Across the Fence

August 2013


This is our new employee newsletter! It still contains all the same great information you are used to seeing but in a cool, new, modern way of sharing it. Once you're done checking it out, we'd love to hear your thoughts. There's a form at the end, so be sure to fill it out so you can be entered for a chance to win a $25 Spot Award!

Lunch with Bob

Change. It’s all around. I can’t escape it. Even when I turned on the radio on my way home from work last night, there was David Bowie singing “Changes”. Bowie wasn’t the first or the last to philosophize on change. A long time ago, a Greek philosopher, Heraclitus said, “The only thing that is constant is change”. I guess that’s why I can’t escape it.

We’re in the midst of change. Our market place has been changing. A focus on local foods, knowing the producer, knowing what you eat has developed a solid footing in ag production in our area. As a mission focused lender, we need to respond. The financial services industry is dealing with the aftermath of the Great Recession. Regulations are changing and will be changing for the foreseeable future. As a regulated lender, we need to respond. Leadership and staffing changes occur throughout MidAtlantic as part of the natural life cycle of our business. As an organization with a mission commitment to be dependable, we need to respond.

One of the phrases in Bowie’s song is “turn and face the strange”. And it seems like much of what we’re facing is strange. It’s different and not always comfortable for us. New rules for perfecting lines on collateral, new rules for disclosures to customers, new requirements from IRS for expense accounting. And, as the late night infomercial says, “but wait, there’s more”. And there will be more, most if not all of it out of our control.

What we do control is our response. An organization like ours is mission focused and commits to giving our customers the best. We do it efficiently, safely, soundly and do it in a way that is dependable today and for all the todays that are yet to come. We step up and respond. We turn and face the strange and do what needs to be done even though it’s not easy.

As I think about our mission statement, it strikes me that if I could substitute only one word for it, CONSTANT would be a good choice.

And we know what the philosopher said is constant.

News Around Town

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Valley Region Summer Outing

Employees working out of the Valley region did a little something different this year for their summer outing in June. They visited three local customers and a local business to learn more about their marketplace. This picture was taken at Caveridge Vineyard.

David Swecker (Winchester), Kelly Bohrer (Martinsburg), Dawn Sager (Woodstock), Cheryl Chappell (Martinsburg), Steve Grant (retired), Betsy Brumback (Winchester), Kirk Rygol (Woodstock), Rhonda Grove (Winchester), Matt Ritnour (Winchester), Ann Hoover (Woodstock), Mary Miller (Winchester), Jeff McKay (Winchester), Cheryl Keesecker (Martinsburg), Terri Clevenger (Winchester), Penny Holt (Winchester), Ruth Boden (Winchester), Ryan Clouse (Winchester), Jeanie Hamilton (Martinsburg), Melissa Sipe (Winchester), Thomas Truitt (Martinsburg), Susie Puffenburger (Martinsburg), Jennifer Rodeffer (Winchester), Jason Wisecarver (Woodstock), Ken Ryan (Winchester), Ruth Ann Milanov (Winchester), Karen Swecker (Woodstock), Scott Swaim (Martinsburg), Marcia Blaylock (Martinsburg).

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MidMD Region Summer Outing

The MidMD region enjoy time together at their summer outing on May 26 at an Oriole's game. From L to R: Brian Schultheis (Hagerstown), Mary Jane Roop (Frederick), Bill Borsa (Retired), Denise Karanikas (Frederick), Bonnie Ogg (Frederick), Becky Daniel (Frederick), Jeff McKay (Winchester...hey wait a minute!), Keith Wills (Bel Air)


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Don't Judge a Book by its Cover

by Angel Adams (Salisbury)

Loan officer, Zach Evans (Salisbury), started with MidAtlantic in April 2009 as a marketing intern. Right before I was scheduled to interview him for the marketing intern position, I (like all thorough managers) decided to check out his Facebook page. Of course, I only had privileges to view his profile picture, but that's usually enough to form a first impression. There was Zach, all punked out playing the drums. Yikes! I was concerned. Was this really someone who wanted to sit at a desk? Or would he rather be rocking out to Led Zepplin?

Not being one to judge a book by its cover, I went through with the interview. I thought, maybe there was a polished professional somewhere there underneath all that punk-rock hair and tattoos.

I was not disappointed. When Zach came in for the interview, much to my surprise, he was spit-polished in a business suit. I said, “Wow you don’t look anything like your profile picture on Facebook”. Now it was Zach’s turn to be concerned! “Yikes”, his expression said although he quickly answered “That was a Halloween costume!”

It was only a few minutes in to the interview and the Facebook picture was quickly forgotten. Zach told me about his work experience that started in elementary school when he delivered newspapers. At age 10, he won an all-expense paid five-day, four night trip to Disney World for signing on the most new subscribers in Anne Arundel County via door-to-door solicitation. In 9th grade he began door-to-door sales of windows, siding, roofing, and doors for Homefix Corporation. By 11th grade he was handling recruiting, training and managing a sales or “canvassing” crew of 4-6 of his peers. Now I don’t know about you, but in 11th grade, I could barely manage myself!

