Southern AgCredit travels to New York and Washington for the big Farm Credit picture

RIDGELAND, Ms —Southern AgCredit’s general counsel, Jeff Williams, was among 22 delegates to participate in the 2022 Farm Credit Bank of Texas Association Leadership Program (ALP) to New York and Washington, D.C., September 12-15.

The program offers association staff a broad national view of the Farm Credit System and provides opportunities to interact with policy leaders in Washington. It also gives a behind-the-scenes look at how funding flows from the nation’s money markets to Farm Credit’s customers.

During the week, delegates across the five-state district visited the Federal Farm Credit Banks Funding Corporation in New Jersey, toured the Financial District in New York and shared a working lunch with Farm Credit Council staff in Washington, D.C.

While visiting the Farm Credit Administration (FCA) headquarters in Virginia, the group met with FCA senior leaders about local lending conditions. Delegates spent the final day on Capitol Hill in Washington, sharing the Farm Credit story with congressional leaders and staff.

Twenty-two Farm Credit District employees took part in the 2022 Farm Credit Association Leadership Program, September 12-15. Participants included, from left, back row: Jacob Newman, Heritage Land Bank; Keith McKinley, Alabama Ag Credit; Tate Rosenbusch, Plains Land Bank; Colton Long, AgTexas; Aaron Wiechmann, FCBT; Clint Cryer, Capital Farm Credit; Clint Walker, Legacy; Josh Warmack, Alabama Farm Credit. Front row, from left: Jeff Williams, Southern Ag Credit; Clay Herbert, Louisiana Land Bank; Matt Kesser, Texas Farm Credit Services; Tessie Doyle, Lone Star Ag Credit; Hillary Turner, Capital Farm Credit; Skylar Sowder, Farm Credit Council; Ria Estrada, FCBT; Colleen Friar, Central Texas Farm Credit; Claire Pegram, Mississippi Land Bank; and Amanda Schaeffer, FCBT.  

Southern AgCredit is a full-service co-op lender that specializes in financing rural land and agricultural operations in Mississippi and Louisiana. It is a member of the Farm Credit System, a nationwide network of customer-owned cooperatives. Founded in 1916, Farm credit is the nation’s largest source of loans for agriculture, agribusiness, rural real estate and country homes. For more information, visit www.southernagcredit.com

Southern AgCredit Promotes Gilbert to Controller

Southern AgCredit recently promoted Daniel Gilbert to controller in its administrative office. 

Gilbert joined the rural lending co-op in 2019 as a senior accountant.  Previously, he worked at Harper, Rains, Knight & Company, Hinds Community College, and was self-employed in the real estate and timber industries.  He graduated with honors from Belhaven University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting and was awarded the Achievement in Accounting Award. He also holds a master’s degree in accounting from Mississippi College. 

He resides in Madison with his wife, Camille, and their four children.

“Daniel’s experience makes him a valuable member of the finance team here at Southern AgCredit,” said Phillip Morgan, Southern AgCredit chief executive officer.  “I look forward to working with Daniel in his new role as controller.”

Daniel Gilbert

Rural Lending Co-op Hires New Employee in Shreveport

RIDGELAND, Miss. – Southern AgCredit, a rural lending cooperative, recently hired Ashley Poole as a loan administrator in its Shreveport, La. branch office.    

Poole has 11 years of experience as a loan processing clerk.  She holds an associate degree from Georgia Military College in behavioral science. She currently resides in Shreveport, La., with her husband and son.

Southern AgCredit is a full-service cooperative lender that specializes in financing rural land and agricultural operations in Mississippi and Louisiana. It is a part of the Farm Credit System, the nation’s single largest source of loans for agriculture, agribusiness, rural real estate and country homes. For more information, visit www.southernagcredit.com.

Ashley Poole

Directors Elected to Southern AgCredit Board

Stockholders of Southern AgCredit recently reelected Larry Killebrew of Lexington, Mississippi, and Kevin Rhodes of Pelahatchie, Mississippi, to the lending cooperative’s board of directors. Stockholders also elected John “Paul” Johns Jr. of Jonesboro, Louisiana, who replaces retired director John “Van” Bennett of Spearsville, Louisiana. Each director will serve a three-year term.

Killebrew is the owner/manager of Larry Killebrew Farms, a 3,000-acre farming operation consisting of row crops — cotton, corn and soybeans — and cattle.

Rhodes owns KDR Farms Inc., a 300-acre farming operation consisting of a small beef cattle operation, two six-house poultry farms in Rankin County and a five-house poultry farm in Scott County.

Johns owns a farming operation consisting of 500 acres of hay, timber and pastureland, 100 commercial cows and four poultry houses.

Southern AgCredit’s 2022 Nominating Committee consists of the following:

Tim Clements, Delta Region; Alan Ezelle, Central Region; Kati Krager, Southern Region; J. Blake McCartney and Thomas Wade, Louisiana Region.

“The board of directors is a diverse representation of our borrower-owners we serve throughout our territory,” said Phillip Morgan, chief executive officer. “They guide and steer the association in all aspects, and we are thankful to have such a talented group of individuals to serve as directors.” 

Southern AgCredit’s 10-member board also includes Reggie Allen of Brookhaven, Mississippi; Scott Bell of Lena, Mississippi; Gene Boykin of Rolling Fork, Mississippi; Steve Dockens of Ocean Springs, Mississippi; Allen Eubanks of Lucedale, Mississippi; T.C. Hall of Gloster, Louisiana; and Linda Staniszewski of Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

Southern AgCredit is a full-service cooperative lender that specializes in financing rural land and agricultural operations in Mississippi and Louisiana. It is a member of the Farm Credit System, a nationwide network of lending cooperatives that finance agriculture, agribusiness, rural real estate and country homes. For more information, visit www.southernagcredit.com.

Southern AgCredit hires collateral evaluator

RIDGELAND, Miss. – Southern AgCredit, a rural lending cooperative, recently hired Mitchell Bishop as a collateral evaluator in its administrative office. 

Bishop holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Mississippi State University. Prior to joining Southern AgCredit, he worked in agricultural retail for Simplot Growers Solutions in Hollandale, Miss.  Bishop is a native of Madison and is engaged to Madison Flye of Daphne, Ala.

Southern AgCredit is a full-service cooperative lender that specializes in financing rural land and agricultural operations in Mississippi and Louisiana. It is a part of the Farm Credit System, the nation’s single largest source of loans for agriculture, agribusiness, rural real estate and country homes. For more information, visit www.southernagcredit.com.

Mitchell Bishop

Southern AgCredit hires office administrator in Meridian office

Southern AgCredit has hired Stacey Davis as an office administrator in its Meridian office. The rural lending cooperative specializes in financing land and agricultural operations in Mississippi and Louisiana.

Davis comes to Southern AgCredit with 10 years of banking experience in various positions, most recently as a loan assistant at Community Bank in Meridian.  She is married to Matt Davis, and they reside in Meridian with their two sons.    

“Stacey has the experience and customer service skills needed to assist our customer-owners and we look forward to working with her to see our Meridian office grow,” said Phillip Morgan, Southern AgCredit chief executive officer.

Stacey Davis

LIBOR To Be Replaced

Adjustable Interest Rate (LIBOR) Act Changes

On March 15, 2022, President Biden signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022 into law, which includes the Adjustable Interest Rate (LIBOR) Act. The (LIBOR) Act “provides for the transition of certain financial contracts away from the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), a reference interest rate based upon the lending terms certain banks offer to each other for various lengths of time.

