 

Savannah Robin (03:44)

Yeah. Well, I guess kind of starting out with that. All of our girls have their own business endeavors. So Andi decided she was going to have sheep. And we said, if you earn your own money and you raise enough to buy it, then that's fine. So she decided to make biscuits and sell biscuits. And she sold enough biscuits, Baby Jane's Biscuits to buy her sheep,  which she in turn named Biscuit. And so one day we were driving home, and it was right before Easter, and Finley was just reflecting on the time and the sacrifice that Jesus made. And she looked over at Andi and she said, I'm sure glad that Jesus died for our sins so that we don't have to put Biscuit up on the altar.

 

Caleb Sadler (04:28)

So you were talking there, too, and that kind of feed off that a little bit. What other endeavors are your kids involved in? Because I know the oldest. She does hand soap, if I remember correctly.

 

Savannah Robin (04:40)

Yes. So Lexi is our senior in high school. She's getting ready to graduate. She's going to UK, and we're so proud of her. But she has her own business called Eden Soaps. And so she has been able and Eden, being the Garden of Eden and bringing in the purity of things. She's really empowered by social justice and change. So she's been working with some organizations and parts of her proceeds of her soap sales go to Refuge for Women, which is an organization for women who have been exploited, and then other soap sales go towards Black Soil, Kentucky. So an organization for promoting the growth of black farmers in Kentucky, which is incredible. So she does a lot of that, too.

 

Caleb Sadler (05:19)

And I do know that is another area that Central Kentucky aggregate really sponsors and really looks out for as well, too. I know you work at the University of Kentucky. Tell us a little bit about what you do there and we'll kind of feed off that.

 

Savannah Robin (05:32)

Yeah. So I'm an agriculture teacher by trade. I originally went to College to be in a high school AG teacher, and I did that for a number of years, most recently in Harrison County. So my training is a career in technical education. I have been at the University of Kentucky now, though, going on four years, which is really hard to believe. And in that position, I serve as the internship coordinator and manage career development for students within the Equine Science and Management undergraduate program. So we have over 300 kids.

 

Tom Zack Evans (06:01)

That's a big, long title. Can you break that down a little bit for us and explain kind of what that means?

 

Savannah Robin (06:07)

Yes. So in my position, I am responsible for helping our students really figure out their career path. So thinking through what is their role and responsibility. The equine industry in Kentucky is very broad, but we really focus on who students are. So I get them as freshmen and we take an equine careers class. We start thinking through who they are, what their personal mission statement is, and start really helping them identify what their strengths are, their values, and then how that determines what they should do with the rest of their life. So the career development process and journey is ever evolving, and it's not just looking for a job that you need, but it's really helping students identify that path. So that's one piece. And so I build them as freshmen. We start identifying different things, and then we kind of evolve through their undergraduate career. And a part of our program is an internship requirement. And so our students do a rigorous internship experience, and throughout that process, they do another series of career development pieces with that. So I manage the courses within that, teach at the University and then help come back in their Capstone class and help them prepare for jobs and careers once they're ready to apply.

 

Caleb Sadler (07:14)

So needless to say that you have a big influence on kids and the youth, not just in your current role right now, but previously, as well as an Ag educator before that.

 

Ben Robin (07:25)

And there's a lot of students in the equine programs at UK, right? I mean, it's a pretty big yes.

 

Savannah Robin (07:30)

We have close to 300. So we're one of the largest undergrad programs since then, the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. And 80% of our students are from out of state. So a lot of the students come to Central Kentucky for the equine industry specifically.

 

Caleb Sadler (07:44)

Now, do you all have the farms around here in Central Kentucky? Do they reach out to you all in regards to the intern program about maybe taking students, or do you just have, like a group of farms that are in the wheelhouse that you all refer kids to at that point in time?

 

Savannah Robin (07:57)

A little bit of both part of the knowing the students and what their capacity and capabilities are comes into that when we figure out where we recommend them go. But even their freshman year, we make them job shadow. I encourage them to job shadow, require it, and we encourage them to go out to different places and see different experiences. But I have employer relations with tons of the different farms, the different employers, the different feed, meals companies, anything that has to do with supporting the ecommerce industry to generate an opportunity for students to really expose them to what different types of careers exist within the industry and also within agriculture in general in Kentucky.

 

Tom Zack Evans (08:39)

Does this encompass all types of equines, such as quarter horses, thoroughbreds, Hunter jumpers, Budweiser Clydesdales?

 

Savannah Robin (08:49)

We actually just posted a job for the Budweiser Clad Sales.

 

Caleb Sadler (08:52)

That's awesome.

 

Savannah Robin (08:53)

Yes, we have an internship in a full time position that's not with us, but that we're encouraging students to apply for. So, yes, it is very diverse. So it serves every breed, every discipline. And that's something, too, that we try to encourage our students to think through is the broadness and the scope that is the equine industry and beyond that, veterinary science and research and what can go into it across the spectrum.

 

Tom Zack Evans (09:18)

So, yeah, give us some examples of different jobs that students could land when they come out of this.

 

Savannah Robin (09:25)

Oh, that's a great question. So I have students that go on to law school and go to be any crime lawyer, and we have students that go into MBA, get an MBA. So we've got the business side of things. So part of our program focuses on business and management. So that's kind of what those students focus on, sales, marketing. I have a student right now that is working for a hay company and selling hay for equine.

 

Ben Robin (09:46)

You call Tom Zack with that one.

 

Savannah Robin (09:51)

But it's primarily goats and horses, so she markets and sells hay out that direction. We've got people that work in equine, Pharmaceuticals, farm managers, Repro, specialists, veterinarians, racetracks. Yes, they're working at racetracks. I have a student right now that actually just left for Gulfstream Park yesterday. And so he'll be interning for three weeks with one of the big Gulf Stream Park down there and first in the Ed Brown Society. So we've got a number of different opportunities that they can go into. And it is very broad.

 

Caleb Sadler (10:22)

And I know you're really involved with the kids and youth and within the College of AG, but you also serve a vital role in the community here in Bourbon County as well. And I serve on some boards with you here in the county. Could you give some insight into the things that you do locally around the counties.

 

Savannah Robin (10:37)

Yeah. So I've served on our County Farm Bureau board for going on 13 years. I started very young just to kind of make sure you didn't think I was over at the age different age. And I have served in a bunch of different capacities, from scholarship generation to education grants, AG education committees. I was past President of our county. I was the first female and the youngest person to ever serve in that capacity, which was really exciting. And that opportunity and those opportunities have led me to being really engaged within our community and some of the service outreach events, but also being involved in the State Farm Bureau as well. So I serve on our state education committee for Kentucky Farm Bureau and then also on the strategic planning committee for Vision 100, which really helps think through what Kentucky Farm Bureau will look like in the next 100 years, which is really cool, being able to be on the front end of that and think through strategically what do we want Farm Bureau to look like, and how can we provide resources to County Farm Bureaus is important.