Anyway, Zach was definitely a good hire. He did an amazing job as a marketing intern. He wasn’t “just” an intern but a real contributing member of our team. That was evident to me, as well as those who worked with him. Which is why, when a loan officer position came up in October of 2010, Zach was hired for the position. He had just (and I do mean just!) earned his Marketing Degree.

You'd think that Zach would be overwhelmed being just out of college and learning a new job. Not Zach. True to his character, Zach continued to push forward with his education and just recently earned his MBA at Salisbury University. Zach says, "My goal is to have a management position and pursuing my masters degree was pivitol in achieving that goal someday."

Zach lives with his girlfriend, Chesley (who is a school teacher) in Fruitland, MD. They have a 6 year old “daughter” named Cricket who is actually a Pit-bull Boxer mix. In his free time, Zach is an avid sports fan participating when/where he can and he enjoys hanging out with friends and family.

If you'd like to get to know more about Zach, he says you are welcome to friend him on Facebook. Just don't judge him by his profile picture!

Jarod Fisher

by Donna Dawson (Quarryville)

Jarod Fisher is a loan officer trainee in the Penn Region working from the Shoemakersville office. He graduated from Kutztown University in Kutztown, Pennsylvania in 2009 where he earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Jarod held several positions prior to joining MAFC – but was looking for a career change. “I have very much enjoyed my brief time here at Farm Credit. Working with farmers has been rewarding and my coworkers are knowledgeable, friendly, and helpful. After bouncing around between different employers/jobs over the last four years, I am looking forward to a long and rewarding career as part of the Farm Credit family.”

Jarod resides in Robesonia (Berks County) with his wife Melissa and their three children: Drew, Grace and Addilyn. He is a member of Calvary Baptist Church of Reading where he serves as a youth leader. In his spare time he enjoys wrestling and paintball.

Dawn Sager: Did Someone Dial 911?

by Yatta Yates (Dover)

Our newest customer service specialist, Dawn Sager (Woodstock), is no stranger to emergency calls. As a previous 911 operator she has experience helping people through some difficult situations which require a lot of patience and skills. This experience served her well as she worked for Shentel in sales, marketing and customer service for 16 years, but spent 10 years of that time in the wireless division (Spring stores).

Dawn enjoys working with people. She says she always refers to her years as a 911 dispatcher as her favorite because she remembers “there was an adrenaline rush when dealing with emergencies; there is just no other way to explain it. That combined with being an EMT and volunteering for over 30 years has made me a calmer person when dealing with people. I tend to listen better now and always empathize with the customer, even if I have no control over their situation I can still be courteous and polite to them.”

Today, Dawn works out of our Woodstock office helping customers by answering the phones, greeting walk in customers, processing payments, proof reading loan documents and scanning those documents to electronic files.

Although Dawn comes from a farm family, she has not lived on a farm since she was nine years old. She was actually born in the hospital right down the street from our Woodstock office and has lived in Shenandoah County all her life. Dawn has been a member of the Strasburg Volunteer Rescue Squad for 33+ years, and although she no longer runs calls, she still remains active with events and fundraising.

It’s evident in talking with Dawn that she loves working here and she enjoys helping others out. So, when our customers are looking for help with their “emergencies” Dawn’s the one to call.

Tess Weigand

by Donna Dawson (Quarryville)

Tess Weigand joined MAFC as a loan officer trainee in April and works from the Penn Region’s Lancaster office. Tess has an agriculture background and with her positive attitude will do a great job as she works with MAFC customers and calls on potential customers.

“I feel incredibly fortunate to have been given the opportunity to work for Farm Credit right out of college,” says Tess. “I love being able to expand on my educational experiences by working directly with farmers, that’s my favorite part so far,” she adds.

Tess graduated from Pennsylvania State University in State College in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural sciences. She is a volunteer firefighter Rawlinsville Volunteer Fire Department and in her spare time enjoys horses, three-day eventing, farming, sailing, PSU football and fly fishing! At this time, Tess resides in Quarryville.

Dean Loux: A Birthday to Remember

by Yatta Yates (Dover)

Most people get cakes and cards on their birthdays - Dean (Shoemakersville) got a new job! You should ask Dean Loux how he felt starting a new job on his birthday, which was March 25. I am pretty sure he was as happy as can be.

Dean is a Mortgage Loan Originator covering the Penn region. Originally from Sheboygan, Wisconsin, Dean is a graduate of Wichita State University where he received his degree in Entrepreneurship. His past work experiences include working for M & T Mortgage, American Log Mortgage, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, and Reliance First Mortgage as in house lender for Kingsway Realty. Guess you could say he likes being in the Mortgage Industry!