LIBOR is set to be retired in 2023. Various financial contracts reference LIBOR as a benchmark for prevailing interest rates and use LIBOR in calculating certain payments or obligations. In the event a contract referencing LIBOR does not have a fallback or replacement rate provision in effect when LIBOR is retired, or a replacement rate is not selected by a determining person as defined by the bill, the bill provides for a transition to a replacement rate selected by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. The (LIBOR) Act also provides for conforming changes to these contracts, the continuity and enforceability of these contracts, and protections against liability as a result of such a transition.” 

Summary: H.R.4616 — 117th Congress (2021-2022) 

“Our Southern AgCredit team has worked diligently over the past two years to transition our LIBOR indexed loans to other variable and fixed loan rate products. We are pleased to have the additional assurances and guidance from congress regarding the financial market’s transition away from the LIBOR index.”

Phillip Morgan, Southern AgCredit Chief Executive Officer

Southern AgCredit Awards $31,000 in Scholarships to Local Students

College Scholarhips

Southern AgCredit, a rural financing cooperative, is pleased to announce its 2022 scholarship recipients. The co-op awarded a total of $31,000 in scholarships to 28 students.

To qualify, each applicant had to be a current Southern AgCredit borrower, or a current borrower’s child, grandchild or spouse. Selection criteria included academics, leadership, extracurricular activities and an essay by the student.    

A total of 26 students each received a $1,000 scholarship.

In addition, two recipients were awarded $2,500 scholarships. These special scholarships honor two former longtime Southern AgCredit board members — Jimmie Dick Carter and Emery Skelton. They are awarded to deserving students attending or planning to attend Mississippi State University and major in agriculture or a related field.

“These young people represent the future of agriculture, and we are proud to do our part to help them pursue their dreams. We wish them all much success.”

Southern AgCredit Chief Executive Officer Phillip Morgan

By supporting ag education with 28 scholarships, Southern AgCredit seeks to fuel the future of the agriculture industry.

Scholarships Recipients

Following are the recipients and the colleges they attend or plan to attend.     

$2500 – Jimmie Dick Carter Scholarship

Karoline Heathcock
Waynesboro, MS
Mississippi State University

$2500 – Emery Skelton Scholarship

Austin Rexrode
Hollandale, MS
Mississippi State University

$1000 Scholarships

Dock Adams
Smithdale, MS
Mississippi State University

Faith Barry
Sumrall, MS
Mississippi State University

Lainey Brumfield
Foxworth, MS
William Carey University

Grayson Childress
Brookhaven, MS
United State Air Force Academy

Kobly Donahoo
Belzoni, MS
Mississippi Delta Community College

Molly Garner
Madison, MS
University of Arkansas

Ayden Gautreau
Tylertown, MS
Pearl River Community College

Taylor Gautreau                         
Tylertown, MS
Southwest Mississippi Community College

James Hunter Hearn
Benoit, MS
Mississippi State University

Tristen Herrington
Lucedale, MS
Mississippi State University

Thomas “Trey” Knott
Bogue Chitto, MS
Mississippi College or Copiah-Lincoln Community College

Jayden Latham
Walnut Grove, MS
East Mississippi Community College

Savannah Rose McMillan 
Braxton, MS
Belhaven University

Vivian McRee 
Wesson, MS
Copiah-Lincoln Community College

Lila Murphy  
Jackson, MS
Mississippi State University

Georgia Neill 
McCarley, MS
Mississippi State University

Francesca Pham
Lawrence, MS
East Central Community College

Shelby Richardson
Biloxi, MS
University of Southern Mississippi

Emmie Shaw                                
Bruce, MS
Northwest Community College

Elizabeth Skelton                         
Greenville, MS
Mississippi State University

Zachary Ty Skelton                       
Greenwood, MS
Mississippi Delta Community College

Lilli C. Smith                                  
Poplarville, MS
University of Mississippi

Warren Toler                                
Inverness, MS
Mississippi State University

Kaitlyn Wade                                
Grace, MS
East Mississippi Community College

Charli Ann White                          
Canton, MS
Mississippi State University

Rosalea Woodard                        
Leland, MS
The University of the South at Sewanee

Rural Lending Co-op Hires Customer Service Representative in Ridgeland

Southern AgCredit recently hired Casey Spence as a customer service representative in its Ridgeland branch office. The rural lending cooperative specializes in financing land and agricultural operations in Mississippi and Louisiana.

Spence holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Mississippi State University. She comes from a tenured career at Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company, where she held various positions and most recently was a claims examiner. She is married to Kevin Spence, and they reside in Madison with their daughter. 

“Casey brings wide-ranging customer service experience to the team, and we are excited to have her in our Ridgeland branch office,” said Phillip Morgan, Southern AgCredit chief executive officer.

Casey Spence

Blue-ribbon Red Angus

When Erin and Todd Vowell were newlyweds, Erin hoped to someday see cattle from every window.

“It sounds silly, but it goes back to my grandfather’s ranch,” Erin says. “Those were my favorite childhood memories.”

It wasn’t silly to Todd, who grew up on a cattle farm.

Fifteen years later, their Forest, Mississippi, home is surrounded by pasture. And in 2020 they expanded their Red Angus seedstock operation by purchasing a ranch in Oklahoma.

The plan came together thanks to good friends, good timing and a loan from Southern AgCredit.

Going for quality

Sandridge Land & Cattle has quickly grown in six years. It started small when daughter Addison, now 14, was old enough to show animals.

“Red Angus are very efficient cattle with a great disposition, so they were a great fit for our young showman,” says Erin, who manages the cattle operation. “And Angus beef has excellent marbling and quality.”

In fact, the Vowells stock Angus beef at their 13 Vowell’s Marketplace stores and three other grocery stores in Mississippi and Alabama.

“Our brand is truly built around the meat department,” says Todd, president of the grocery business his grandfather started in 1945. “We still cut all of our meat in the store.”

Addison Vowell’s heifer Ellie was named Dixie National Junior Round-Up Supreme Beef Female in 2021. Ellie now lives at the family’s Oklahoma ranch.

But the family’s purebred cattle aren’t destined for the meat case. They’re winning in the show ring.

Last year, Addison won a $1,500 scholarship to Mississippi State University when her Champion Red Angus heifer was named the Dixie National Junior Round-Up Supreme Beef Female. Her brother, Cade, 12, showed the heifer’s week-old calf. That’s just one of several wins for the siblings.

Making a westward expansion

Red Six Mile Ellie 205G, Addison’s cow, now enjoys the moderate climate and more diverse forages of their new ranch near Stillwater, Oklahoma.

The ranch helps the family access new markets, better cattle prices, and lower freight and feed costs.

“Oklahoma is a hub for cattle sales and operations,” Erin says. “There’s more opportunity there for our seedstock operation. We do a lot of embryo transfer and AI work, and use the same type genetics at both locations.”

The Vowells market their bulls and females through an annual bull sale, private sales and consignment sales across the U.S. They also offer show heifers and embryos.

Purchasing the turnkey operation was an opportunity they couldn’t pass up. But they had to act quickly to pull it off.

Financing with Southern roots

The Vowells called Southern AgCredit based on the lender’s patronage program and competitive interest rates. It turned out Kevin Brown — whom Todd helped coach for high school football — was on the staff in Ridgeland, Mississippi.

“Kudos to Kevin,” Erin says. “He had the best rates and made it as easy as possible. Everybody at Southern AgCredit jumped through hoops to close the loan on a tight schedule.”

Todd, who serves on the board of a local bank, says he and Erin always shop around.

“We like to diversify in business and financing,” he says. “But the most rewarding experience thus far was with Kevin and Southern AgCredit.”

A few months later, the Vowells refinanced their Mississippi land with the lending co-op.