 

Caleb Sadler (11:35)

So, Savannah, I know the real reason that we have you here today at Central Kentucky. I credit is you're going to teach a training to the staff here today regarding question, persuade and refer. QPR training for the association at that point in time. And I guess you could say let's give us some insight into that and what that is and how we can make farmers and listeners aware of this program.

 

Savannah Robin (11:57)

Yeah. So as we all know, being involved in the agriculture community and maybe being on the front end of it, but maybe some people don't know the stigma around mental health in rural areas and in specifically with agriculture is very prevalent. And so being able to get out into communities and help people understand the importance of access to resources for mental health awareness and suicide awareness programs is extremely important. Agriculturalists and older men in rural communities have one of the highest rates of suicide. And so how do we on the front end of that help alleviate some of those problems? And I serve as an agricultural community member through the Southeast Center for Agriculture Health and Injury Prevention. This is through the Kentucky State Legislation Appropriation. But I was reached out to by this group and as a representative of the agriculture community to say, hey, can you be a trainer? Can you be trained to go out into different communities and with different organizations to be able to help them understand what the signs and signals are for somebody who is in a situation where they may be contemplating suicide or taking their own life?

 

Caleb Sadler (13:13)

I know that this program exists and you're out there to train it. But let's say that we were out in the field and we were producers that were going through something like this. Where can they physically go to get this help, or what can they do to make sure that they get the help that they need?

 

Savannah Robin (13:28)

Yeah. So the thing that we're doing is I'm going around and helping. I'm one of the members that is trained to go around to different organizations and help make other people aware of it. So like today here with Central Kentucky AG Credit, I will help loan officers and folks that are involved in this office understand signs and symptoms to look for when you're in your AG community. So my job will be to help you understand what the referral process looks like, how to talk to somebody, how to disarm somebody in a situation to make them feel more comfortable when they're having the conversation and how to have it appropriately, and then in a way that doesn't discourage them or encourage them either direction. So the goal is for you to help refer them to the resources that are available. And there's a lot of resources. And I can provide a link for your show notes that have the direct access and links to phone numbers for Naomi and the different suicide awareness hotlines. But there are a lot of different programs that people can find themselves into. And it's really about how do you identify when somebody is at that place that they need to be talked to?

 

Tom Zack Evans (14:34)

Is this something that as the loan officer would contact, or are we giving the farmer rancher? Are we giving them the contact information?

 

Savannah Robin (14:46)

That's a good question. So part of this program encourages you to have a conversation, to question, to start saying, okay, are you having some thoughts? If that's the case, what can we do? And then it's to persuade them that there is a little bit of hope, and we'll go through what that looks like and how to officially have that conversation. And then it's to refer. A big part of it is that you will help walk them through the process to get them to that referral piece so that they don't feel alone, as we know that a lot of times people that get to that stage feel like they would be better off if they were not a burden on someone else. And so the last thing that we want them to do in those moments is feel burdensome. And so how can we encourage them to not feel that way?

 

Caleb Sadler (15:28)

And I would also say being a loan officer and being on the opposite side of the desk, it's not necessarily distressed credits or distressed accounts that we see this in. This is across the board. It doesn't necessarily have to be a distressed borrower or a distressed person that's going through a lot of stress within their life.

 

Tom Zack Evans (15:45)

Yes, we all know there's certainly a lot of challenges on the farm calving seasons going on right now. And I've had several farmers that have either lost calves in the mud or due to Vulture strikes, disease goes through the herd. And that's easy to get you down during these times when you start losing a lot of livestock. The same thing on the crop site. I mean, look at the markets right now and the inputs. It's stressful. I know just from our standpoint trying to nail down where these inputs are going to land and also forward contracting and trying to make the right move, and then also regretting later that maybe there was a lot of money left on the table. So certainly a lot of stress out there right now.

 

Caleb Sadler (16:30)

I would say, too, a lot of that is just the uncertainty. Farmers can't control anything at that point in time, and they're at the mercy of whatever the weather is that day. I mean, they can't control it.

 

Ben Robin (16:44)

Yeah. You all have the relationships with them is a good thing. They're already in here. You're either updating our financials or talking about markets or something. So you all are on the front end of that, too.

 

Savannah Robin (16:57)

I think that everything that you mentioned is exactly why these trainings exist and exactly why this is so important to address mental health and suicide awareness in rural communities and specifically in agriculture. I mean, we talk about the fact that everything is uncertain. A war could happen hypothetically or in real life and change everything. The weather, all the specific examples that you gave are reasons that cause additional stress and the high risk. You also have a population that is very isolated unless they're going to McDonald's in the morning and maybe having coffee with a group of people, unless they have a really great relationship with those folks, they're not really going to talk about the stressors. They're going to tell jokes and kind of keep it light hearted. And so you have a population of people who are isolated, who also don't have great access to rural health, especially in small towns. You pull up to the counselor's office and your car is parked outside, and then your best buddy drives by and says, hey, I saw you parked outside. Everything going on. And so reaching out to get help is hard because then you think everybody's watching you or that not everybody's going through the same thing that you're going through afraid to be judged at the end of the day.

 

Savannah Robin (18:08)

Yeah. And so there is that stigma on what it means to get help. And so if we can start identifying it, encouraging people that it's okay, we're all in this together and that we're not alone. There's research that shows it's not one isolated event that will cause it. It's a lot of isolated events over time that have just compounded.

 

Tom Zack Evans (18:29)

You bring up some good points there that I know as a loan officer just over the last ten years, that when we've had stressful times like this, I've had farmers come in and sit down in my office. And they admit to me that they said, I haven't even talked to this. I haven't even talked about this to my wife. The stuff I'm telling you. So you're right. They like to keep it kind of bottled up. And sometimes we are the ones that are hearing the information for the first time, the things that have been stressed out and worried about the future of their livelihood and their family.

 

Savannah Robin (19:05)

Which they carry a ton of weight for. You think about the population that believes that they are providing this farm and they're working so hard for this endeavor to pass on to the next generation and then to carry the responsibility that you've let it go where you couldn't carry that for them in the way you needed to is really stressful.

 

Caleb Sadler (19:21)

Well, and two, on the flip side of that is we're at a generation where a lot of the youth are not willing to farm at that point in time, and the farmers having to go underneath the stress of that of who takes on this, or they have to go into the stress of liquidating assets and just to retire.

 

Savannah Robin (19:39)

Well, and you bring up a point, too, about the young farmers getting into the industry. Many, as you all know, you farm and you work off the farm. And so the long hours, you're working two full time jobs, you're getting up before you go to your other job, trying to make sure that the cows are fed or the fields are taken care of. And then you come home and the whole reason you wanted to farm was to have time with your family. And then you feel like you're putting so much pressure on you never have time for math. Right. And you can't make farm payments because if you don't have the job, you can't make those payments. And so it's a really stressful situation all the way around.