Dean has a pretty cool family: his wife Paula works as an office manager for a chiropractor, and his daughter Sarah, works as an RN for Reading Hospital. In his spare time, he loves going to baseball games, he is a big time Brewer’s fan, and he also enjoys going to concerts with his family. He is a fan of the blues and great guitar players.

When I asked Dean how he likes working for MidAtlantic, he said "My co-workers are excellent, and I love the team-oriented environment. I really have zero dislikes!"

Welcome to MidAtlantic Dean; we hope you'll spend a lot more birthdays with us!

Palesa Motshidi: My Journey

My story begins in Botswana which is in the southern part of Africa where I was born. I was brought up in the Washington DC / Prince Georges County, MD area most of my life. I am a 20 year old senior at Delaware State University where I am studying Finance and Banking. Playing tennis is what brought me to Delaware and I obtained a full-scholarship. Unfortunately because of an injury that occured, my sophomore year of high school, I was released from the team and lost my scholarship. It was a tragic experience and I had no idea what my next move was. With consistent praying and hard work I was able to gain an academic scholarship. For the past three years, I learned a lot about myself while attending school. One vital thing was despite the circumstances, don’t ever let anything or anyone bring you down.

With that being said, I took a chance in applying for MAFC. Being rejected by a company that I had been working for, for the past two years, I saw that my advisor posted up an opportunity with Farm Credit. I quickly filled out their application and waited for a call. Fortunately, I received a called in for an interview, but after the interview, I anxiously waited for a call to work for the company. A woman by the name Lynn called me and asked “Palesa are you still interested in the position?” I replied by saying “Of course!” and that’s how my journey began.

Doing this internship, I hope to leave with a better understanding of agriculture and farm life. Also I would like to gain as much experience as possible with finance and tie it in with my education. I feel lucky to have found MidAtlantic to help me do that!

Yatta Yates: Keeping up with the Intern

It's summer time and most young college students spend their summers sleeping in and searching for summer jobs, but not me. I come in at 8 a.m. sharp ready for the work day. I am the new marketing intern reporting to Angel Adams. I am a junior at Delaware State University majoring in business with a concentration in marketing.

Open to new experiences and always ready to learn, I quickly picked up the work routine. I love not being the typical intern who has a corner desk, picks up coffee and makes copies; instead I get to help Amber the marketing specialist with events, blogs and other various tasks. I even wrote my first blog as an intern, which is posted on the MAFC blog. I love traveling, visiting new places, and learning new things. There is so much out there to learn! In fact, I went on my first mission trip at 15 years old to Chiapas, Mexico with my church youth group.

In a month’s time, I have done some research, visited other Farm Credit offices, and attended my first Orioles game with other employees. Speaking of other employees, everyone is really nice. From the first day I started working, I have felt welcomed. I enjoy working here and I am happy to be a part of this team!

IT Corner

by Danny Ross (Salisbury)

Have you noticed the signs in stores that ask you to connect to the in-store Wi-Fi from your smartphone or download their App so that you can get exclusive offers? Well, the store gets something in exchange. They get to learn a lot about you! Retailers have begun tracking consumer movements by looking for devices that may have Wi-Fi turned on… in fact; you do not even need to be connected to the in-store Wi-Fi in order for them to collect the data.

The New York Times reported that Nordstrom has installed sensors around their stores that record your smartphone's MAC address (a unique identifier) and they use that to track your movements around the store. While the MAC address does not reveal any personal data, it allows Nordstrom to learn a lot about your shopping habits. Using signals from your smartphone and combining that with video surveillance, the store might be able to determine your gender, demographics, and how long you examined an item before buying it.

You might be picturing grainy black and white images when you think of surveillance cameras, but that’s not necessarily true anymore. These cameras have become so sophisticated that they might be able to determine your mood. Once your gender, demographics and mood have been captured, stores can offer targeted ads when you get to the checkout line (remember, they know your movements based on your phone and what you look like and how you are feeling based on their cameras). One example that was used was to display an ad for whiskey to an angry man, shopping on a Friday night, who was approximately 30 years old.

What comes next? Stores are working on recognizing you as soon as you walk into the store so that audio and visual ads can be targeted immediately. The ads may also be displayed directly on your smartphone’s screen!

Strategic Action Council Term Wrap-Up

by Wayne Richard (Denton)

The Strategic Action Council is finishing up its fourth term which has brought more exciting opportunities for us to propose changes to senior management. We had a lot of great topics to choose from and decided to focus on training enhancements, specifically creating an Ag 101 training curriculum and revising the existing mentoring program.

With the Ag 101 curriculum we have devised Career Café modules which give a good overview of each of the major commodities that we service here at MidAtlantic. If approved these modules will become mandatory training for our new employees and will be available for all staff on Career Café. They are designed to give new employees who may lack an agricultural background a quick breakdown on what our customers are doing.

