Greetings NACS members! I was given the opportunity, by the National Office, to attend the FSA Stakeholder's Meeting and American Bankers Association (ABA) Conference October 25th - 28th in Kansas City, MO as your NACS President. The FSA Stakeholder's Meeting, sponsored by Farmer Mac, was held on October 25th and was well attended by many guaranteed lenders across the nation. Jim Radintz, DAFLP, opened the meeting with an overview of FSA's guaranteed portfolio and activity. Jim announced the upcoming guaranteed microloan program for both operating loans and farm ownership loans. With this roll-out, there will also be a micro-lender status for non-traditional lenders, affording them an opportunity to use FSA's guaranteed program.
Multiple topics of discussion were presented during the meeting; including working together to solve inconsistencies across FSA in the guaranteed loan program. Guaranteed lenders expressed concerns with some FSA offices asking for more information to be submitted than is required in procedure, environmental issues & struggles, and delayed communication from FSA staff. I encourage you to keep these concerns in mind when working with your guaranteed lenders. The lenders also realized the best method to create consistency was to develop a rapport with the local county office FLP staff to ensure great customer service.
The ABA Conference theme was "Position to Transition: How to Navigate Volatile Times." The focus was to prepare for the change in the agriculture economy. Some specific topics included credit impacts of the volatile commodity prices, positioning producers to embrace volatility, managing weather risk, when uncertainty turns to risk in agricultural finance, and how to bridge the generational divide in the workplace. The conference afforded me the opportunity to mingle with lenders to discuss how NACS is influential in creating resolutions and solutions in the delivery of FSA loan programs.
In closing, I want to remind all members of what I said in my first President's Update. I encourage you to 'tell our story' to other employees in FSA. There are many potential members you can inspire to join this great association! As an association, we DO make a difference, and we provide an avenue for members to become involved in leadership positions.
As always, if you have any concerns or issues; please feel free to contact myself or a NACS Board member.
Lisa A. Liska
LeAnn is a Farm Loan Chief from New Mexico. She was elected NACS President at the June 2019 Convention.