 

Caleb Sadler (20:13)

That kind of brings me, I guess, into the next topic here. And one thing, obviously, we know you sitting across the table here, but a lot of listeners don't know you and you have a very hectic schedule to keep up with. And that would be my next question for you is how do you balance everything between work and life on the farm and what you have going on, and how do you keep that all balanced?

 

Savannah Robin (20:35)

That is a good question. I think honestly, I kind of referred to this when I talked about my students earlier, was having a personal mission. I believe that you should have a mission statement for your life. And whatever you do in life, every decision you make, every activity you participate in, anything that you choose to do should be filtered through what you think is the lens of that. And so for me, my pillars are my faith, my husband, my children. I want to be the best mom and wife. I can be. And I believe that my job is my Ministry and how I serve my students and how I serve my community. And so the other thing is I have a lot of friends that are like, man, aren't you sad? Your kid was late with you at night at a meeting and for me and for being I think I can speak for both of us as we want to instill in our kids the importance of community and getting and being a part of your community and giving to others in service. And so for them, it has to be modeled and so we can't expect them to go on and be community leaders if they can't see it in their parents themselves, too.

 

Savannah Robin (21:35)

So I keep a schedule. I'm terrible about it. I'm delayed and slow to respond to emails and text messages. People tell me. I mean, I'll have 200 unread messages. There are things that I'm not good at, but at the end of the day, I extend a whole lot of Grace to a lot of people and I just pray that they extend that same Grace back to me knowing that I have the best intentions in what I'm doing.

 

Ben Robin (22:05)

Talking about the work life balance too portion of that. She is extremely efficient, like, a lot more efficient than I am.

 

Savannah Robin (22:11)

That is true. That is true. I do a lot of work from the car.

 

Ben Robin (22:14)

A lot.

 

Caleb Sadler (22:15)

I was going to say, just knowing her sitting here as well, I can tell she's very efficient.

 

Ben Robin (22:20)

Yeah. Like, when she has to wait, like, 30 minutes to get going on something, she's like she got freaking out.

 

Savannah Robin (22:26)

I have to have my day scheduled. I was joking around earlier. I have a plug for my car that I can plug my computer into. My best friend got it for me for my birthday so that I can plug in my computer so that if I'm waiting in the kids pick up line, I can still take a Zoom call and do whatever I need to do so that I don't miss something.

 

Caleb Sadler (22:44)

Wow. Well, I really appreciate your time. Savannah here and really look forward to the training here this afternoon with Central Kentucky Ag Credit and I really appreciate everyone tuning in to listen to the next episode on Beyond Agriculture.

 

Savannah Robin (22:58)

Thank you guys so much for having me. I appreciate it.

 

Speaker 5 (23:02)

This episode of beyond agriculture is brought to you by central Kentucky AG credit. Thanks for listening to the podcast. Be sure to visit agcreditonline.com/beyondagriculture, access the show notes and discover our fantastic bonus content. Also, don't forget to hit the subscribe button so you can join us next week style for beyond agriculture.

 

 

 

Episode 3 Work-Life Balance

This week we talk with Mike Meyer, the man of many titles. Mike shares with us how he tries to balance being the Area Extension Director, co-owner of Double Diamond Farms, volunteer, coach and father of four. Turn this on and enjoy the listen as we joke about life and talk about our little secrets to making it all work as a part-time farmer. 

Transcript of Episode 3

 

Caleb Sadler (00:01)

Welcome to Beyond Agriculture, the podcast that takes you beyond the scope of Ag and into the real life stories, conversations and events taking place in our community. Who we are and what we do is Beyond Agriculture. Hello, and welcome in to Beyond Agriculture. We're in the studio, as I would call it here today in the conference room at the Paris branch of Ag Credit this is Caleb Sadler. I've got Tom Zack Evans with me. And we also have Ben Robin behind the scenes here today. And guest with us today is Mr. Mike Meyer. How are you doing, Mike?

 

Mike Meyer (00:44)

I'm doing great. How are you doing?

 

Caleb Sadler (00:46)

Really good.

 

Tom Zack Evans (00:47)

Yeah. So Mike Myer is an area extension director for the University of Kentucky, and we're going to talk to him today about some work life balance and then also some of his experiences with 4-H here in Kentucky and growing up in 4-H and then also working as a 4-H Program Director.

 

Caleb Sadler (01:14)

Well, I can tell you, I kind of have a long standing I mean, we all do around the table here. We've known you for several years at that point in time. But the only thing I go back to is the day showing cattle. And then right after that, I actually interned with the extension program in 2014. And I got to work alongside Mike at that point in time was 4-H. That was Harrison County. It was yeah. I was down in Harrison County for a year. I think I interned my true advisor or however that program works now with Gary Carter. But I did work with Mike in the 4-H program with the 4-H camp that year.

 

Mike Meyer (01:50)

Yeah. We got to work together for you. We've had a lot of good interns came through Harrison County. But I'm excited to come over with you guys because it is fun because I do have a personal relationship with all of you, which at some point that we still do our work together, cross paths throughout the year. So I was really excited when you all gave me a chance to come over and chat a little bit.

 

Tom Zack Evans (02:07)

Good deal.

 

Tom Zack Evans (02:08)

Well, Mike, let's jump in here and if you can tell us a little bit about yourself, your farm operation, your family and your work history.

 

Mike Meyer (02:18)

Yeah. Mike Meyer live in Harrison County. I grew up since three, my parents got divorced at an early age and part of a military family. My dad spent his career in the army. My mom, when they split, moved to Cynthiana, and she started at Toyota. So she was actually one of the first ones when they opened just retired last year. So that was our route, I guess, to get to Cynthia. She remarried somebody from Harrison County. And so I've been in the community since I was three and grew up on the East side of the county. East side graduate there out Salem Pike, which if somebody has been out that side. It's one of our little one Lane roads that you're lucky if you get over 35 miles an hour. There is no fast go at it no matter how you go. But I grew up, we personally only had a small place, about 15-20 acres, and we did a lot of commercial Bush hogging and hay production for people. So we spent a lot of time doing that. But personally, we didn't have a big place. We had some chickens and turkeys and all those things there.

 

Mike Meyer (03:24)

First part that I had to do with 4-H was because I had a couple of friends that were doing tractor driving on Friday afternoons at the extension office. And at the time that was with Mr. Greg McCauley.

 

Tom Zack Evans (03:37)

I remember those days.

 

Mike Meyer (03:38)

And Kenneth Leach.

 

Tom Zack Evans (03:39)

Yes, sir.

