20th Annual AgLeadership Institute

STATESVILLE, NC – Carolina Farm Credit recently hosted its 20th 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 32 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 Glen Smith, Board Chairman and CEO of the Farm Credit Administration, Vance C. Dalton, Jr., CEO of Carolina Farm Credit; Kyle Mayberry, Director of Livestock Operations 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 2020 conference were Isaac Harrow and Rita Toledo (Indian Trail, NC), Jody and Stephanie Brown (Polkton, NC), Keith Wedell (Morven, NC), Christopher and Bailey Brandon (Yadkinville, NC), Jordan and Morgan Mathis (Roaring River, NC), Victoria Patterson and Claudia Patterson (Mount Ulla, NC), Vance and Amber Proctor (Vale, NC), Vadim and Elena Ghenov (Hickory, NC), Eric and Shannon Isley (Snow Camp, NC), Brandon and Amber Bowman (Claremont, NC), Grace Summers (Browns Summit, NC), Jared and Jocelyn Hunsader (Hendersonville, NC), Matthew and Mallory Wood (Marble, NC), Rick and Catherine Topel (Waynesville, NC), Charlie and Amy Thomas (Winson-Salem, NC), Wesley Bowen and Anna Mertson (Walnut Cove, NC), Tiffany Barry (Winston-Salem, NC), and Tyler and Emily Blake (North Wilkesboro, NC).

A committee of Carolina Farm Credit employees also attended the conference as hosts, including Vance Dalton (Chief Executive Officer), Rob Crain (Chief Credit Officer), Maggie Hamm (Chief Marketing Officer), Wayne Higgins (HLD Manager), Chad Puryear (Chief Lending Officer), Sarah Rachels (Chief Human Resources Officer), Chris Goss (Chief Appraisal Officer), Chris Scott (Chief Financial Officer), Will Johnson (Marketing Specialist) Terry Motsinger (Administrative Assistant), Jocelyn Roten (Marketing Coordinator), Tom Haarmann (Money Concepts), Mike Almond (Regional Manager), Jody Smith (Loan Officer), Dale Stevens (Loan Officer), Lee Renegar (Loan Officer), Marsha Williams (Loan Officer), Jill Mauser (Loan Officer), Ben Cabaniss (Loan Officer), Blair Robertson (Loan Officer), Wanda Harris (Loan Officer), Brooks Owenby (Loan Officer), Matt Gutierrez (Loan Officer), Danielle Cornwell (Loan Officer), Hope Weavil (Loan Officer), Tim Merrit (Loan Officer), Jacob Sawyers (Loan Officer), Bart Taylor (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 30 branch offices.  Other financial services available are credit life insurance, appraisal services, leasing programs and financial planning.

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

Carolina Farm Credit serves over 11,000 members with loans outstanding totaling more than $1.6 billion.  The association’s territory covers the western half of North Carolina, with branch offices located in Albemarle, Asheboro, Asheville, 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, Wilkesboro, Yadkinville, and Yanceyville.

Directors for Carolina Farm Credit are David M. Coltrane, Chairman, Pleasant Garden; Vickie N. Smitherman, Vice-Chair, East Bend; John M. Barnard, Statesville; E. Bernard Beck, Seagrove; W. Rex Bell, Statesville; Mark A. Bray, Lawsonville; Leslie G. Sparks, DVM, 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; L. Kim Starnes, Salisbury; Dr. Alton Thompson, Summerfield.