18th Annual Ag Leadership Institute

Field of greens under clouded sky

STATESVILLE, NC – Carolina Farm Credit recently hosted its 18th annual Agricultural Leadership Institute in Asheville, N.C. The institute, held at Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, N.C., brought together and celebrated young, beginning, and small farmers. It was created to equip these farmers to meet the challenges of modern agriculture and encourages the sharing of ideas and networking within the industry.  This year’s 23 participants were couples or individuals from farms across Carolina Farm Credit’s territory and were selected for their leadership and achievements.

The dynamic and interactive three day seminar was led by Dr. David Kohl, professor emeritus at Virginia Tech and professional speaker, and Dr. Alex White, financial advisor and Virginia Tech Professor in the Department of Agriculture and Applied Economics. Dr. Kohl’s topics are designed to help participants meet the daily challenges of modern agriculture while maintaining balance between family business, family life, and personal life. Dr. White discussed the results of the DISC personality profiles that the attendees completed online prior to the event and offered suggestions on how to work and interact with different personalities.

Other speakers for the Institute included Vance C. Dalton, Jr., CEO of Carolina Farm Credit; Dr. Ted Katsigianis, Vice President of Agriculture at the Biltmore Estate; Tom Haarmann, Manager of Financial Services with Carolina Farm Credit; and Dr. Michael Hester, Director of the Pastoral Counseling and Growth Center in Asheville. The group enjoyed a reception and dinner at the Omni Grove Park Inn on Friday evening that was attended by several elected officials and Carolina Farm Credit Board members. A bluegrass band from the Asheville area including David Lee, Bryan Konsler, Randy Gardner, Jeff Darnell, George Roland, and Bill Yarborough provided entertainment at the reception.  The group took a tour of the Biltmore House and learned about their farms on Saturday.

"We had a very diverse and extremely hard working group this year,” said Vance C. Dalton, Jr., CEO of Carolina Farm Credit. "It was evident from their participation and interaction throughout the weekend that this group has a passion for agriculture and is committed to ensuring education remains an integral part of their future. Their dedication to learning renews my faith in the future of North Carolina Agriculture. Additionally, the relationships established within the group will hopefully provide opportunities to network with each other and collaborate to be more successful on their individual farms. At Carolina Farm Credit, we are committed to providing educational opportunities for young, beginning, and small farmers that will ensure the future success of North Carolina Agriculture and allow us to stay connected with our customers.”

Attendees of the 2018 conference were Yuliya Burbel and Gina Sadiq (Mint Hill, NC), Thad and Nichola Gaither (Olin, NC), Kyle and Alison Gillispie (Asheboro, NC), Jason and Amanda Gordon (Lexington, NC), Aaron and Anne Grier (Leicester, NC), Hugh and TJ Harris (Albemarle, NC), Hannah Hendrix and Justin Atwood (Advance, NC), Reida Hudson (Shelby, NC), Tommy and Kaitlyn Johnson (Climax, NC), Craig and Jessica Myers (Harmony, NC), Adam and Lindsay Pressley (Hendersonville, NC), Philip and Lindsey Sloop (Mount Ulla, NC), Jason and Katharine Spradling (Banner Elk, NC), Andrew and Carmen White (Shelby, NC), and Robert and Deborah White (Graham, NC).

A committee of Carolina Farm Credit employees also attended the conference as hosts, including Bruce Arrington (Loan Officer), Rob Crain (Chief Credit Officer), Vance Dalton (Chief Executive Officer), Bryan Drum (Credit Analyst), Scott Green (Regional Manager), Tom Haarmann (Financial Planning Manager), Maggie Hamm (Chief Marketing Officer), Miles Hamrick (Loan Officer), Wayne Higgins (HLD Manager), Will Johnson (Marketing Specialist), Travis Kivett (Loan Officer), Scott Lee (Loan Officer), Kevin McGee (Loan Officer), Matt Mintmier (Regional Manager), Terry Motsinger (Administrative Assistant), Mitchel Pridmore (Loan Officer), Larry Pritchett (Risk Administrator), Sarah Rachels (Chief Human Resources Officer), Lee Renegar (Loan Officer), Mark Robertson (Loan Officer), Jocelyn Roten (Marketing Coordinator), Jacob Sawyers (Loan Officer), Kimberly Shoemaker (Executive Assistant), Suzette Smith (Loan Officer), Scott Smith (Loan Officer), Dale Stevens (Loan Officer), Rebecca Tarlton (Loan Officer), James Taylor (Senior Relationship Manager), Libby Watson (Loan Officer), and Vickie Young (Loan Officer).

Carolina Farm Credit is a stockholder-owned cooperative providing financing to full and part-time farmers and agricultural-related businesses and also provides financing for the construction and purchase of homes in 54 counties through 32 branch offices.  Other financial services available are credit life insurance, appraisal services, leasing programs and financial planning.

For 100 years Farm Credit has been supporting rural communities and agriculture with reliable, consistent credit and financial services. 

Carolina Farm Credit serves over 10,000 members with loans outstanding totaling more than $1.4 billion.  The association’s territory covers the western half of North Carolina, with branch offices located in Albemarle, Asheboro, Asheville, Boone, Browns Summit, Burnsville, Carthage, Concord, Conover, Ellerbe, Graham, Hendersonville, Jefferson, Lenoir, Lexington, Lincolnton, Monroe, Murphy, Pilot Mountain, Roxboro, Rural Hall, Salisbury, Shelby, Siler City, Sparta, Spindale, Statesville, Taylorsville, Waynesville, Wilkesboro, Yadkinville, and Yanceyville.

Directors for Carolina Farm Credit are W. Rex Bell, Chairman, Statesville, David M. Coltrane, Vice-Chairman, Pleasant Garden; John M. Barnard, Statesville; E. Bernard Beck, Seagrove; Mark A. Bray, Lawsonville; Susie J. Gambill, Sparta; Joseph A. Lail, Shelby; Clark M. Newlin, Haw River; Thomas E. Porter, Jr., Concord;  Eric McPherson, Snow Camp; D. Kaleb Rathbone, Waynesville; Lewis E. Smith, Lincolnton; Vickie N. Smitherman, East Bend; L. Kim Starnes, Salisbury; Dr. Alton Thompson, Summerfield.