 

Mike Meyer (03:40)

And the whole point of us going was because I was like, this is a great opportunity for me to not have to ride the bus home. I got the ride extension office. I'd take my thirty-five cents at the time and I'd get a pop out of the pop machine and we just got to hang out as friends. So, like, if you were a late bus rider, you're like, well, if I could do something different, you get to ride a different bus, go to different place. That's what was fun about it. So that was my first exposure, I guess, to extension office and 4-H and Mr. Roberts and everything and doing those. And then from there got into the last, like judging next. And that's where my wife now currently where we met. And I would consider one of my best friends, Shannon as well. And we've known each other since, first part of fifth grade. Last time, judging land, judging that type of thing, did a lot of traveling together. And then we got married in 2008 and so been married for a little while now going on, what is this, 14 years?

 

Mike Meyer (04:33)

It'll be 14 years this October. We've got four kids, eight, six, four and two. Now, this is our birthday season. We call it calving season. You're familiar with that?

 

Caleb Sadler (04:44)

Yeah.

 

Mike Meyer (04:44)

This is our time. So we got pretty much like March, April, May, and then Cohen's outlier. We lost a little bit of time in there on the last one, but eight, six, four and two are the kids, Ronan, Willow, Tamson and Cohen. And you all know how it is with kids. It's a lot of fun. But I'll tell you, like, I had a friend that just had a kid this spring. Yeah. It's so hard to get used to the sleeping and everything. And you all know with multiple kids now, it's almost like almost you don't remember what it was before, right. So then after a while you just becomes the normal.

 

Caleb Sadler (05:19)

Now, Morgan says that to me all the time. We're sitting at the house and she goes, what would we do right now? If we didn't have a kid to sit here and watch at that point in time.

 

Mike Meyer (05:27)

It's like one of our favorite conversations. It's kind of like we'd sit around and be like, Now I know we were married for this long, and it's like, what did we do every day when we got home? Okay? Yeah, we made dinner, and then we'd watch these shows, and that was like The Big Bang Theory times and stuff. And we go up there and we watch a few episodes or something, and now we're like, it's almost like that's. You don't even remember it a lot. If you have kids, it all just starts to blend together. But they're fun. Shelley and I have 97 acres on Connorsville now on the west side of Cynthiana, and we do an LLC with my brother in law and sister in law Shannon and Kevin Farrell. And so we farm together with a portion of the family farm plus our part. So our main part is we have about 80 cows. Most of them are Gelbvieh,Simmental , Sim- Angus, Balancer, and we've got a few Red Angus and that type of thing. But a big part of what we did early on was bull and heifer production and then showing on the calf side after we started having several kids.

 

Mike Meyer (06:23)

Of course, your time kind of shifts a little bit, near as much showing.

 

Tom Zack Evans (06:27)

Right.

 

Mike Meyer (06:28)

We definitely want to get back to it, but just for now, it's kind of transitioned a little bit, but we do quite a bit of hay. We roll about 1600 roles a year, and that's like our biggest part besides the cattle. And it shifted a little bit. We're slowly getting back to the purebred side of things a little bit and marketing some cow calf side.

 

Caleb Sadler (06:47)

Are you all primarily fall, spring or year round calving?

 

Mike Meyer (06:50)

We're pretty heavy on the fall side. It fits. And that's one of those adjustments I kind of wrote down earlier. Just adjusting to a life of not being a full time farmer is trying to learn these little tweaks that make it work for you in your family situation. And for us, we needed to have it was important for us to have calves in August. September tried to get them out of the way by October. That way, they've at least got a little growth before getting into winter because we don't have the time to check them like other people do. And that was a huge adjustment for us. We found that the first couple of years after we were all getting jobs and doing things, we couldn't pay the attention to them in January when they were being born in February, like some people can. And we were losing a few more than we wanted to. Right. Because half the time we're not getting home till after dark or late.

 

Caleb Sadler (07:37)

It's funny you say that, too, because I can relate to that in my life as well. We started farming. We picked up another farm in 2019, and that's all we do is fall calving cows. I think I only have a few Springs, and that's just because some fall cows ended up being open and moved over. I didn't want to sell.

 

Tom Zack Evans (07:54)

Yeah.

 

Caleb Sadler (07:54)

And it all comes back to the schedule.

 

Tom Zack Evans (07:56)

That's what's happened in our situation, too. We've gone almost all fall cabin because it is better weather, a little more convenient to check on them and keep them fed.

 

Mike Meyer (08:10)

I think that's the key and part of what I've done to kind of chat with you all about today. And it's just a lot. I think now the norm is families that have some kind of a job on the side or a primary source of income, and then you're part time farming. There's very few people anymore that are what you would consider. I guess full time farmers like Randy and Wanda Wade.

 

Tom Zack Evans (08:31)

Your mother and father-in-law are some of the few left in the county.

 

Mike Meyer (08:34)

Yeah. And that's wonderful. But it's just the way times have changed now and different things. I think that number is going to continue to get smaller and smaller and smaller, and us finding ways as parents and the next generation to still make some of that work while having a career off the farm is going to be important.

 

Tom Zack Evans (08:54)

Here at Ag Credit, we refer to that as a lifestyle. That's a lifestyle segment, and that's a big segment of who we loan, too, because all of us sitting here, we want to raise our families on the farm. We like that way of life. We want to instill the work ethic and the responsibility that you learn on the farm into our children is a quality way of life. But as we all know, it takes a lot of money to farm. And so it takes those all farm jobs to store more all the time.

 

Caleb Sadler (09:28)

Yeah, exactly right.

 

Mike Meyer (09:30)

Especially this year. I tell you, I went and filled up my truck yesterday. Usually I'm one of those that does some stuff on. I'm not one of these doomsday prepper people, but I am one of those to try to be cautious of, like how much fuel is in my car and having a few things at home and rainy day stuff.

 

Tom Zack Evans (09:49)

Sure.

 

Mike Meyer (09:50)

So very seldom do I let my truck get down to where it's like dinging at you or something like that. And it was yesterday. I've just been putting it off and put it off. And it was $5.19 when I stopped to get diesel yesterday.

 

Caleb Sadler (10:02)

We were just talking about the same thing at lunch. So I drove back through Carlisle from working on a tractor on Wednesday night, and diesel was $4.66. I told myself I'm going to fill up tomorrow night when I come back in there. Well, I got to Paris and didn't fill up again. The next day I pulled in there. It was $4.89.

 

Mike Meyer (10:20)

Yeah.

 

Caleb Sadler (10:20)

And I pull in the Paris is $4.87 last night. And literally when I leave the house this morning, it's $5.09.

 

Mike Meyer (10:26)

Oh, my gosh. And I couldn't believe I was like, Mike, it's such a rookie move. I was like, I passed it ten times in the last week and it was lower. And I was just like, I don't want to stop. And then it cut off at $100 and it still wasn't full. And I was like, that doesn't happen too often. But, man, it's tough and it's only going to get worse for a period of time. It's exactly what you're talking about.

 

Tom Zack Evans (10:45)

Yeah. This inflation is the worst that we've ever experienced in our lifetime, as we all know. Mike, let's move in now to talking about your work history, starting back when you first got out of College.