“I think they appreciate the way we understand their operation,” says Brown, now Ridgeland branch manager. “Southern AgCredit is involved in the local ag community and is the title sponsor of the Dixie National Rodeo. We have a passion for ag financing.”

Bonding through the cattle industry

The Vowells are now focused on building and improving their herd in both locations.

Bred heifers graze near the Vowells’ home in Forest, Mississippi.

“Our goal is to be on the forefront of improving the breed as a whole,” Erin says. “We’ve partnered with great people who have extensive breeding and development knowledge. We’ve also met lifelong friends.” 

Those friends and partners include Tony Tolar and his family, as well as Cody Maske and his wife.

“Tony, our Oklahoma ranch manager, and Cody, our ranch manager in Forest, help with breeding decisions and day-to-day operations,” Erin says. “And the kids are very hands-on. It’s been a huge character-builder for them and an opportunity to learn to take the good and the bad.”

But lately, they’ve been on a winning streak.

After the 2021 Dixie National, Ellie and two calves from an embryo flush all had division wins at the North American Junior Red Angus Event. And one, a calf they Vowells sold to a family in Colorado, went on to be named Reserve Champion Other Purebred Heifer at the Colorado State Fair.

“We love to see our customers successful,” Erin says. “And those cattle are special to us, too. We are just tickled.”

Molpus Woodlands Group LLC

Molpus Woodlands Group is one of the oldest timber-related companies in the United States with a storied history that dates to 1905. Over its 117-year history, Molpus has evolved from a mercantile store to a lumberyard, to a sawmill, and now to a timberland investment management organization (TIMO). Since its inception as a TIMO in 1996, Molpus has invested, on behalf of its clients, more than $4 billion across 4 million acres of timberland across the U.S.

Molpus acquires, manages and sells timberland as an investment vehicle for a variety of investors. It focuses on earning optimal cash returns while also being a good steward of the forests that it manages. Molpus incorporates environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies and practices into all its investment analysis and decision-making. The team at Molpus believes their strong ESG initiatives have positive implications for the environment and the communities in which they live and work.

Molpus has achieved many significant milestones in its ESG initiatives. Most recently, it celebrated the planting of 251 million trees since 1998 as part of its sustainable forest management program. Molpus recognizes the importance of land-based solutions and healthy forests in climate change mitigation and carbon sequestration. It is also actively engaged in nature- based carbon-offset projects that help preserve forests as carbon sinks. Carbon offsets represent an increase in carbon storage to compensate for carbon emissions that occur elsewhere. The company was awarded, on behalf of a client, the 2018 Carbon Project Developer of the Year award by the California Climate Action Reserve at the 2019 North American Carbon World conference held in Los Angeles, California.

Private working forests, such as those Molpus manages, are a fundamental part of the underlying infrastructure of the U.S. economy. These forests produce renewable, recyclable, and reusable wood and paper products that our economy depends on. These forests also absorb and store carbon, produce clean water and air, sustain vital biodiversity, provide recreation experiences and supply a growing resource for renewable energy.

Molpus also boasts many other ESG initiatives. It currently offers an annual scholarship program at five different universities that targets students in under-represented populations. Its objective is to help bring more diversity to the forestry management profession. Molpus also prides itself on employing qualified natural resources professionals to manage forests who have completed training programs that focus on issues like water quality and enhancing biodiversity. Molpus helps monitor and protect over 6,000 miles of streams and rivers to ensure clean water. It also monitors and preserves species of concern, including the grizzly bear, gopher tortoise and forest songbirds. All of Molpus’ management forests are certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative program (SFI) Forest Management Standard, which is recognized by the globally recognized Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). Where beneficial, additional certification to the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) standards is also obtained.

“Southern AgCredit has been a constant champion for Molpus and its success for more than a decade now. It is not just a transactional relationship for each party, it’s a partnership,” says Hunter Barlow, Southern AgCredit’s agribusiness portfolio manager. “It’s been Southern AgCredit’s knowledge of timber financing and unique loan products that has helped this relationship grow and flourish as it has.”

“We have worked with Southern AgCredit for many years as they understand our business and the needs of our sustainable forestry management. Their deep knowledge of our industry enables them to address our objectives and tailor lending solutions to our clients needs,” says Michael Cooper, Molpus’ senior director of client relations and business development. “Southern AgCredit comes from the rich history of the Federal Land Bank System, and their level of expertise in lending to the forestry industry is unique.”

Frasier Farms

Randy Frasier has been in the poultry business for over 30 years. Although this wasn’t where he started, he is proud of where he ended up. Poultry wasn’t the only thing that kept Randy busy. He also had a 30-year career with the City of Ruston, where he managed the city’s water and sewer systems. He’s since retired from the City of Ruston and is semiretired from the poultry business.

“I still go check on the chicken houses each day, and when I see something that needs attention, well, I tell the managers that they need to get to it,” Randy says with a laugh. The managers are Randy’s son and daughter-in-law, Travis and Leslie.

Frasier Farms consists of 29 acres and eight Class A broiler houses in Dubach. Randy built his first four chicken houses in 1990. After Randy retired from the city, he decided to expand his operation. “I thought, well, if I’m going to be in the chicken business, then I need to have more chicken houses.” So, that’s exactly what he did. He added 4 more houses to his poultry operation.

Randy knew Devin Davis, Southern AgCredit’s Ruston branch manager, from a previous job when Devin was in commercial banking. When Devin accepted the job at Southern AgCredit, he was asked if he knew anyone who raised chickens. “I sure do,” said Devin. “Mr. Randy was one of the first people I went to talk to about Southern AgCredit.”

It wasn’t long after this conversation that Randy walked through the doors of the Ruston branch and told Devin he’d like to move all his loans to Southern AgCredit. “Devin is just a good guy, and I like doing business with him and with Southern AgCredit,” Randy says.

Frasier Farms grows larger birds in the 10-pound range for the House of Raeford, their integrator. Their birds are NAE (no antibiotics ever) poultry. The Frasiers see a low mortality rate among their flocks, and their housing specs are in line with Raeford’s guidelines. “We produce a really good breed of chicken and we’re proud of that,” Randy says.

When Travis and Leslie got involved with the business, they decided to add cattle. They now have cows, heifers, calves and one bull. “My grandad always had cows when I was a little boy, and having my own cows was just something I always dreamed of,” says Travis.

Travis and Leslie manage the day-to-day operations of the farm. “My favorite part of all of this is knowing that I am helping to contribute to feeding America,” Leslie says. “That’s very important to us.”

When it comes to Travis, he enjoys being his own boss and working closely each day with his family. Travis and Leslie see their business expanding to hopefully include even more chicken houses in the future.

Randy’s wife, Kathy, works off the farm but is never too far away. “I’ve done my share of cleaning out chicken houses and feeding chickens,” Kathy says. She works in the office furniture business. She recently sold her business, but the new company asked her to stay on for guidance and direction, which she gladly accepted.

Randy is also a world-famous foxhound breeder. His tagline is Faith, Family, Foxhounds. “The good Lord has blessed us and keeps on blessing us,” he says.

Carson Smyly

“Southern AgCredit was one of the key factors allowing me to achieve my dream of becoming a farmer.”
—Carson Smyly

Carson Smyly is a fifth generation row crop farmer from the Mississippi Delta. He farms on acreage in Washington, Sunflower and Humphreys counties in Mississippi. Carson grows primarily soybeans, although he’s also raised other grain and cotton in previous years.

While Carson is only 28 years old, he has tremendous farming experience since he’s worked on a farm most of his life. His father, Doug Smyly, is also a full-time farmer and owns Smyly Planting Company in Hollandale. Carson has worked alongside his father for many years and attributes much of his farming knowledge to him. Doug and his wife, Nichole, became Southern AgCredit stockholders in 2004. They primarily farm soybeans and corn.

