The farm has been an ever evolving classroom for me. It's where I learned to drive. It's where I learned to work until the job was done. It was where I learned teamwork. It was where I learned the value of family. It taught lessons in legacy. It revealed God's masterpiece of His world over and over again.
It's helped me overcome fears. For example, I was pretty nervous the first time I got into the Army truck turned feed truck as the principal driver. But I did it anyway. And then I got pretty good at it.
But our farm was a classroom of another sort for some Farm Service Agency employees. The week before the sale, four new FSA employees traveled from across the state and wandered among our machinery with two veteran employees. The new FSA employees were evaluating several pieces of equipment and were then to assign a value on them.
This process is something they have to do at work as they evaluate loans for their agricultural customers. What are their customers' current assets worth? How much debt can they service?
They clicked snapshots and made notes and were then supposed to compile a value. And, based on their evaluation, they either passed or failed the test. Randy asked: Yes, some of them fail. (We don't know the end result from the FSA employees who traveled to our farm for their boots-on-the-ground test.)
Kim, a veteran employee from the Washington (KS) FSA office, said many of the ag lenders in the FSA offices have agricultural backgrounds. However, farming varies across the state. In addition, some of them may have come from family crop operations. Others may be more versed in livestock operations. Going to different farms across different parts of the state is designed to expose them to the wide variety of equipment and situations they may face as FSA employees.
We got a loan from FSA early in our marriage/farm partnership. It's when commercial loans were running at approximately 18 percent. FSA loans were at 4 or 5 percent. We appreciated that opportunity. It's kind of gratifying to know that farmers and ranchers who may need similar loans may get the funds they need through the FSA employees/agencies that came to our farm for hands-on training.
Randy was hoping to hear how the student appraisers valued our machinery. However, the students were basically collecting data and then went back to their home counties to make their assessments.