 

Mike Meyer (11:00)

Yeah. Well, I've been an extension for a very long time. I tell people this story younger kids when I used to be an Ag Ambassador at UK. But when they come, everybody's got a career that they want to do. I'd say 75% of the people that go into Ag and Animal Science want to be prevent. And I try to tell them that's going to change. It did for me, that's going to change for the majority of them. And what did it for me? One time, Randy and Wanda were out of town and I was going to be pre bad and do all that stuff. And I got scared off two things. One freshman year, if you get into some of those chemistry classes same way here, they teach you quick. They say if you want to be a vet, your science GPA needs to be like a 3.6 or higher, 3.7 or higher. And my first couple of chemistry, I was like, it wasn't quite that. Now I got better. Of course, I'm one of those that you had to get into what your study habits are because everybody is so different. And mine was I have a very short attention span.

 

Mike Meyer (11:58)

And so I've got to just study for 10, 15, 20 minutes. And when I caught myself wanting to play a video game or something, I just stopped and did it and then come back and study again. And it worked out perfect. And then I had 4.0 and 3.8 the rest of my college career. But I remember one night Randy and Wanda were out of town. I think they were showing it like the National Gelbvieh Junior Show. And the girls went and I stayed back and I was working with one of our calves, and she was one of our heifers. She was having calves ended up having twin bulls. And I was trying to pull them forever and I couldn't. So then I had to call the vet, and it was a Saturday and it was one that was down here and they were backed up and everything else. And by the time that they had gotten out there, it was like 12:30 on a Saturday night and he had his young kid with him at the time and he was just like, yeah, it's his birthday. But he had to tag along with me and just broke my heart for some reason at that moment because I was like, golly, and not that for anything for me.

 

Mike Meyer (12:54)

You make those sacrifices in any job you take. But it was a lot of just asking questions for me after that and thinking most of the time when you're starting out as a vet, you're going to be at the bottom of the totem pole, you're going to be some of that stuff. You're going to get the weekends, you're going to get the holidays, you're going to get some of those things. And I completely understand. But I decided then it was part of what went into my decision was that I'd like something a little bit more flexibility for me. It's a need of mine to be involved in a lot of different things and I just need a career that's going to allow me to be flexible and be involved in my community and stuff like that. That's part of where my extension I was like, why did I never consider before 4-H was such a huge part of me growing up. I've said I probably went to 21 States alone, just on 4-H activities and events, whether it be judging teams. From the amount of times I've spent vans and land and livestock judging and meats judging and dairy judging all the way from Colorado to the East Coast and down to Georgia and Florida and everything else to Wisconsin for the national contest for dairy judging and so many things, why did I never consider it? Like so many people in extension gave back to me because they were a volunteer from Jeff Brown back in the day to land judging all the way up to the people, the Steppels that worked with Shelley Shannon and I in livestock judging, Mr. Roberts, Dr. Monty Chapel at UK, who gave us a start and stuff when we were on the judging team there and everybody else. And I'm going to miss 15 people. But just something about being able to be a part of a young person's life or development of life and life skills, soft skills, leadership development, communication development over a long period of time turned out to be very instrumental for me, saying, Why am I not even considering that? So I was an intern twice as well. I switched from prevet to just doing animal science in general at UK. And then I was interned twice, once in Harrison County and once on campus. And then I got a job as a 4-H agent in Franklin County for three years right outside of College. So I started on October 1. Shelley and I got married October 11 right after that. And then I was there for three years and then Mr.Roberts retired in Harrison County. I came back and I was an agent in Harrison County for ten years.

 

Tom Zack Evans (14:58)

Okay.

 

Mike Meyer (14:58)

And then I just took this position as our Extension Director last January. And so I've really enjoyed it. It's a big switch for me, but it's got a lot of positive things. I do miss getting that day to day interaction with kids and working on clubs and groups, but I'm finding ways to do that through other areas. I'm volunteering now.

 

Tom Zack Evans (15:18)

That's what I was going to say. I know you're still heavily involved with coaching some sports teams. Obviously your Church. Tell us a little bit about that.

 

Mike Meyer (15:29)

Yeah. I love the sports things because in your mind, God gives us all different talents and stuff. And I always wanted to be this excellent ball player of some sort. And it was never in my cards.

 

Caleb Sadler (15:44)

I had that same goal. And then I got involved in lifestyle judging. So, yeah, there you go.

 

Mike Meyer (15:49)

It's just funny because you're like, I love playing basketball. I always wanted to be an awesome baseball player. And I never got to play baseball, though my family is a little more limiting on what they would let me do, but I love playing basketball and I still do. But I was just never quite good enough for putting that focus on that sport to do that. But working with my kids, they seem to be getting a lot more of maybe Shelley's kind of build and speed and athleticism and stuff, which is going to be good. So they started playing younger. And what's neat to me is I go and first I'm getting them into rec league and got Tball and stuff. I want to be with them. And I got the best advice anybody's ever given me when it comes to family stuff from Kevin Gaunts. When we used to play ball on Sundays and just pick up basketball down at City Hall and we were talking outside, we were getting ready to have our first kid. Shelley was pregnant at the time, and we were talking and stuff, and he was just telling me it was just like the best time you can spend with your kids is just time with your kids.So whatever they're doing, that's the best use of your time, even if you don't know it or whatever. Because Kelly, his daughter, was getting into some soccer stuff. He'd never done anything with soccer. Well, he just learned started with reckless, same thing he said. But I learned. And now he's a high school coach. And so that was really neat. And I just took that advice to heart. So, I mean, anything that they're doing, I'm not going to force him into stuff, but, you wanted to try baseball. Fine. I'll coach T ball. I'll learn soccer. Soccer is really big thing right now, and they're doing a lot of that. And I never played a day of soccer in my life.

 

Caleb Sadler (17:14)

No, I hadn't either. Morgan played all through high school, my wife and the one rule that I never could grasp my mind around was offsides. It makes no sense to me.

 

Mike Meyer (17:24)

Yeah, but it's tough.

 

Caleb Sadler (17:26)

You pick it up, you start to learn it.

 

Tom Zack Evans (17:29)

Our kids have played down at Rec League with Mike and it's funny. Mike takes his soccer coaching very seriously. We'll laugh down there. If we hear someone yelling pretty loud at the kids,

 

Mike Meyer (17:44)

It's probably me. Yeah, I take it all serious. And Shelley just cracks up too because she's like, Now, Mike, it's just a game. If we're playing a sport, we're playing to win now. It's funny, though.

 

Caleb Sadler (18:00)

If you're not first, you're like, that.

