Merry Christmas! The holiday season is a hectic time for all of us. Rural America is facing difficult economic times and that can make this time of year even more stressful; both for FSA employees and our customers. Times like this remind us how important the work we do really is and the impact we have. Both what we do and how we do it is important.
I am a month behind publishing this update. The work and effort put forth by NACS members is ongoing and important, but it is also imperative that we share that information with you outside of Zone meetings and National Convention. I will do better; I may have just made my first New Year's resolution for 2017...
I traveled the weekend of Veteran's Day to Indianapolis for the American Bankers Association (ABA) annual Ag Lending Conference. Farmer Mac sponsored an FSA guaranteed lender stakeholder meeting prior to the conference. I was able to visit with many bankers and listen in on the various FSA presentations and lender panels. FSA National Office presenters did an excellent job and Farmer Mac, as always, was a great host and gave NACS the chance to submit comments prior to the meeting. I was somewhat surprised that the major concern centered on our environmental regulations. The Agency noted that the hot topics sessions they conduct for employees is intended to distribute information, address concerns, and answer questions directly to the field employees.
NACS member John Gehrke meets with Steve Apodaca and Ed Elfmann of the ABA Center for Agriculture and Rural banking.
This was followed by the National FLP Policy Meeting held the last week of November. Our thanks to the Administration for inviting each of the employee associations! Jim Radintz, DAFLP, and the National Office staff did a very good job planning and presenting several days of material. We also thank Jim for the time he spent with NACS during the conference. We were able to ask several HR and IT questions during the panel discussions. Succession planning continues to be a priority for the Agency. The new Administration transition process was also on the Agenda. Overall, the meeting was a great opportunity to network with fellow FSA employees. We also appreciated the opportunity to attend the Farm Loan Chief's Association annual meeting.
Don't forget to check out the ZONE MEETING REGISTRATIONS on the NACS web site at http://www.nacs-fsa.org/. Zone B will kick off the meetings the first weekend in February in Sioux Falls, South Dakota!!!
Wishing you and your families a Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year!!!
John W. Gehrke
Denise is a Farm Loan Manager from Nebraska. She was elected NACS President at the June 2018 Convention.