Carson signed on his first production loan with Southern AgCredit in 2015 and has had successful years since then. “Southern AgCredit was one of the key factors allowing me to achieve my dream of becoming a farmer,” said Carson.

Carson is married to the former Anna Coker of Stuttgart, Arkansas. Anna is a graduate research assistant at Mississippi State University and is studying to receive her Ph.D. in agronomy. Together, she and Carson have two young children, Sutton and John Douglas.

“I guess you could say that farming is most definitely not just an occupation to our family,” Carson says. “It is a way of life, and I couldn’t imagine it any other way.”

The Smyly family is a close-knit one. Being able to farm together is something that they truly enjoy. “Family is a big deal to us, and having the opportunity to work alongside my family day in and day out is an opportunity that cannot be topped,” Carson says.

The future is bright for the Smyly family and their farming operation. Their goals are to continue to grow in all aspects and ensure that farming is an option for their children to pursue should they desire to farm when they are grown.

“I couldn’t be more thankful to have had the pleasure of dealing with the hard-working, friendly and knowledgeable staff at Southern AgCredit — specifically our loan officer, Colton Thomas, who is also a friend,” Carson says.

 “Carson and I have known each other for most of our lives,” says Colton, a Southern AgCredit loan officer in Greenville. “We attended grade school together, and we both attended Mississippi State at the same time. I am fortunate to get to call Carson a friend of mine with whom I enjoy sharing a duck blind or making a farm visit.”

Colton, who also comes from a Delta farming family, knows the Smyly family’s work ethic because he’s seen it firsthand. Their families have been farming next to each other for many years.

“The Smylys take great pride in their operation. I look forward to working with them for many years to come,” says Colton.

Southern AgCredit Promotes Britny Hester to Chief Financial Officer

RIDGELAND, Miss. – Southern AgCredit, a rural lending cooperative, recently promoted Britny Hester to chief financial officer.

Hester is a certified public accountant and holds a bachelor’s degree from Mississippi College. She joined Southern AgCredit in April 2013 as the association’s treasurer later was promoted to the association’s controller.

Hester was previously in public accounting, providing auditing and consulting services primarily to Farm Credit System institutions. She lives in Jackson, Mississippi with her husband, Trey; together they have two children.   

“Britny is a valuable team member to our association, and I’m thrilled to promote her to the position of chief financial officer,” said Phillip Morgan, Southern AgCredit’s CEO. “I look forward to working alongside her as she leads our finance and accounting areas.”   

Britny Hester, CPA

Southern AgCredit Hires New Employees

Southern AgCredit, a rural lending cooperative, recently hired three new team members:  

Stephen Bass is vice president of lending for the Newton branch office. He was vice president of Community Bank in Meridian for the past 8 years. Before Community Bank, he had a combined 10 years of experience in Farm Credit. He is a graduate of Mississippi State University with a bachelor’s of science degree in forest management and a master’s degree in agribusiness management. Bass resides in Meridian with his two children.

Michelle Robinson is a loan administrator for the Hattiesburg branch office. Before joining Southern AgCredit, she worked 19 years as a real estate paralegal with Jackson, Tullos, Rogers & Morgan, PLLC. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Southern Mississippi. She and her spouse, Dustin have two children.

Adam Young is a senior loan officer for the Shreveport branch office. Before joining Southern AgCredit, he spent 18 years with the David Toms Foundation before most recently serving as vice president of commercial lending for B1Bank in Shreveport. Young holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communication from Louisiana State University.  He and his spouse, Lucy have four daughters.

“We are excited to welcome Stephen, Michelle and Adam to the Southern AgCredit team,” said CEO Phillip Morgan. “They each bring their own unique set of skills to our association and I look forward to working with them as we continue to meet the needs of our customer-owners.”

Southern AgCredit Promotes Rural Lending Co-op Staff Members

RIDGELAND, Miss. – Southern AgCredit recently promoted six employees.

  • Ted Murkerson, chief credit officer, was promoted from senior vice president to executive vice president. He began his Farm Credit career in 1992 working for Northwest Florida Farm Credit and later joined Southwest Georgia Farm Credit, both within the AgFirst District. He was formerly a relationship manager at Farm Credit Bank of Texas and joined Southern AgCredit in 2008. Murkerson is an active member of the Farm Credit Chief Credit Officer Workgroup and has served on several FCC Services steering committees. He is a graduate of Troy State University with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration and lives in Jackson, Mississippi.
  • Steele Hardin was promoted from loan officer trainee to loan officer in the Greenwood branch office. Hardin graduated from Mississippi State University with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology. He began his career with Mississippi Farm Bureau Insurance, first as an agent in Jackson and later in Indianola. He resides in Greenwood with his wife, Sarah Beth, and their daughter. 
  • Holly Greco was promoted to loan administrator of the Greenville branch office. She joined Southern AgCredit in August 2018. Greco has a degree in phlebotomy from Mississippi Delta Community College. She and her husband, John Michael, live in Leland with their two sons.
  • Lylla Joe was promoted to marketing and communications manager in the Ridgeland administrative office. Joe holds a bachelor’s degree in fashion merchandising and a master’s of business administration degree from Delta State University. She joined Southern AgCredit in 2013 as a credit analyst then was named marketing coordinator in October 2017. Joe and her husband, Michael, live in Madison with their two children.
  • Jenna Peyton was promoted to loan administrator in the Greenville branch office. Peyton, who holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Middle Tennessee State University, joined Southern AgCredit in 2018 as an office administrator. Originally from Dyersburg, Tenn., Peyton has lived in the Mississippi Delta for 15 years with her husband, Bryan, and their two children.
  • Dana Smith was promoted to loan administrator of the Greenwood branch office. She has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Delta State University. Smith joined Southern AgCredit in 2017 as an office administrator. She and her husband, Scott, live in Carrollton with their daughter.

“We have a talented staff here at Southern AgCredit,” said CEO Phillip Morgan. “It’s a pleasure to recognize these individuals for their hard work and commitment to the success of our association and our customer-owners.”

Southern AgCredit Holds Ceremonial Groundbreaking for New Headquarters and Branch

Southern AgCredit held a groundbreaking ceremony on December 14, 2021, celebrating the start of construction on its new headquarters and branch. The new building will be located at 306 Commerce Center Drive in Ridgeland, Mississippi. 

The rural lending cooperative specializes in financing land and agricultural operations. Its territory includes the southernmost 50 counties in Mississippi and 11 parishes in Northwest Louisiana.  

The new building will encompass 19,000 square feet of office space, as well as 10,000 square feet of outside event space. It’s expected the project will be completed in January 2023.

“The new building will allow us to continue to grow, but more importantly it will give us more space to better serve our borrower-owners,” said Phillip Morgan, Southern AgCredit chief executive officer. “We outgrew our current space in 2018 and had to purchase a second building, so our administrative team has been split between two buildings in Ridgeland for a few years now. I look forward to the day we can all come back together and operate in one building.”

Morgan said the new space will also give Southern AgCredit the ability to host outdoor events for its borrower-owners.

“We are outdoor people by nature. We love to host our stockholders and others in the community, and the new outdoor event space will be the perfect setting for events to come.”

Participating with Morgan in the symbolic ground-breaking were the Southern AgCredit board of directors, H.C. “Buster” Bailey Jr., the Honorable Gene McGee, Dale Partners Architect, P.A., and Alliant Construction. 

