Farm Credit Scholars Trip to Washington, D.C.

September 11-14, 2019

Ten Farm Credit Scholars, who are juniors and seniors, learned first-hand about agricultural policy while in Washington, D.C. On Wednesday, TN Senator Lamar Alexander's office provided the Scholars with a tour of the capital and gallery passes so the scholars could watch a bill be voted on in the Senate. On Thursday, TN Congressman John Rose spoke to the scholars about policy formation and life as a congressman in DC. Congressman Rose's office also provided the Scholars with gallery passes of the House of Representatives so the scholars could see a bill voted on in the House. The Scholars then listened to an agricultural lobbyist panel and learned about the importance of educating members of Congress about agriculture. This was followed by a tour of Mount Vernon in the evening. On Thursday, the Scholars heard from a panel of University of Tennessee alumni who now work in D.C. for members of Congress. The afternoon and evening was filled with touring of the Library of Congress, Smithsonian Museums, and a Monuments by Moonlight tour. On Saturday morning, the Scholars went to Arlington Cemetery before flying back to Knoxville.

Farm Credit Scholars in Washington D.C.
Farm Credit Scholars in Washington D.C.
Farm Credit Scholars in Washington D.C.
Farm Credit Scholars in Washington D.C.


Two Farm Credit Scholars Complete Internships with Farm Credit Mid-America in Summer 2019

July 31, 2019

During the summer of 2019, two farm credit scholars completed internships at Farm Credit Mid-America (FCMA). Along with other interns from the region, they participated in several activities during their internships such as attending the Tennessee Junior Beef Expo, Tennessee beef month, and Tennessee dairy month. On July 30 and 31, all the interns gathered at FCMA corporate headquarters in Louisville, KY to present on their special projects. Listed below are the two scholars' internship locations, developmental partners, and a brief description of their special projects. The photo was taken following the internship presentations.



Intern: Jessica Garner
Location: Springfield, TN
Development Partner: Jordan Kidd
Special Project: Gauging farmers' confidence in commodity marketing and offering solutions


Intern: Abigayle Pollock
Location: Columbia, TN
Development Partner: Devin Gilliam
Special Project: Hemp production in Tennessee


2019 Farm Credit Scholars Interns

From left to right: Chris Boyer (Farm Credit Scholars Co-Director), Jessica Garner (Farm Credit Scholar), Abigayle Pollack (Farm Credit Scholar), Caleb Starnes (Farm Credit Intern and UT AREC Student), Bill Johnson (President and CEO of Farm Credit Mid-America, Karen DeLong (Farm Credit Scholars Co-Director)


End of the Year Banquet Welcomes 2019 Class of Scholars and Says Farewell to Graduating Scholars and Dr. Park

April 29, 2019

On April 29, 2019 a reception was held at the Howard Baker, Jr. Center for Public Policy on the UT-Knoxville Campus to honor the recently selected 2019 class of Farm Credit Scholars (Jacob Eicher, Ian Kane, Sarah Cantrell, Kendall Martin, Shelby Mainord, Hence Duncan) and Scholars who graduated in May 2019 (Jeb Beasley, Colin Jennings, Sam Daniel, Charles Harrison, Catherine Moore, Haley Webb, and Ty Wolaver). Brief remarks were given by Tim Williams, Senior Vice President for Agricultural Lending with Farm Credit Mid-America (FCMA), who helps guide the Farm Credit Scholars Program. Herbert College of Agriculture Associate Dean Dr. John Stier, Director of Advancement for the UT Institute of Agriculture Tom Looney, and retiring Scholars Director Dr. Bill Park all spoke at the event about the investment Farm Credit Mid-America makes on the future of Tennessee agricultural leaders. Also honored at the event was retiring Director Dr. Bill Park for his tremendous leadership of the Scholars program for 5 years. Dr. Chris Boyer and Dr. Karen DeLong will be the new Co-Directors of the Farm Credit Scholars Program given Dr. Park's retirement.

