Kents Store, Virginia
Kents Store, Virginia
A Family Tradition
Farming is in Chelsea Bickley’s blood. She inherited her family’s passion for agriculture and spent countless hours on her family farm growing up, where they raised beef cattle, corn, soybeans, wheat, barley and hay.
Chelsea’s grandfather started Piney Acres when he was younger, and her family has owned the land for generations. As she transitions into an ownership role, Chelsea has purchased additional heifers and made improvements to the operation.
“It's what my granddad and dad would've wanted, to see the farm continue,” Chelsea said. “So, that's something that's extremely important.”
Alongside carrying on her family’s legacy as a farmer, Chelsea uses her firsthand knowledge as a Colonial Farm Credit relationship manager.
Chelsea understands the unique financial needs of each customer she works with. Since 2021, she has helped farmers secure loans they need to grow, expand and improve their operations.
“I think it's very beneficial for a young, beginning or small farmer to work with a Farm Credit lender. We have that knowledge and that background to be able to meet the needs of that particular farmer,” she said.
Chelsea is passionate about helping others in agriculture and is always willing to offer her expertise and guidance to those in need – a passion evident at Colonial Farm Credit.
“We have employees, a lot of them have grown up on a farm and have a passion for helping farmers,” Colonial Farm Credit’s CEO Paul Franklin said. “It takes a lot of resources and a lot of time to do what she does, and I really admire her for that.”
Helping Farmers Succeed
As a beginning farmer and relationship manager, Chelsea has relied on a variety of resources to help young, beginning and small farmers and agribusinesses succeed. This includes Ag Biz Planner, a virtual education course run by Farm Credit University.
“The AgBiz Planner program is an educational program designed to help farmers develop business plans and to help them develop a good relationship with their lender,” Paul said.
The program helps participants develop a strategic farm business plan to navigate the many challenges of growing and running a farm.
“Each module would have you sit down and work through a business plan or a section of a business plan. At the end of it, you had a product that you could say, ‘This is the goal for my operation. This is what I want my operation to do, and this is what I need to meet for it to be successful.’” Chelsea said.