The mentoring program was a topic that was suggested by numerous employees. After researching the issue we found that there was a lot of good information available through Career Café, but the information wasn’t getting to the mentors. The council is proposing subtle changes to the program, such as, mentors going through a certification process before they are paired with a mentee. This would require annual training for the mentors to make sure they are prepared for their mentees and provide them with an opportunity to exchange ideas.

At this time we are preparing to present our recommendations to senior management, but we are also starting to think about the next term. We are currently accepting new topics as well as looking for new members. I encourage those interested to submit your name and join the council as we continue to look for ways to improve our association.


5 Years - Kristen Jarrell (Denton), Martha Branham (Pocomoke) , Elizabeth Benitez (Frederick)

10 Years - Bill Kitsch (Lancaster) , Laura Eisner (Bel Air)

15 Years - Karla Buchanan (Lancaster)

25 Years - Helen Pusey

30 Years - Ron Lindale (Georgetown), Molly Brumbley (Bel Air)

Spot Awards

Annual Meeting Help - Angel Adams, Becky Adams, Amber Bullock, Pam Anderson, Shalene Arnold, Jessica Bashore, Elizabeth Benetiz, Cathy Biddle, Jennifer Bramble, Betsy Brumback, Julie Chronister, Karla Buchanan, Debbie Caten, Marvin Charles, Adam Cramer, Donna Dawson, Tuyet Do, Jamee Elliott, Zach Evans, Teresa Gleockler, Tracey Gosnell, Grace Heagy, Mary Henry, Penny Holt, Josh ousekeeper, Sherrie Howard, Tara Ison, Kristin Jarrell, Denise Karanikas, Cheryl Keesecker, Ron Lindale, Emma Main, Donna Martin, Jeff McKay, Darin Miller, Mary Miller, Nicole Mitchelle, John Mylin, Bonnie Ogg, Sharon Perdue, Amanda Ramer, Sharon Redding, Matt Ritenour, Mary Jane Roop, Danny Ross, Melissa Sipes, Debbie Sturgeon, Lynn Thornton, Gary Tribbett, Michelle Trumpower, Stacie Warner, Cheryl Wilczenski, Jason Wisecarver

CRM 2011 Upgrade - Angel Adams, Cathy Biddle, Cheryl Chappell, Ryan Clouse, Sheri Fraley, Alison Gordon, Grace Heagy, Jane Lalik, Jeff McKay, Sharon Redding, Danny Ross, Gary Stepanchick

Scholarship Help - Terri Clevenger, Zach Evans, Justin Heffner, Emma Main, Bonnie Ogg, Melissa Sipe, Karen Smith, Gary Stepanchick

Capital Projects - Ron Lindale, Jim McCabe

Individual Contributions toward Historic Earnings - Pam Anderson, Kim Fisher, Rhonda Grove, George Hemperly, Shannon Rill

Penn Region WOW Award Winners - Shalene Arnold, Tuyet Do, Sandy Hanna, Amanda Ramer, Terry Monteverde, Jennifer Rodeffer, Linda Sprenger, Christine Soos, Gary Stepanchick

LDP II Project Assistance – Cathy Blair

Assisting SMM department – Michelle Trumpower

Exceptional Teamwork – Terri Clevenger, Karen Hoffman, Penny Holt, Becky Kish, Ruth Ann Milanov, Karen Smith, Scott Swaim

Outstanding Customer Service – Elizabeth Bentez, Bill Borsa, Greg Cornwell, Adam Cramer, Sherry Gentry, Gregg Gillespie, Denise Karanikas, Michelle Trumpower, Kelli Wilson

Crop Insurance Cross-Sell Campaign – Jim Newcomb, Amanda Ramer, Karen Swecker

ATF Contest Winner – Georgia Hemperly

Fixing an Account – Christine Soos, Andy Terrell

Baltimore City Event with Redmer and Hall – Keith Wills

Coordinating Painting Project – Debbie Sturgeon

AgFirst Business Continuity – Karla Buchanan

Outstanding Customer Support – Danny Ross

Hopps Event – Mary Jane Roop

Stock Project – Cheryl Chappell

Successful Servicing Results - Richard Smith

Training New Employee – Cheryl Chappell

For Sale: Bedroom Suite - $300

Single loft bed with mattress, two bookcases and one three-drawer dresser. Contact Francy Bailey (Lancaster) for more info.

For Sale: Graco Quattro Tour Travel System - $125

One-hand , gravity fold stroller, “SnugRide” infant car seat and 2 stay-in-car adjustable seat bases. Stroller holds a child up to 50 lbs. Very lightly used. Retail value $290. Selling for $125. Contact Alison Gordon (Lancaster) for more info.

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