Farm Credit Scholars honor retiring Director, Dr. Bill Park

Scholars honor retiring Director, Dr. Bill Park

2018-2019 Graduating Farm Credit Scholars

Graduating Scholars (from left to right, Jeb Beasley, Colin Jennings, Sam Daniel, Charles Harrison, Catherine Moore, Haley Webb, and Ty Wolaver) honored by Associate Dean Dr. Stier (far right) and Scholars Director Dr. Park (far left)

2019 Farm Credit Scholars Class with leaders

Welcoming our new class of Scholars. From left to right, Scott Holmes (Regional Vice President, Farm Credit Mid-America), Retiring Scholars Director Dr. Bill Park, Jacob Eicher, Ian Kane, Sarah Cantrell, Kendall Martin, Shelby Mainord, Hence Duncan, Incoming Scholars Co-Director Dr. Karen DeLong, Incoming Scholars Co-Director Dr. Chris Boyer, Tim Williams (Senior Vice President Ag Lending, Farm Credit Mid-America)


Scholars Volunteer at Second Harvest Food Band

April 24, 2019

The Farm Credit Scholars volunteered at Second Harvest Food Bank where they packaged 840 pounds of pasta.

Farm Credit Scholars serving at Second Harvest Food Bank
Farm Credit Scholars at Second Harvest Food Bank

Farm Credit Scholars Seminar Series

Spring 2019 Semester

The Farm Credit Scholars had a spring semester seminar series which met every Wednesday afternoon. The seminar series featured several great speakers who helped the Scholars understand the many aspects of agriculture. The speakers are listed below:

  • Farm Credit Mid-America Panel featuring Tim Williams (Senior Vice President Ag Lending), Art Whaley (Senior Vice President Consumer Lending), and Randy Barbee (Sponsorship and Philanthropy Specialist)
  • Jennifer Houston, President of the National Cattleman's Beef Association
  • Lynn Petr, Founder and Executive Director of Shangri-La Therapeutic Academy of Riding (STAR)
  • Farm Credit Mid-America local office panel (David Reynolds, Ben Bradley, Kathryn Greenfield, Shane Williams)
  • Tennessee Department of Agriculture Panel featuring Keith Harrison (Assistant Commissioner for Agricultural Advancement) and Kyle Hensley (Agribusiness Development Coordinator)
  • Rob Holland, Director of the UT Center for Profitable Agriculture
  • Lori Duncan, Extension Specialist Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science - Drones in Agriculture
  • Dr. Robert Burns, Dean UT Extension
Rob Holland, Director of the UT Center for Profitable Agriculture, speaking at Spring 2019 Seminar Series

Rob Holland, Director of the UT Center for Profitable Agriculture, Speaking to our Farm Credit Scholars

Jennifer Houston, President of National Cattleman's Beef Association, speaking at Spring 2019 Seminar Series

Jennifer Houston, President of the NCBA



Farm Credit Scholars at 2018 TN Ag Leadership Forum

Scholars Attend 2018 TN Ag Leadership Forum

October 10, 2018

Nine of the fifteen current scholars traveled to Murfreesboro to attend this annual event that is sponsored by Farm Credit Mid-America, CoBank, and the TN Department of Agriculture. They heard an informative presentation by Mr. Brett Sciotto, CEO of Aimpoint Research, titled "An Industry in Transition; Key Trends Transforming America Agriculture," a Washington update from Brian Cavey with CoBank, an update the Ag Launch Initiative's progress in facilitating start-up businesses in the agri-food sector. They also had great opportunities to network with leaders from all across Tennessee agriculture. The scholars are pictured with Dr. Bill Park, Director of the UT Farm Credit Scholars Program and Mr. Tim Williams, Senior VP for Agricultural Lending in TN, Farm Credit Mid-America.