2022 Event Preview: Southern AgCredit at the Dixie National Rodeo and North Louisiana Agri-Business Council Ag Expo

Southern AgCredit is preparing for our biggest year yet! We will start 2022 with presenting sponsorships at two big events for outdoor enthusiasts and people in agribusiness: the Dixie National Livestock Show and Rodeo and the North Louisiana Ag Expo.

The Dixie National Livestock Show and Rodeo: January 19 – February 20

Presenting Sponsorship

Southern AgCredit has enjoyed a long relationship with the Dixie National Livestock Show and Rodeo. Both events celebrate rural life in Mississippi, and many of our stockholders and their families compete in and attend the event every year. While Southern AgCredit has sponsored the Rodeo and Livestock Show for decades, we wanted to step it up. To showcase our commitment to rural life and agricultural entrepreneurs who live life outside the city limits, we are now the presenting sponsor. 

Entertainment

Dixie National Livestock Show and Rodeo Poster

The entertainment lineup for the Dixie National Livestock Show and Rodeo has been announced, and tickets are on sale now.

DatePerformerTime
Friday, February 11 Dylan Scott7:00 PM (tickets)
Saturday, February 12Joe Nichols2:00 PM (tickets)
Saturday, February 12Joe Nichols7:00 PM (tickets)
Sunday, February 13 The Gatlin Brothers2:00 PM (tickets)
Wednesday, February 16 Justin Moore7:00 PM (tickets)
Thursday, February 17 Neal McCoy7:00 PM (tickets)
Friday, February 18 Gary Allan7:00 PM (tickets)
Saturday, February 19 Bellamy Brothers2:00 PM (tickets)
Bellamy Brothers7:00 PM (tickets)

Mississippi Ag and Outdoor Expo – Spring Edition

The spring edition of the Mississippi Ag and Outdoor Expo, also presented by Southern AgCredit, will be held during the first weekend of the rodeo, February 11 – 13, 2022, at the new Mississippi Trade Mart. Swing by the Southern AgCredit booth to meet our team and pick up some free swag.

The expo will be convenient for rodeo attendees, as the new Trade Mart is located between the Mississippi Coliseum and the Kirk Fordice Equine Center. The Mississippi Ag and Outdoor Expo’s vendors will be focused on:

  • Turkey hunting
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Farm equipment
  • Tractors and power equipment

Dates

  • Friday, February 11: 12:00 – 7:00 PM
  • Saturday, February 12: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Sunday, February 13: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM (Kids 12 and under FREE on Sunday)

Location

Mississippi Coliseum and Fairgrounds
1207 Mississippi Street
Jackson, MS 39202 (directions)

Tickets

  • Adults: $12
  • Kids 6 – 12: $6
  • 5 and Under: FREE

North Louisiana Agri-Business Council Ag Expo: January 14 – 15

Southern AgCredit is the presenting sponsor of the North Louisiana Agri-Business Council Ag Expo. Expo exhibitors will include the latest hunting and fishing gear, agricultural tools, outdoor equipment and much more.

Southern AgCredit Booth Giveaway

Come meet the friendly staff of Southern AgCredit at our booth in the Expo. We’d love to chat, get you a free tote bag and enter you into our giveaway. 

One lucky visitor to our booth will win a brand new, 2022 Honda FourTrax Rancher 4×4.

Dates

  • Friday, January 14th, 2:00 – 8:00 PM
  • Saturday, January 15th, 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Location

Ike Hamilton Expo Center

501 Mane St.
West Monroe, LA 71292 (directions)

Tickets

Advance tickets $5

Purchase tickets during regular business hours at these locations:

MONROE – Louisiana Land Bank, ACA, 2411 Tower Drive

WEST MONROE – Ike Hamilton Expo Center, 501 Mane St

RUSTON – Irrigation-Mart, 200 S. Service Rd. East

Admission at the door $7

Children under 6 FREE


For more information on financing with Southern AgCredit, please contact us or visit our office near you. We look forward to seeing you in 2022!

Rural Lending Co-op Hires Loan Administrator in Greenwood

Southern AgCredit recently hired Barbara Box as a loan administrator in its Greenwood branch office.  The rural lending cooperative specializes in financing land and agricultural operations in Mississippi and Louisiana.

Box started her career in banking at Bank of Commerce in 2002 where she was most recently assistant vice president in loan administration management and operations / compliance training.  She is married to Bobby Box of Greenwood and they have one child.

“Barbara brings extensive experience to the team and we are excited to have her in our Greenwood branch office,” said Phillip Morgan, Southern AgCredit CEO.

Barbara Box

Commissioner Gipson Announces Additions to the Dixie National Livestock Show and Rodeo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 8, 2021

JACKSON, Miss. – Today, Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson announced several additions to the 2022 Dixie National Livestock Show and Rodeo during a press conference held at the Mississippi Trade Mart. Commissioner Gipson was joined by Scotty Lovelace, owner of Harper & Morgan Rodeo; Phillip D. Morgan, CEO of Southern AgCredit; and Don Brazil, CEO of the Foundation for Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.

“I am excited to announce Southern AgCredit as the new title sponsor for the annual Dixie National Livestock Show and Rodeo,” said Commissioner Gipson. “Also this year, our agency is partnering with the Foundation for Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks to hold the Spring Edition of the Mississippi Ag and Outdoor Expo during an extended weekend of the Dixie National Rodeo. This adds another dynamic to the traditional events held during Dixie National. Visitors from across the country look forward to this annual, month-long agricultural event, and I believe it will be bigger and better than ever.”

“We are delighted to be the title sponsor of the Dixie National Livestock Show and Rodeo. We know Southern AgCredit and the Dixie National are a natural pair,” said Morgan. “We both have deep roots in Mississippi and the surrounding area, as well as an affinity for serving those with a passion for agriculture. We look forward to working together to make the 57th Dixie National the greatest yet!”

“On behalf of our Foundation Board, I want to express how incredibly excited we are to present the Spring Edition of the Mississippi Ag and Outdoor Expo at the Dixie National Rodeo,” said Brazil.

Today, Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson announced several additions to the 2022 Dixie National Livestock Show and Rodeo during a press conference held at the Mississippi Trade Mart. Commissioner Gipson was joined by (from left to right) Michael Lasseter, director of the Mississippi State Fairgrounds; Scotty Lovelace, owner of Harper & Morgan Rodeo; Phillip Morgan, CEO of Southern AgCredit; Commissioner Gipson; and Don Brazil, CEO of the Foundation for Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.

The Dixie National Livestock Show and Rodeo, the largest rodeo event east of the Mississippi River, brings in participates from all over the world and generates millions of dollars in the local economy. This coming year, the rodeo competitions will be extended to include a second weekend, February 11-13 and 16-19. The entertainment lineup for the 2022 Dixie National Rodeo includes Dylan Scott, Joe Nichols, the Gatlin Brothers, Gary Allan, Neal McCoy, Justin Moore and Bellamy Brothers.

“Harper & Morgan Rodeo is very proud of the past success of the Dixie National Rodeo and even more excited for the future. The renovations to the fairgrounds, the Coliseum, and the Trade Mart are a part of making the Dixie National Rodeo a huge success. With the support of our partners and their continued investment, The Dixie National Rodeo will be second to none,” said Lovelace.

The 57th Annual Dixie National Livestock Show and Rodeo will run Wednesday, January 19, through Sunday, February 20, 2022, at the Mississippi State Fairgrounds. Visit dixienational.org for more information as it becomes available.

For more information, contact:

Paige Manning, Director of Marketing and Public Relations

(601) 359-1163 / cell: (662) 312-5897

paige@mdac.ms.gov

Hannah East, Marketing Specialist

(601) 359-1179

hannae@mdac.ms.gov

Southern AgCredit Promotes Seven Associates

Southern AgCredit, a rural lender serving Mississippi and Louisiana, recently promoted seven employees.

