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