Gary Sitzer is a fourth-generation farmer based in Weiner, Arkansas.
Gary raises rice and soybeans; and he’s been a Farm Credit customer for nearly 40 years.
Dating back to the 1980s
Years ago, Gary was hoping to build an office building in Weiner for his farm business. He looked around for a bank in his community that would help him finance the construction project, but no one would take him on.
For years, Gary had been running into Farm Credit employees in local agriculture circles; he’d see them at farm sales and other local haunts popular to the farming crowd, where they would encourage him to do business with Farm Credit. Gary had never really thought seriously about these offers until he got turned down by the bank. He decided to give Farm Credit a try and that was the beginning of a nearly four-decade long relationship.
Farm Credit financed Gary’s office building and most of the farm operation from that day forward.
The cooperative difference
As a new member-owner of Farm Credit, Gary attended the Farm Credit annual meeting. He sat through the programming and chatted with other farmer members in attendance.
However, at the end of the meeting, something happened that took Gary by great surprise. Farm Credit employees started handing out checks to everyone in attendance. Gary soon realized these were dividend checks; money that, because Farm Credit is a cooperative, the company was paying back to their members.
“I thought, ‘man, this is a heck of a deal. That's almost as much as the interest I paid,’” Gary said. “And it's been a great relationship for me and my family for all these nearly 40 years.”