Scholars Participate in Gettysburg Leadership Experience

September 5-7, 2018

Ten senior and junior scholars traveled to Gettysburg, PA, to participate in a two-day workshop in which leadership principles are taught through the lessons learned from study of the Battle of Gettysburg. They learned about anticipatory leadership, seizing strategic advantage and claiming "high ground" the dual role of leader and follower, predictable surprises, and adapting to change. Classroom lecture and discussion each morning was followed by visits to areas of the battlefield led by licensed guides. On the afternoon of the first day, a sea kayaking expedition on a nearby reservoir was incorporated into the program to provide additional instruction of followership principles (and a bit of fun as well). The scholars are shown in front of the Tennessee State Memorial and preparing for the kayaking expedition.

Farm Credit Scholars at Tennessee Memorial at Gettysburg
Farm Credit Scholars Kayaking at Gettysburg


Four Farm Credit Scholars Complete Internships with Farm Credit Mid-America in Summer 2018

August 1, 2018

During the summer of 2018, four scholars completed their internships at various locations around the four state region served by Farm Credit Mid-America (FCMA). Along with other interns from the region, they participated in an orientation program during early June and a retreat in mid-summer that included time at the corporate headquarters in Louisville, KY and a field trip to visit a variety of FCMA farm and agribusiness customers. On July 31 and August 1, all the interns gathered again in Louisville to give presentations on their special projects. Listed below are the four scholars along with their internship location and development partner, as well as a brief description of their special project. The photo was taken following the internship presentations.



Intern: Jeb Beasley
Location: Lebanon, TN
Development Partner: Colton McClanahan
Special Project: Customer experience when calling retail


Intern: Colin Jennings
Location: Knoxville, TN
Development Partner: Kathryn Greenfield
Special Project: Conversion rate on lot loans to construction


Intern: Catherine Moore
Location: Louisville, KY
Development Partner: Emily Duckworth
Special Project: Agricultural Opportunities in Eastern KY and TN


Intern: Haley Webb
Location: Greeneville, TN
Development Partner: Heather Butler
Special Project: Tools needed to support mobile sales staff

2018 Farm Credit Scholars Interns

From left to right: Scott Horner (FCMA), Bill Johnson (FCMA), Haley Webb, Jeb Beasley, Catherine Moore, Colin Jennings, Colton McClanahan (FCMA), Kyle Hanna (FCMA), Emily Duckworth (FCMA)



2018 Farm Credit Scholars in front of Morgan Hall

UT College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Welcomes 2018 Class of Farm Credit Scholars and Honors Graduating Class

April 30, 2018

On April 30, 2018 a reception was held at the Howard Baker, Jr. Center for Public Policy on the UT-Knoxville Campus to honor the recently selected 2018 class of Farm Credit Scholars and Scholars who graduated in December 2017 (Jade Ellis) or May 2018 (Susan Cowley, Amy Morgan, and Victoria Utsman). Brief remarks were given by Tim Williams, Senior Vice President for Agricultural Lending with Farm Credit Mid-America (FCMA), who helps guide the Farm Credit Scholars Program. CASNR Dean Caula Beyl gave a challenge to both groups of Scholars to make the most of the opportunity afforded them by the Farm Credit Scholars Program. UTIA Chancellor Tim Cross expressed appreciation to our Farm Credit Mid-America partners for the huge investment that is being made in the future leaders of Tennessee agriculture.

The 2018 Class of Farm Credit Scholars. From left to right: Hailey Rose Viars, ALEC and Public Relations major from Loudon County, Cora Beth Key, Animal Science major from Clay County, John Calvin Bryant, Food Science major from Lawrence County, Madison Kilbarger, Food and Agricultural business major from Jamestown, Ohio, Erin Bacon, ALEC and Food and Agricultural Business major form Jefferson County.

Read more about the partnership and this year's new class of Scholars.