Brent Barry was promoted to regional president. Barry holds a bachelor’s degree in forest management from Mississippi State University. After graduation from MSU, he worked at Forest Resource Consultants in Quitman, until he joined Southern AgCredit as a loan officer in May 2003. Since then, he has served the association as the Hattiesburg branch manager and then a regional vice president. He resides in Sumrall with his wife, Dana, and their three children.   

Clayton Davis was promoted to regional president. Davis earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Mississippi State University. He joined Southern AgCredit in January 2006 as a loan officer trainee. He was promoted to loan officer then vice president and branch manager of the Greenville branch, before serving as a regional vice president, his most recent position. Davis lives in Avon with his wife, Kelli, and their two sons. 

Jamey Nicholas was promoted to regional president. Nicholas has a bachelor’s degree in real estate and finance from Mississippi State University. He began at Southern AgCredit in 2011 as a loan officer trainee. Since then, he has served as a loan officer, Ridgeland’s branch manager and most recently as a regional vice president. Nicholas is a board member of the Mississippi River Landowners Alliance and is active in Ducks Unlimited, NWTF and QDMA. He resides in Jackson with his wife, Mary Hampton, and their two children.

Kevin Brown was promoted to vice president and branch manager of the Ridgeland branch office. He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and an MBA from the University of Mississippi. Brown joined Southern AgCredit in 2017 as a credit analyst and has been a loan officer in the Ridgeland branch for the past three years. Previously, he worked in lending at Community Bank. Brown and his wife, Carly, live in Madison.

Elliott Fancher, vice president and branch manager of the Greenwood branch office, was promoted to manager of both the Greenwood and Greenville branches. Fancher holds a bachelor’s degree in animal science with a minor in agricultural business from Mississippi State University. He joined the association in 2006. He lives in Duck Hill with his wife, Stacia, and two children.   

Matthew Rounsaville was promoted to vice president and branch manager of the Hattiesburg branch office. Rounsaville holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Mississippi State University. He joined Southern AgCredit in December 2010 as a loan officer in the Newton branch. He then transferred to the Hattiesburg branch, where he was vice president of lending and most recently assistant branch manager. Rounsaville and his wife, Kelly Ray, live in Ellisville with their daughter. 

Adam Lowman was promoted to vice president of technology in the Ridgeland administrative office. Lowman is a Virginia College graduate and has over 19 years’ experience in IT-related roles, including stints at Baptist Health Systems and Conduent. He resides in Brandon with his wife, Lara, and their two sons.

“These seven individuals bring valuable expertise and strong leadership skills to Southern AgCredit,” said CEO Phillip Morgan. “They’ve contributed enormously to our cooperative’s success, and it’s a pleasure to recognize them with well-deserved promotions.”

COVID-19 Update 8.5.21

At Southern AgCredit, we place the highest priority on the safety of our borrowers and employees. As you may be aware, the number of COVID-19 cases has increased considerably in Louisiana and Mississippi with the Delta variant being the chief cause of infection.

As of Thursday, August 5, all Southern AgCredit branches are closed to walk in traffic, however our lending staff is available by appointment.

The following information is to notify you about the resources Southern AgCredit has available that will allow you to receive funding and make payments remotely.

  • Online Banking: connect with your accounts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. With Ag Banking Online you can view your loan balances, payment history, and interest paid. You can also set up automatic payments and e-statements, request draws, and send messages to our support team. Learn more: southernagcredit.com/enroll
  • Mobile Banking App: download our mobile app to help manage your account anytime and anywhere from your mobile device or tablet. You can find the Southern AgCredit app in your mobile device’s app store.
  • Phone and Email: We are happy to assist you via email or phone. All branch email addresses are listed at the bottom of this letter.  You can find other contact information for your local branch here: southernagcredit.com/locations

We want to thank you for trusting Southern AgCredit as your rural financial partner. We remain committed to our borrowers and to financing life outside the city limits!

Sincerely,

Phillip D. Morgan
Chief Executive Officer
Southern AgCredit

SOUTHERN AGCREDIT BRANCH EMAIL ADDRESSES

BranchEmail Address
Ridgeland / Corporatesmsridgeland@southernagcredit.com
Brookhavensmsbrookhaven@southernagcredit.com
Greenvillesmsgreenville@southernagcredit.com
Greenwoodsmsgreenwood@southernagcredit.com
Gulfportsmsgulfport@southernagcredit.com
Hattiesburgsmshattiesburg@southernagcredit.com
Newtonsmsnewton@southernagcredit.com
Rustonsmsruston@southernagcredit.com
Shreveportsmsshreveport@southernagcredit.com

Farm Credit Administration Releases Interactive Timeline

FCA Congratulates the Farm Credit System on its 105th Anniversary

McLEAN, Va., July 22, 2021 — Last Saturday, July 17, was the 105th anniversary of the date President Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Farm Loan Act in 1916, which created what we now know as the Farm Credit System. In commemoration of this anniversary, the Farm Credit Administration — the regulator of the Farm Credit System — announces the publication of an interactive history timeline on its website.

The Model of the U.S. Farm Credit System

Congress passed the 1916 legislation (PDF) in response to President Wilson’s Rural Credits Commission. Building on an earlier study by President Taft’s European study commission, President Wilson’s commission traveled extensively throughout Europe to learn about the cooperative agricultural and rural credit delivery systems there. The commission presented its findings in a 1913 report, Agricultural Cooperation and Rural Credit in Europe, an original copy of which FCA has restored and plans to display at its headquarters in McLean, Virginia.

“The story of the Farm Credit System has an interesting twist,” says FCA Chairman and CEO Glen Smith. “When faced with the difficulty of providing adequate, affordable credit to U.S. farmers, ranchers, and other rural Americans, the United States studied rural credit delivery systems in Europe in the early 20th century and modeled its solution — the cooperative Farm Credit System — after those systems.

“Now, a century later, other nations, when seeking ways to better meet their own rural credit needs, periodically send delegations here to learn about the Farm Credit System. As a nation, I think we can feel very proud of that — and very honored to have the opportunity to ‘pay it forward,’” he says.

The Farm Credit System is a nationwide network of banks and associations that lend to farmers, ranchers, agricultural cooperatives, and other eligible borrowers. It’s the nation’s oldest government-sponsored enterprise, set up solely to meet the credit needs of agriculture and rural America.

“In addition to serving the direct credit needs of farmers and ranchers, System institutions also provide financing for the infrastructure that supports production agriculture,” says FCA Board Member Jeff Hall. “They support agricultural processing and marketing operations and the distribution systems that get the products from the farm to the consumer.”

The Establishment of the U.S. Farm Credit System

In signing the Federal Farm Loan Act on July 17, 1916, President Wilson spoke eloquently of protecting the interests of farmers. “The farmers, it seems to me, have occupied hitherto a singular position of disadvantage. While they sustained our life, they did not, in the same degree with some others, share in the benefits of that life. Therefore, this bill . . . puts them upon an equality with all others who have genuine assets and makes the great credit of the country available to them.”

In addition to describing the 1916 legislation creating the System, the timeline highlights many other important events in the history of the System and its regulator — from the days of the Great Depression, through the farm crisis of the 1980s, to the COVID-19 pandemic of the present day. The timeline also covers important farm credit-related legislation in the past 100 years and profiles FCA’s governors and board chairs.

“The Farm Credit System is an important reason that the U.S. ag industry is so strong,” says Chairman Smith. “Farming is a capital-intensive enterprise, and the industry could not have grown to the size it is today without reliable and affordable credit. And it’s the System’s status as a government-sponsored enterprise that makes its credit reliable and affordable,” he says. “The System is publicly mandated to serve agriculture in good times and in bad.”

