Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Steve Winegardner worked with AgChoice Farm Credit to purchase his family’s farm in 2020.
AgChoice was there to help as Steve negotiated purchasing the family business.
Life-long love of farming
Steve’s love for agriculture was born long ago; he has fond memories of coming up to the farm and helping his grandfather as a kid. And that love for the industry has never waned.
“I would spend my weekends and my summers up here with Pap and one of my uncles, helping out on the farm, but probably being more of a nuisance than a help,” Steve said. “I've had a connection to this farm ever since.”
The years passed and Steve’s aunt and uncle came to own the majority of the farm. However, after a lifetime of hard labor, Steve’s aunt and uncle decided to retire and were looking to sell the operation.
They called up Steve and explained the situation. It didn’t take much convincing; Steve was interested in purchasing the farm and continuing the operation that his grandfather had started in 1947.
A monkey wrench
Steve thought things were going well; he was getting all his affairs in order and was looking forward to starting this new chapter of life as the owner of the Winegardner's family farm. That’s when COVID-19 struck, causing everything to shut down. Steve worried that the pandemic would prevent him from achieving his lifelong dream of owning the family business and continuing his grandfather’s legacy.
That’s where AgChoice Farm Credit came into the picture.
Farm Credit, a partner in good times and bad
In this time of great stress, Steve turned to his loan officer at AgChoice. “I worked with my loan officer and he was fantastic through it all; he really was great,” Steve said.
On the day of the closing, Farm Credit offices were closed to the public. However, instead of postponing the land and business transfer, Steve and his loan officer drove to Steve’s aunt and uncle’s house in Harrisburg where they could complete the closing safely.
“It really was a smooth, fantastic process,” Steve said. “AgChoice is a great lender and really made sure that I was taken care of throughout the process. It really did feel like they cared about keeping my farm in the family.”