 

Mike Meyer (18:01)

That's right. And it's so much fun though because I love just seeing just like anything. And I think a lot of that sent back to forage stuff too. But in the careers that we do, the benefit to me is not how much you're getting paid because certainly none of us are getting rich off of this or anything. But I say this a lot about 4-H agents and different things. It's life changing. When you see a kid that was 9, 10 that struggled with stuff that then turns out to be 17-18 and get an elected position or get their first job or just emails you for a reference letter or something like that's, what means the most to you? You see him get an award on stage. We're just like, man, I remember when that kid was struggling. I see that even with like a youth sport. I remember Ronan. I was about ready to kick him off my own team in T ball when he was four because my dad had come into town and my stepmom to watch one of his games and he got out running the first because he was goofing around getting down there. And I tell him about that and they got him out and I said, dug out, you're out. And whatever. He's like, no, whatever not. I was like, I'm like, you're almost done for the game. Watch yourself. I'm ready to get my kid out. And then now it seems like he's on a travel team, a young travel team and stuff, and just turning to a really good little player and just seeing even not just him change, but all those kids I work with, just seeing them succeed in something, it's just so rewarding to see him struggle. I used to kid around about Will Banks and Wyatt and then of course, both of them going to College on judging scholarships and stuff in Junior College and everything. Kevin and I laughed because we almost kicked Will out of practice one day when he was a kid from just talking and everything is judging practice. We did put him in kind of like a quasi time out for a little bit because such fun personalities and wonderful young men and I'm so excited to see where they're going. But that's a prime example. Just remember the way they were when they were 8-9.And now to see them getting paid to go to College and get their education from judging and doing those things, it's just super rewarding.

 

Tom Zack Evans (20:02)

Yeah. 4-H. We mentioned on the previous episode about how important 4-H and FFA are for our youth and how most all of us have come through those programs as well. And my theory is for every kid that can be involved in a project, that's one more kid that will maybe go down the right path. But tell us a little bit about some of the experiences that these kids get at 4-H. Maybe for people out there that their kids have never been involved in. It some of the experiences, life lessons, leadership skills that kids gain from 4-H.

 

Caleb Sadler (20:41)

And I would say probably and Mike, you can probably allude to this a little bit better. A lot of those kids that get the most out of that program aren't necessarily the ones that are from a farming background or involved in agriculture.

 

Mike Meyer (20:52)

Well, if you think about it, go back to kind of we could hit on a little bit later, too. But just the way that society like the Ag society and community and culture is changing now to not be in as much full time production. It's the same deal if you think about it, in our youth base, it used to be back when 4-H was just getting started 100 years ago, every family owned a farm. Like either it was either one or both of your parents were a farmer. So they lived on a farm, they did something with it. They did something with food preservation, they did something with textiles of the sorts. And now if you think about it, it's no different than the people in the careers you think about it's like what, less than 2% or something like that of the population is ag related. It's no different. So our kids are the same way. And some of my most kids that were the most successful and even something like last time judging when we did that was I had a set of twins that lived in town. They had nothing to do with it before they were let's see, they started they were in 7th grade, 8th grade, I think they lived in one of the little neighborhoods in town. They had nothing to do with the farm or anything. They came because a friend wanted them to come and just to get involved with it. Then they liked it and they picked it up and they did an awesome job. And they were one of our intermediate teams that won the state contest like two years later, and they were actually the second and third high individuals in that and off the team. It's little stuff like that. What you talk about, we think of 4-H might be for the Ag side here's the unique thing about 4-H. A lot of times it's because we compared to FFA directly when really they have a small portion of things in common anymore. 4-H is seven core content areas. One of those is agriculture. The rest is either leadership and communications, health and health and natural resource and all those different areas. So it's a small portion that overlaps. But our hope is that you would have something available for any kid in the community if we could get them in. We've got something for any interest in the community. And if it's not there, then our job is to try to find a volunteer to create it. So if it's something to do with a tech club or something to do with Stem or something to do with robotics or leadership or communications or whatever it is, if there's an interest and we can find a volunteer, then you can make it happen in 4-H. And that's the neat thing about it. And what I love about 4-H is there's no other organization where you can influence a kid's life from pretty much the time that they turn five or six in Cloverbud to the time that they're 19 and then hopefully transition them into being good members of community and society and being a citizen as a volunteer. Give you an example that is Tom, Zack, my son, went to Clover Bud Camp. Was it last year? Did you go last year?

 

Tom Zack Evans (23:32)

Last year, yeah.Evidently, I'm signed up to go again this year. My wife signed me up yesterday.

 

Mike Meyer (23:38)

I mean, Ronan comes back and we're like, well, what do you like about it or whatever? And he was just like, oh, yeah, it was awesome. Of course, he's been for we've dragged him around there since he was three or four with us both being parents and 4-H and stuff. But I was like, well, who talked to my best friends, Tom Zack and Clay. And it's funny because it's Shelly and I just laugh about it. The hardest thing to get in for, just in general. But definitely 4-H is positive male role models or positive male volunteers. And you would think you're just like, oh, you got all these dads, but you can't get dads involved. It's very hard. And it's comforting for us to hear that, to know that even though Ronan's there and I'm not there, that he's getting a positive male role model in that situation. And that's our hardest thing to find. It's our biggest limiter when it comes to volunteers or anything like that. If you think of you, like your PTOs at school, they're mostly all moms. I went to one a couple of years ago, and it was funny. And Mr. Hoskins at West Side and I rolled into the library and I was like, I’ll help. Anyway, Fall Festival is coming up. It was me and Mr. Hoskins and about 25 ladies in there. And I was like, oh, God, I'm ready. And I ended up building some stuff for Fall Festival and different things. And I don't mind, but it's tough. But 4-H is unique in the fact that it gives you a chance to see the building process of soft skill or leadership development from the time they struggle with it, when they start through, when they circle back around to the application side as either like a club leader, a junior counselor at camp, an elected position, or when they're leading a club or activity like Harrison County. Our culture is that the Clover Bud Club for the young kids is led by the Team Council. And so those kids are that's part of their program. And development of the program is for them to lead Cloverbud Club for those really young kids. And the to see them transition of that is really unique that I think is specific to 4-H in general and set up well.

 

Caleb Sadler (25:31)

And you were talking about volunteers and things like that. And I know from an Ag Credit standpoint, we love to help any way that we can, too. And I can talk. Just recently we helped at the Kentucky Volunteer Forum. We taught a class on budgeting. And any time that we can get involved to try to teach or educate those people in those communities, we love to do that as well.

 

Mike Meyer (25:51)

Yeah. And that's so huge anytime. That for you all. Specifically, what I've always liked is Shelley and I have utilized that credit for a long time. And what's made the biggest difference to me, not only it's twofold one, it's just the culture of what you all have here, just in the people in the system and how approachable you are. And the fact that with our lifestyle the way it is, I know that I could get assistance or help, whether it be from Ben or from Tom Zack, anytime that I call or he's going to be able to text me and say I try not to bother him too much after hours. But the difference is I have a relationship with you all, and it's made it so easy for Shelley and I just not only in supporting of our career and forage and extension, but then also our home life with kind of what we talked about there being able to help us get things done. So it's been wonderful and we certainly appreciate it.