Scholars Attend TN Ag Leadership Forum

October 11, 2017

Twelve of the fourteen current scholars traveled to Murfreesboro to attend this annual event that is sponsored by Farm Credit Mid-America, CoBank, and the TN Department of Agriculture. They heard an informative presentation by Professor Barry Flinchbaugh of Kansas State University on the future of agricultural policy, a Washington update from Brian Cavey with CoBank, highlights on the Farm Credit Council's Young, Beginning, Small Farmer Programs from Gary Matteson, and a state-level perspective from Stefan Maupin with the TN Farm Bureau Federation. Scholars also learned about the Ag Launch Initiative that is facilitating start-up businesses in the agri-food sector and had opportunities to network with leaders from all across Tennessee agriculture.



Scholars at TN Ag Leadership Forum


Farm Credit Scholars in Washington D.C.

Scholars Get Primer on Ag Policy in D.C.

September 6-10, 2017

The ten senior and junior scholars made the most of three days in the District. Two days were devoted to learning about agricultural policy from several individuals and groups. First off on day one was a brief visit and photo op with Congressman John Duncan, Jr., who represents Knoxville and surrounding areas, followed by tours of the Capitol and Library of Congress. The afternoon included panel discussions with Farm Credit Council staff and lobbyists for several agricultural cooperatives. Day two began with a panel of five UTK alumni who all work "on the Hill" in some capacity. They shared lessons from their experiences regarding professional development and career decision-making. Next was a visit with the chief lobbyist for the American Farm Bureau Federation that included amazing views from the rooftop of their building. Day two was capped off by a short trip to Arlington, VA to learn about the work of the Animal Agriculture Alliance. That evening scholars experienced Washington's monuments by moonlight, some by Segway, and others by trolley. Day three provided scholars with the freedom to explore museums and other attractions near the National Mall and was capped off by a group outing to a Washington Nationals baseball game.



Taylre Beaty Completes Internship with CoBank in Washington, D.C.

August 20, 2017

Taylre Beaty graduated with a degree in Food and Agricultural Business in May 2017 and soon thereafter began working as the Government Affairs Intern for CoBank, a wholesale bank of the Farm Credit System. Taylre followed in the footsteps of another Farm Credit Scholar, Peyton (Graham) Fair, who likewise interned with CoBank in the summer of 2013. Interns are selected from a national pool of applicants. Below are highlights of Taylre's internship experience in her own words.

My project focused on strategic collection and documentation of the impact and personal stories from our Sharing Success Program, a corporate social responsibility campaign. I was able to collect information and provide qualitative anecdotes for 75 stories that CoBank will be able to share with members of Congress about what they are doing to positively impact the rural community in each member's home congressional district. Aside from my main project, I had the opportunity to take part in Hill visits, attend hearings, and assist in the Farm Credit Council Fly-In. This was a very meaningful summer for me, and I learned so much. As the American agriculture industry gears up for the 2018 Farm Bill, it was a very rewarding experience for me to be a part of taking those issues that impact the Farm Credit System and our customers to the Hill and advocating on behalf of farmers, ranchers, producers, rural infrastructure and communities.


Taylre Beaty at CoBank

Five Farm Credit Scholars Complete Internships with Farm Credit Mid-America in Summer 2017

August 8, 2017

During the summer of 2017, five scholars completed their internships at various locations around the state. Along with other interns from the four state region served by Farm Credit Mid-America (FCMA), they participated in an orientation program during early June and a retreat in mid-summer that included time at the corporate headquarters in Louisville, KY and a field trip to visit a variety of FCMA farm and agribusiness customers in Ohio. On July 31 and August 1, all the interns gathered again in Louisville to give presentations on their special projects. Listed below are the five scholars along with their internship location and development partner, as well as a brief description of their special project. The photo was taken following the internship presentations.

Intern: Jade Ellis
Location: Lebanon, TN
Development Partner: Jonathan Harrison

Intern: Victoria Utsman
Location: Greeneville, TN
Development Partner: Ed Snodgrass

Special Project (joint): Create a centralized resource for FCMA employees to use when assisting customers with distressed loans, so as to enhance the service provided.


