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By: Jim Caldwell

Increasingly, we live in a world that seems to be dominated by extremes. In our 24/7 news cycle, we are constantly bombarded with stories of the worst economy or the best economy, the greatest of all time or the worst ever. Even our weather forecasts routinely tout the hottest, coldest, driest or wettest conditions. We watch the “top 10” plays of the day – followed closely by the “not top 10” plays. Extremes on both ends. In Washington and in Frankfort, we have seen the divide between ideologies widen, with both sides entrenching deeper into their corners and few in the middle. In many circles, it can be argued that the middle has disappeared. With our constant connectivity, to attract attention (and audience) every story needs the tagline of the first or the best or the record. It happens so often, people sometimes don’t pay attention when a significant event actually does happen.

In our part of the world, we have experienced such an extreme event in 2018 as record rainfall impacted the central Kentucky region. In Lexington, rainfall of over 70 inches for the year set a new record (and some people reported even more). According to WKYT News, “that’s over two feet of precipitation above our normal of 44 inches for the year!” I had discussions with farmers who saw yields in 2018 they hadn’t seen since the drought of 1983. I remember 1983 as the most severe weather event of my career. To have 2018 rival that event brings reality to the old saying that “a dry year will scare you, but a wet year can break you.” The record rainfall impacted tobacco yields, limited our ability to harvest corn and soybeans and reduced hay production and quality. And then there’s the mud our cattle producers faced during the winter feeding months. In other words, the record rainfall touched every aspect of central Kentucky agriculture. In this environment, we find ourselves looking for consistency in the midst of extremes.

Severe weather is nothing new to agriculture or unique to Kentucky. The Carolinas recently experienced their second major weather event as Hurricane Florence swept through with flooding and record rainfall. Here is where the consistency comes in. In spite of the severity of the situation, in Kentucky or Carolina, the Farm Credit System stands with farmers through extreme conditions.

One example of this was the Ag Credit Cares effort in providing relief to Hurricane Florence victims. Joining Farm Credit associations from across the country, Central Kentucky Ag Credit sent volunteers and funds to help families get back into their homes. From Central Kentucky, four employees traveled to South Carolina and spent a week helping with the cleanup. That’s what a consistent partner does. They are there in good and bad times.

Agriculture has more than its share of ups and downs. The entire industry, including our most widespread enterprise – beef – operates in cycles. The consistent financial partner is there for you through these ups and downs. While other lenders come and go with the swings of fortune, Ag Credit is there for you during the entire cycle, including these difficult periods. Our goal is to operate the association in a sound and efficient manner so we can survive the cycles, the extremes. When we do that, as the cooperative lending arm of your operation, together we are able to weather the storms.

The 2018 financial reports of the association reflect another strong year. In doing so, we are demonstrating our ability to withstand the downturn and consistently deliver the funding you need at the farms level. As a cooperative, our operation is the financial arm of your farming operation and we can be part of your diversified plan to withstand the extremes. By providing consistent, year-after-year performance, we can be the lending partner you depend on through the down cycle while continuing to provide the patronage distributions that reduce your cost of borrowing.

Central Kentucky Ag Credit has a mission to serve agriculture and rural communities. This mission reflects our dedication in good times and bad. Our continuing goal is to consistently deliver high quality services in an efficient manner – even in extreme times. With our local ties, traditional lending model and over 20 year track record of patronage distributions, we strive to be the model of consistency that you can depend on, even in the hottest, coldest, driest or wettest of conditions.

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