 

Tom Zack Evans (26:40)

Well, that's ties back in. Most all of our loan officers here are involved in their community. And it's just like Mike and I, you know sharing, we have kids on the same soccer teams together. We participate in extension activities together, numerous activities, Farm Bureau . We've got Ag start coming up here.

 

Tom Zack Evans (27:09)

Yeah. That's a big one that we participate with. And that's TriCounty. I think there's three. Is there three or four counties?

 

Tom Zack Evans (27:15)

There's going to be two or three counties, I think this year. Yeah. Participating in that. But that's a program where we work with extension and kids they're not given a farm, but they get a hypothetical farm and have to decide based on the farm's capabilities, what it can actually sustain, whether it be livestock or crops. They utilize a soil map to help them determine what can be grown on the farm and its capabilities. So they meet with conservation folks. We come in one day and talk about loans and credit and loan making.

 

Caleb Sadler (28:00)

The biggest decision there, probably from the student standpoint, when they sign up for that program, is whether they know or are capable enough in the back of their mind to say, I want to be a part time farmer, like we just talked about, or a full time farmer.

 

Mike Meyer (28:13)

Yeah. That Farm Incorporated program is huge. And it's been such an eye open to me because all of them think that it's one or two things when you get kids. None of them know about necessarily the behind the scenes cost everyone's just like, I want a tractor or I want a new dually this year,  or whatever it is. And this is just what I want. But they don't understand the implications of paying taxes or insurance or how the processor works or the fact that you got to have certain things in place to be able to borrow money at that rate or to pencil things out. And I think a lot of them, it's just you asking me like, who and here is going to be full time farmer. You'll get several of them that will say that. But then after they go through the process and they realize it's like, I don't know if I could even afford this. Like, how do people do it.

 

Tom Zack Evans (28:56)

After they make their budget.They come back and they're like, oh, we're going to need a job to support this because we have a negative bottom line here. So we try to make it as real life as possible. For a long time, the kids didn't have a credit score. So we started a few years ago and we actually base their credit score on their GPA.

 

Mike Meyer (29:16)

Yeah.

 

Tom Zack Evans (29:16)

So we had high and low credit scores. And then we explained to them the implications of having a high or low credit score. And then, of course, we went on to tell them what they can do to increase their credit score and to do a good job in real life with that.

 

Mike Meyer (29:34)

And it's not even the point of just to scare them off because some are just like, oh, yeah, it's to inform you would hope that the intent is like when people get out of high school that they never find themselves in a bad loan, that they never find themselves in a bad financial situation. Because the last thing you want for a high school or even College. I mean, the big conversation now is kids go to a four year College versus two year versus going out and getting a job. And I'm sure you all have friends like that too. But when I graduated UK, Shelley and I were very fortunate. I work during College. She got a lot of scholarships. I didn't get so many in the beginning, but I worked there in College and plus at mine. And I think between us, I don't care. I mean, I think we owed $3,500. But between the two of us, when we got married and that was all mine that I owed, I had friends who graduated at the same time that owed $80, $90, $100 thousand on a four year loan. Well, then if you try to get into agriculture, not even just agriculture, go try to have a car payment on top of that or an apartment payment on top of that.

 

Caleb Sadler (30:30)

There's nothing left.

 

Mike Meyer (30:33)

Yes.

 

Caleb Sadler (30:33)

And it goes back to you were talking about pre vet majors back in school. I was that when I went into College at UK, I was a prevent major brother's a vet. Yeah, he is my oldest brother is a vet. And I guess you could say that's probably what turned me off to the most is because he was still going through vet school. He's eight years older than I am and he was still going through vet school when I was getting into College. And I was like, I just don't know that I want to tie up ten years of my life to go to school. And that is a huge commitment and a huge financial commitment at that point.

 

Mike Meyer (31:01)

It is. And I don't think there is a wrong decision at all. It's just a matter of letting people make the most informed decision based on what they want their next ten or 15 years to look like. I'm still in school right now. I finished a Masters awhile back. I'm working on my doctor and I got 6 hours left and I'm done. And I say I'm completely done with classes. I don't know, but I'm thinking this December is yet done. But there's no way I could have done full time school right after I got out of Bachelor's. I was going to have to make it work with my career. I just needed to space it out a little bit and it was fine. But just helping kids make and young adults, period, just people that want to get into, period, make good positive decisions that fit their lifestyle. There's not a wrong one, two year, four year specialty school, trying to full time farm. There's not a wrong decision, I don't think. But what fits your personality, what fits your work ethic, what fits your time? All that stuff is kind of important.

 

Caleb Sadler (31:55)

Absolutely. My parents always thought that I'd be the one of all three of us that wouldn't go to school. I'd just come back and farm. I went to your degree. Here I am today.

 

Mike Meyer (32:05)

Yeah, go ahead.

 

Tom Zack Evans (32:06)

No, you just brought up some good points. There kind of what we were talking about today on the whole worklife balance and I forgot about that going back to get your doctorate degree. What are some of those techniques and habits that you've incorporated into your life to help you balance time between your kids, the farm, your job, all your volunteer organizations you're involved in.

 

Caleb Sadler (32:30)

The amount of time it takes to put up 15 or 1600 rolls of hay too.

 

Mike Meyer (32:34)