Intern: Susan Cowley
Location: Fayetteville, TN
Development Partner: Tommy Stevenson

Intern: Sam Daniel
Location: Ripley, TN
Development Partner: Scott Horner

Special Project (joint along with an intern from KY): Determine best lead generation tools and methods; evaluate lead tracking practices related to FCMA's relationship management software.


Intern: Amy Morgan
Location: Dandridge, TN
Development Partner: Jennifer Bacon

Special Project (joint with interns from KY, IN, OH): Analyze factors affecting the application to booked loan ratio and develop recommendations for how to improve this ratio.

2017 Farm Credit Scholars in Lousiville

From left to right: Mark Wilson (Senior VP, FCMA), Jade Ellis, Sam Daniel, Susan Cowley, Victoria Utsman, Amy Morgan, Dr. Bill Park (Dir of UT Farm Credit Scholars Program), Bill Johnson (CEO, FCMA)


UT College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Welcomes New Farm Credit Scholarship Recipients and Honors Graduating Class

May 1, 2017

On May 1, 2017, a reception was held at the Howard Baker, Jr. Center for Public Policy on the UT-Knoxville Campus to honor the recently selected 2017 class of Farm Credit Scholars and Scholars who graduated in December 2016 or May 2017. Brief remarks were given by the three people with Farm Credit Mid-America (FCMA) who have been most heavily engaged with the Farm Credit Scholars (FCS) Program over its first five years - David Lynn, Mark Wilson, and Dawn Melikant. CASNR Dean Caula Beyl gave a challenge to both groups of Scholars to make the most of the opportunity afforded them by the FCS Program. UTIA Chancellor Tim Cross expressed appreciation to our Farm Credit Mid-America partners for the huge investment that is being made in the future leaders of Tennessee agriculture.

2017 Farm Credit Scholars

The 2017 Class of Farm Credit Scholars. From left to right: Art Whaley (FCMA), David Lynn (FCMA), Colin Jennings, Charles Harrison, Ali Clark, Jessica Garner, Abigail Pollock, Dawn Melikant (FCMA), and Mark Wilson (FCMA).

2016-2017 Graduating Farm Credit Scholars

May 2017 Farm Credit Scholar graduates. From left to right: Dr. Caula Beyl (CASNR Dean), Kristen Sommerfeld, Katie Shields, Sam Koeshall, Lynsey Jones, Tori Campbell, Jared Bruhin, Taylre Beaty, Dr. Bill Park (FCS Program Director).




2016 Farm Credit Scholars


UT College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Announces Farm Credit Scholarship Recipients

April 18, 2016

They’re some of our brightest and most talented students – and all plan careers in agriculture. And now Farm Credit Mid-America is generously helping with their tuition.

The College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR) at the UT Institute of Agriculture is announcing the recipients of its annual scholarship program with Farm Credit Mid-America. Known as the Farm Credit Scholars, these students will study customized coursework, travel to Washington D.C. and New York, have mentoring opportunities, and work in a Farm Credit internship. This partnership was formed in 2012, and 27 students have received the honor.

This year’s Farm Credit Scholars are Jeb Beasley, a freshman from Hendersonville majoring in Food and Agricultural Business; Sam Daniel, a freshman from Covington majoring in Plant Science and Landscape Design; Jade Ellis, a sophomore from Lafayette majoring in Food and Agricultural Business; Catherine Moore, a freshman from Dyersburg majoring in Agricultural Communications; Haley Webb, a freshman from Rogersville majoring in Agricultural Education; and Ty Wolaver, a freshman from Fayetteville majoring in Food and Agricultural Business.

Read more about the partnership and this year's new class of Scholars.