Farm Credit’s Continued Success

Several factors have contributed to the System’s long-term success, but Board Member Hall believes the System’s status as a cooperative is one of the most significant. “Structured as cooperatives, all System banks and associations are owned and governed by their farmer-borrowers. This ensures that they are responsive to the needs of their borrowers. It also ensures that they can adapt readily to the changing landscape of agriculture,” he says.

U.S. Farm Credit Today

Today, the System remains safe and sound, providing loans to almost 600,000 customers. It’s also estimated to provide around 45% of the nation’s farm credit. It comprises 71 institutions, which are governed by the customers they serve. The System continues to deliver on the promises President Wilson described 105 years ago. The Farm Credit Administration, which celebrated its 88th anniversary (PDF) in March, invites the public to visit its timeline to learn about U.S. agricultural history and to check back often for updates.


Talk to Southern AgCredit About Your Credit Needs

Southern AgCredit is a Farm Credit institution providing financing for life in the country—whether you have a rural vacation home, hunting camp, or are a farmer in need to operating lines of credit or credit to open a new operation. To get started, contact a loan officer.

Directors Bell and Eubanks Reelected to Southern AgCredit Board

RIDGELAND, Miss. — Stockholders of Southern AgCredit recently reelected Bryan “Scott” Bell of Lena, Mississippi, and Charles “Allen” Eubanks of Lucedale, Mississippi, to the lending cooperative’s board of directors. They will each serve three-year terms.

Bell is the owner/operator of Bell Livestock, Inc. and serves on the board of directors of Bell Farms, Inc.  Both corporations are cattle, poultry and row crop operations in Scott and Leake counties in Mississippi. 

Eubanks is the owner/operator of Eubanks Produce, Inc., Melon Acres, LLC, Eubanks Land Company, LLC, Double AJ Packers, LLC, and Charlie’s U-Pik, LLC. 

Southern AgCredit’s 2021 Nominating Committee consists of the following stockholders: Tim Clements, Delta Region; Alan Ezelle, Central Region; Kati Crager, Southern Region; Thomas Wade, Louisiana Region; J. Blake McCartney, Louisiana Region.        

“Serving on the board of directors is a critical oversight role for the strategic direction of Southern AgCredit.  Directors are responsible for setting policy and direction for the co-op, while representing the concerns of the members they represent,” said Phillip Morgan, Southern AgCredit chief executive officer. “We’re grateful for Scott and Allen’s board service and tenure in prior years, and we look forward to working with them again.”

The complete Southern AgCredit 10-member board includes Mississippi directors Reggie Allen of Brookhaven, Bryan “Scott” Bell of Lena, Lonnie “Gene” Boykin of Rolling Fork, Steven “Steve” Dockens of Ocean Springs, Charles “Allen” Eubanks of Lucedale, Larry W. Killebrew of Lexington, Kevin Rhodes of Pelahatchie and Linda S. Staniszewski of Hattiesburg; and Louisiana directors John “Van” Bennett of Spearsville and Thomas C. “T.C.” Hall of Gloster.

Scott Bell
Allen Eubanks

Rural Lending Co-op Makes Staffing Changes

RIDGELAND, Mississippi – Southern AgCredit recently added staff members to its Gulfport and Ridgeland lending teams and promoted three credit analysts.

The rural lending cooperative specializes in financing land and agricultural operations in Mississippi and Louisiana.

Laura Michini was hired as a loan administrator in the Gulfport branch office. Previously, she was a closing assistant for Pilger Title Co. She attended the University of Mississippi, William Carey University and Pearl River Community College. Michini lives in Ocean Springs with her husband, Dominick, and daughter, Juliette.

Camdon Taylor was hired as a credit analyst in the Ridgeland administrative office. He received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Louisiana State University Shreveport. A native of Shreveport, he now resides in Jackson, Mississippi. 

Kirby Keith was promoted to senior credit analyst in the Ridgeland administrative office. Keith is a native of Decatur, Mississippi, and lives in Madison with his wife, Stephanie. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Mississippi State University and is a graduate of the University of Mississippi School of Banking. Prior to joining Southern AgCredit in 2018, Keith was an assistant vice president with Community Bank, where he worked as a commercial and consumer loan officer.

Mallory Kellar was promoted to credit analyst in the Gulfport branch office. She earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Southern Mississippi. Kellar was employed at PJ’s Coffee for seven years prior to joining Southern AgCredit. She recently married Evan Kellar, an independent insurance agent in Picayune, Mississippi.

Melanie Lien was promoted to senior credit analyst in the Ridgeland administrative office. She joined Southern AgCredit in 2018 after working in the Madison County School District’s finance department. Previously, she worked for five years in credit/underwriting at a local bank. Melanie holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Mississippi College. Originally from Forest, Mississippi, she now resides in Madison with her husband, Adam. 

“Southern AgCredit is pleased to welcome Laura and Camdon to the team and to recognize Kirby, Mallory and Melanie with well-deserved promotions,” said Phillip Morgan, Southern AgCredit chief executive officer. “As we continue to grow, their hard work and expertise is critical to our success. We appreciate their many contributions to the association.”

Rural Lending Co-op Hires Loan Officer and Promotes Associate

RIDGELAND, Miss. – Southern AgCredit recently added to its lending staff and named a new human resources manager. The rural lending cooperative specializes in financing land and agricultural operations in Mississippi and Louisiana.

Steele Hardin has joined Southern AgCredit as a loan officer in its Greenwood, Mississippi, branch office. Hardin graduated from Mississippi State University with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology. He began his career with Mississippi Farm Bureau Insurance, first as an agent in Jackson and later in Indianola. He resides in Greenwood with his wife, Sarah Beth, and their daughter.   

Kim Webb has been promoted to human resources and office manager in the cooperative’s Ridgeland administrative office. Webb joined Southern AgCredit in 2014 as an office administrator. Prior to that, she was a customer service representative for a local commercial bank. A native of Amite, Louisiana, she resides in Flora, Mississippi, with her husband and their children. 

“Steele is an excellent addition to the local lending team, and I’m excited to work with Kim in her new role in human resources,” said Phillip Morgan, Southern AgCredit CEO. “The talent we have here at Southern AgCredit is top-notch.”

Steele Hardin
Kim Webb

Southern AgCredit Promotes Associate in Newton Branch Office

RIDGELAND, Miss.—Southern AgCredit recently promoted Brittany Miller to loan administrator. She works in the rural lending cooperative’s branch office in Newton, Mississippi.    

Miller holds a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from Mississippi State University. She joined Southern AgCredit as an office administrator in 2019. Before that, she worked as a loan assistant for BankFirst in Newton. She and her husband, Joe, have two daughters, Layla and Sophie. The family resides in Garlandville, Mississippi.

“Brittany is a valued member of our team,” said Phillip Morgan, Southern AgCredit chief executive officer. I’m confident she’ll excel in her new role and continue to meet the needs of our customers.”

Southern AgCredit is a full-service co-op lender that specializes in financing rural land and agricultural operations in Mississippi and Louisiana. It is a member of the Farm Credit System, the nation’s largest source of loans for agriculture, agribusiness, rural real estate and country homes.

Brittany Miller

Southern AgCredit Awards $30,000 in Scholarships to Mississippi and Louisiana Students

RIDGELAND, Mississippi — Southern AgCredit, a rural financing cooperative, is pleased to announce its 2021 scholarship recipients. The co-op awarded over $30,000 in scholarships to 28 students.   