Yeah. Well, and it goes into a lot of things that I actually jotted down some little notes here because it's funny, I didn't want to forget because Shelley and I were just talking about some stuff. And one thing that I just started doing this past year was started working in collaboration with Maysville Community College. I teach a leadership class for businesses so a business can get a hold of Maysville. And I've got a six meeting series, basically, where they'll send their administrators or supervisors, and I'll work with them for six days. Basically, it's 4 hours per session on consecutive Fridays. And we talk about some of those things, and they'll ask a lot of that, too. And I tell them I don't ever think that I'm busier than somebody else. It's what I need in my life to do. It's just because of my personality and the way Shelley, we just talk. It works good between us because we're both kind of high octane as far as time goes, and we're very understanding of each other that she needs that, too, in a different way. I'm doing that, too, and we're kind of making it work. But I think for a lot of us, I don't know that there's ever a work life balance. Part of what I described to that class is I tell them it's more of just priority management. Everything we do is just managing properties at the time, because I don't ever want work to come across as a negative connotation. I don't ever want people to think like work is an awful thing. I can't take care of my family this way. Work is super important. There are days where I've got to put work number one over my family. There are days when more days that I need to put family over my work. It's just not a matter of saying like a definite list for life because I want to make sure that I'm doing everything I can to create a positive and as successful and set my kids up as well. If that being the case, somebody has to make money. And if somebody to make money or to be efficient. Sometimes I've got to put some work stuff over family stuff. That's just the way it goes. But checking the priorities at a different time and having good property management, I think is super important. And that's what I try to stress to people is say, hey, when can I find those opportunities for us, for instance, that we are most effective with our time? So number one, Shelley and I try to we found out quickly that if we're not careful, we miss a lot of talking time with our kids and we start to see it in the way that they act or different things because we'll get home at five or 06:00, one of us is somebody picks up kids, somebody's making dinner. But we've tried to put in some core establishments to do that. Number one is we're both going to be involved with whatever there is they're doing. So for me, definitely right now, they're doing some sports and some farming stuff and things like that. Well, then I'm going to coach a team and I'm making that a priority. So when it's time to do soccer or baseball or whatever, then I'm going on and I'm putting those practices because I'm coaching, I can control the practice. So then I'm going to put those in my schedule, and those are a priority on those days for me. I'm not scheduling work stuff over those. So I definitely know that I'm priority management that way. The second part is that we're really trying to control is those breaks that are definitely with schools. So like a younger family, spring break, fall break, Christmas break, no matter what, we're not planning work stuff there in those times. Like, we're just not doing it. I'm clearing my schedule. I'm putting in extra hours beforehand if I can, but I'm clearing spring break, fall break, and Christmas break, no matter what. So something that's worked good cheap for us. We've been going to the Gorge now for probably two and a half years with the kids during spring break or fall break or whatever, we rent a cabin, and cabins are a little bit more expensive than, like a hotel, not at the hotel, but that's our only expense. So we hike during the day, they take their bikes, we Cook meals in the cabin. We stay for three days or whatever it is, and they love it. And we just spend time together with each other. We'll pack a cooler, pack the van down, take the truck with the bikes and everything, and we just go on trails and just hike and they got to have a hot tub. So we do the hot tub thing, whatever they're all about that we try to preserve those times, those definite blocks that are no doubt family. Fall break, spring break, Christmas break, and we don't schedule work over those. And then we'll make those priorities during where we can control. We'll do those different things. We've kind of made it a pack. Like, we don't do work until after the kids go to bed the best we can. So when we come in with them, then we're not doing work stuff until after they go to bed. Now that's an adjustment sometimes they always work perfect. But we try our best to preserve those times there on the farm side of things, a couple of things that we try to incorporate is and I just jot down a few notes because I just think part time farming in general is kind of tough. But a couple of things you have to try to remember we have to look at equipment a little bit differently. We've got to have stuff that's a little newer or more dependable. Just because if I'm taking days off, I don't have time, it's got to work. It's got to happen. And just because the days that I'll tell you what, I bought a new roll bailer two years ago, I guess and part of that was the fact that I'd been peace and mind together for probably the last I bought it at an auction. It worked great for five or six years and then I kept breaking the same pull chain like two times the summer, three times the summer and I just got started in may and I just got hay cut and I had just that three day window. That's all I got because I got to go back to work. I don't have a can do the next day broke the chain right away and I was like, I'm done. I called, I ordered a new Bailer. It was here in three weeks. I was like and that's just part of it. That's part of what we have to I've made that choice to have a farm off the farm. It takes away flexibility of the farm so I've got to have equipment that I know I can rely on that's going to be there and it's going to work the best I can when I have my window to do that. So sometimes on the management side, like that is really big, Especially if you have office farm jobs, you got to kind of work in place, I guess it's got to work.

 

Caleb Sadler (38:06)

We were having such a great conversation with Mike, however, it went a little too long and we decided to break it into two separate podcasts and two episodes. So next we'll bring you the second half of our conversation in the near future. Stay tuned to our next episode with Mike Where we talk about estate planning, planning and transitioning to the farming operation to the next generation. Thanks for listening to Beyond Agriculture and be sure to rate subscribe and share our podcast with your friends and family.

 

 

Episode 2 Herd Sire Selection

In Episode 2 we sit down at Joe Myers house to learn a little more about how his operation is different than others. For over 25 years they have exclusively utilized artificial insemination to build reliability into pedigrees and fertility into the cow base. With his intense breeding and selection process, Myers Angus Farm has been able to sell four bulls to AI studs in the last eight years.  Joe also gives advice on what to consider when looking for your next herd sire. 

 

 

Episode 1 Who We Are and What We Do

Welcome to our first episode of Beyond Agriculture! In this episode, we introduce our hosts so you can put a voice to a name as you listen to upcoming episodes. 

Our team of hosts, consisting of our ag loan officers, will be bringing you information beyond the basics of agriculture. We will interview experts in their fields, community volunteers, 4-H and FFA youth, and get to know more about the people in your community through their story. 

But first, get to know who's behind the microphones!

Hosts

Caleb Sadler

Co-host
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Caleb is a loan officer in the Paris branch. He grew up in Nicholas County on a family farm. They run a commercial seed-stock and purebred Angus operation with an emphasis in row crops and hay. Caleb was very active in 4-H and FFA showing cattle through his high school career. After college he joined Central Kentucky Ag Credit and now lives in Bourbon County with his wife Morgan and two year-old daughter. 

Shelby Wade

Co-host
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Shelby started working as a loan officer in 2020 for Central Kentucky Ag Credit. Born and raised in Nicholas County on a cattle and tobacco operation. While in 4-H Shelby started showing swine and developed a true passion for the ag industry. After high school Shelby received her Bachelors and Masters degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Kentucky. Her first job out of college was working for the Governor’s office in Ag Policy. She now sells pork off the farm to local consumers and is looking forward to getting married in September.

Tom Zack Evans

Co-host
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Tom Zack has been a loan officer in the Paris branch for ten years. He was born and raised in Harrison County. Tom Zack grew up raising tobacco, hay and Brown Swiss dairy cattle. After graduating from the University of Kentucky he worked for the Harrison County Soil Conservation as a Conservation Technician. He then went to work for the Bourbon County FSA for five years. In 2012 he started his career as a loan officer with Central Kentucky Ag Credit. Tom Zack has three kids with his wife Kayleigh.

Ben Robin

Production Engineer/Editor
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Ben was born and raised in Bourbon County where he grew up raising tobacco and cattle with his grandfather. After college he started with Central Kentucky Ag Credit as a loan officer. After five years he transitioned to IT and is now the Information Systems Specialist. He and his wife, Savannah, have three kids. They own and manage a cow-calf operation and retail beef business, Robin Ridge Farms. 

Cassie Johnson

Producer
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Cassie is the Marketing Coordinator for Ag Credit. Originally from northwest Iowa, Cassie was raised on a cow-calf operation where they also raised corn and soybeans. She was actively involved in 4-H, FFA and showing growing up. After college she went back to her families farm and worked there for eight years. In 2017 Cassie along with her husband and two kids moved to Winchester, Ky to be closer to Ramsey's family. Ramsey and Cassie raise Red Angus cattle and have a heifer sale in the fall.