Dr. Bill Park, Farm Credit Scholars Program Director
December 1, 2014

2013 Scholars in Washington, D.C.

The past few months have been an eventful period of time for this partnership between Farm Credit Mid-America and CASNR. In July, the five members of the 2013 class of scholars participated in a four-day trip to Washington, D.C. The trip was hosted by Todd Van Hoose, Senior Vice President for Government Affairs with Co Bank, a part of the Farm Credit system that provides loans for agricultural cooperatives, other agribusinesses, and rural infrastructure projects. Students learned about the policy making process from a panel of lobbyists representing the Farm Credit Council, The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, and American Crystal Sugar. They were informed about current legislative issues related to agriculture by the chief of staff for Congressman Stephen Fincher, who is a member of the House of Agriculture Committee. They also received briefings on the 2014 Farm bill and recent program initiatives from four high ranking administrators at the USDA. A day of sightseeing rounded out the trip with highlights being the White House, the Lincoln Memorial, the Capitol and Arlington National Cemetery.

From left to right, Landon Cameron, Maegan Cantrell, Tracy Taylor, Tori Bryant, Tanner Pritchett

2012 Scholars in New York

In September, the 2012 class of scholars participated in a four-day trip to the New York City area. The educational focus of the trip was a full-day program at the Federal Farm Credit Banks Funding Corporation, located across the Hudson River from lower Manhattan in Jersey City, New Jersey. The Funding Corporation is responsible for issuing Farm Credit bonds to secure the funds used by Farm Credit Associations such as Farm Credit Mid-America to extend loans to their customers. The program wrapped up with a visit to a bond seller in Midtown Manhattan that regularly markets Farm Credit bonds. This trip also included a visit with Peter Costa, a CASNR alumnus who is a New York Stock Exchange Governor, CNBC Analyst and President of Empire Executions, Inc. He hosted the group for a tour of the floor at NYSE and introduced the students to several other traders, journalists for CNBC and other business news outlets. Highlights of the sightseeing component of the trip included the 911 Memorial and Museum, the Statute of Liberty, the Broadway play Wicked, and dinner at the famous Carnegie’s Deli. Scholars even caught part of the UT-Arkansas State football game at a sports bar named “The Hill” with probably 100 other Volunteer fans!

2012 Scholars with CASNR alumnus Peter Costa at the New York Stock Exchange. From left to right: Dr. William Park (Program Director), Peyton Graham, Peter Costa, Forrest Duncan, Billy Rochelle, David Lynn (Farm Credit), Mark Wilson (Farm Credit)

2014 Scholars

In early October, the 2014 class of scholars was selected. These six sophomores represent five different majors within CASNR and achieved an average GPA of 3.73 for their freshman year. Four will be completing their required internships in the summer of 2015. Two will be working at Farm Credit Mid-America’s corporate headquarters in Louisville, KY, one in the Crop Insurance Division and one in the Marketing Department, while the other two will serve as Financial Services Officer interns in Tennessee. The remaining two 2014 scholars will complete internships in the summer of 2016. The six scholars, with major and hometown, are as follows:

  • Taylre Beaty - Food and Agricultural Business - Maryville, TN
  • Jared Bruhin - Animal Science/Food and Agricultural Business - Sevierville, TN
  • Tori Campbell - Food and Agricultural Business - Flintville, TN
  • Lynsey Jones - Food Science and Technology - Knoxville, TN
  • Sam Koeshall - Plant Science - Philadelphia, TN
  • Katie Shields - Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication - Pigeon Forge, TN

From left to right: Jared Bruhin, Katie Shields, Tori Campbell, Taylre Beaty, Lynsey Jones, Sam Koeshall

Finally, on October 9, the 2012 and 2013 scholars traveled to Murfreesboro to attend the Ag Leadership Forum, which is sponsored each year by Farm Credit mid-America. In the morning the scholars heard a presentation by Dr. Michael Gunderson of Purdue University on drivers of change in U.S. and Tennessee agriculture, as well as a panel discussion on “Tennessee Agriculture in Transition” featuring Tennessee’s Commissioner of Agriculture, the CEO of Tennessee Farmers’ cooperative and the President of the Tennessee Farm Bureau. In the afternoon they heard the President and CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives give an agriculture policy update and learned about the local foods movement from the owner of a small-scale meat processing operation in Kentucky.

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