To qualify, each applicant had to be a current Southern AgCredit borrower, or a current borrower’s child, grandchild or spouse. Selection criteria included academics, leadership, extracurricular activities and an essay by the student.

A total of 26 students each received a $1,000 scholarship.

In addition, Southern AgCredit awarded two recipients with $2,500 scholarships. These special scholarships honor two former longtime Southern AgCredit board members — Jimmie Dick Carter and Emery Skelton. They are awarded to deserving students who attend or are planning to attend Mississippi State University and major in agriculture or a related field.

By supporting ag education with 28 scholarships, Southern AgCredit seeks to fuel the future of the agriculture industry.

“We’re proud to do our part to help these students pursue their dreams,” said Southern AgCredit Chief Executive Officer Phillip Morgan. “They have shown the work ethic, determination and drive to keep agriculture thriving in Mississippi and Louisiana. We wish them much success in their future endeavors.”

Following are the recipients and the colleges they are attending.  

$2500 – Jimmie Dick Carter Scholarship
Hanna Knight
Smithdale, Mississippi
Mississippi State University

$2500 – Emery Skelton Scholarship
James Neil III
McCarley, Mississippi
Mississippi State University

$1000 – scholarship recipients
Adyson Tadlock
Forest, Mississippi
East Central Community College

Allie Fontenot
Gray, Louisiana
Belhaven University

Amber Scroggins
Natchez, Mississippi
Mississippi State University

Anna Blackwell
Raleigh, Mississippi
Jones College

Benjamin Sessions
St. Francisville, Louisiana
Mississippi State University or UT Chattanooga

Brandon McCurdy
Poplarville, Mississippi
Pearl River Community College

Drake Clegg
Yazoo City, Mississippi
Mississippi State University

Dempsie McDill
Forest, Mississippi
East Central Community College

Eli Fratesi
Leland, Mississippi
Copiah Lincoln Community College

Emma Grace Rutherford
Rolling Fork, Mississippi
Mississippi State University

Ethan Ezelle
Morton, Mississippi
Mississippi State University

Grace Hitchcock
Mandeville, Louisiana
University of Mississippi

Gracie Wilson
Union, Mississippi
East Central Community College

Grason Marter
Cordova, Tennessee
University of Memphis

Hannah Garvin
Louin, Mississippi
Mississippi State University

Hayden Kilgore
Taylorsville, Mississippi
Jones College

Holden Brown
Louin, Mississippi
Jones College

Ivey Anne Speights
Jayess, Mississippi
Southwest Community College

Jacob White
Simsboro, Louisiana
Louisiana Tech University

Jessica Fulgham
Itta Bena, Mississippi
Mississippi Delta Community College

Kathleen Carson
Greenville, Mississippi
East Mississippi Community College

Kaylee Boykin
Rolling Fork, Mississippi
Mississippi Delta Community College

Lee Hill
Decatur, Mississippi
Jones College

Rayne Theunissen
Hollandale, Mississippi
Mississippi State University

Seth Cook
Flowood, Mississippi
University of Mississippi

Stephen Dooley
Utica, Mississippi
Mississippi State University

Priest Family

Slade Priest, also known as the “Hunting Land Man,” is a hunting land specialist and licensed real estate agent. He’s the host of several hunting television shows and podcasts. Slade was born and raised in Centreville, Mississippi where he continues to live today along with his family—wife Lori, son Bentley, daughter Asa, and a baby boy due in May. “If I could live anywhere in the country, I’d pick right here,” said Slade.  

When he’s not selling hunting land, Slade is deer hunting, turkey hunting or spending time with family. He grew up in a family who hunted, so hunting and family go hand in hand. It’s just part of who they are. “I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I didn’t spend every waking hour in the woods growing up,” explained Slade.     

Slade believes buying land is a good investment, but there’s just something special about recreational land. 

“Recreational land is emotional,” he said. If your son or daughter kills their first deer or turkey on that land, then those are the memories that we will hold on to and that is what makes recreational land so special.” To Slade, there’s much more to it than just a rate of return on his investment. There’s a level of fun and excitement that you can’t find just anywhere.   

“Southern AgCredit understands land and land financing. They make the process easy, fun, and they just get it.”
— Slade Priest

“My whole life I’ve wanted to have my own tract of land with my house on it, which would also be a place where my family could go hunting or ride four-wheelers or things like that,” said Slade. “The week we moved in, I saw a doe and an eight-point buck walk through my front yard. I knew at that point, I’d made it. This was exactly what I had been looking for.”     

Slade attributes his strong work ethic to his parents. He’s never been one to shy away from working hard to get what he wanted. Slade doesn’t believe in idle time—there’s always something for him to do, whether it be filling up a feeder, making a food plot, working on hunting land maps or trying to figure out how to buy or lease more land. Now he and Lori feel that they are called to teach their children how to work hard on their land, and hopefully they will carry on the tradition. “It’s building a legacy,” said Slade. 

Slade comes from a long line of Southern AgCredit borrowers. He grew up hearing his grandparents and parents talk about owning land and knew when it became his turn, he would also contact Southern AgCredit for his own financing needs.

“Southern AgCredit understands land and land financing. They make the process easy, fun, and they just get it,” said Slade. 

Southern AgCredit is proud to help members just like the Priest family own land in the country. Learn more about recreational land loans, or contact Southern AgCredit to get started.

Shoemake Family

The Shoemake’s Journey to Life in the Country

The Shoemakes were tired of the big-city life and dreamed of living in the country. They decided to make their dream a reality and built a log home in the small community of Vancleave, Mississippi. 

Both Harry and Clarice were born and raised in the country but migrated to the city of Laurel. Then they moved to Biloxi area because of their business. Harry and his son, Sean, own Employee Benefit Specialists, PA. The company specializes in the design, communication and enrollment of voluntary benefits and group insurance. They started the company in 1967 and expanded in 2010 to include US Select Insurance, LLA, which writes P&C and Commercial Insurance. It’s still operating today. 

Finding the Right Tract

They began looking at land in rural areas that would be large enough for their whole family. The couple has four grandchildren, so it was very important to have lots of space. They found the perfect tract of land to build their log cabin on. Sean and his family built their home next door. Having their family as next-door neighbors is a blessing that they are thankful for. Their oldest son, Lee, and his family live in Atlanta, but Harry and Clarice are hopeful that they will relocate to Vancleave at retirement. 

The Shoemakes are excited about having the whole gang over to their new country home where they can ride four-wheelers, watch football, and enjoy being together as a family. On the farm, there’s always something to do. 

“The more things change, the more they stay the same,” commented Harry. “Life makes a circle. I started out on the farm, then moved to the city but as I got older, I wanted to get away from the city and back to the farm. We wanted to get back to nature, a simpler time and a slower pace.” The Shoemakes found that slower paced life in Vancleave. 

Financing Rural Country Homes with Southern AgCredit

Several years ago, a banker friend told Harry about Southern AgCredit as he wasn’t familiar with Farm Credit, where farm and agricultural lending are the primary focus. When they decided to buy their tract of land, Harry and Sean knew just the right place to call for financing. They met Alex Riser, Southern AgCredit’s Gulfport branch manager who gave them the best deal on land financing. 

“The Shoemakes are great folks,” Alex said. “I loved being able to work with them and help them with the financing of their beautiful country home.”

The Shoemakes have been Southern AgCredit members since 2017.

“Southern AgCredit was a perfect fit for us,” agreed Harry and Clarice. 

Finance Your Country Home with a Loan from Southern AgCredit

Southern AgCredit is proud to help families live their dream of owning a home outside the city limits. Read more about our loans for country homes and homesites or get in touch with us today.