For Ray Volentine, farming is life.
“I’ve never done anything else,” he said.
Carrying on a family legacy
Ray grew up on the farm and has been growing cotton and raising cattle on his own for over 62 years. He follows in the footsteps of his father, grandfather and great grandfathers, who all farmed cotton as well. Today, the Volentine family has five generations on the farm, and Ray is the oldest row crop farmer in Caddo Parish, Louisiana.
Farm Credit: there to help
After many years, Ray reconsidered his options for financial support and chose the institution he knew the best: Farm Credit.
“We knew about them and we knew all the people that work there. So, we decided to make a change in 1996 and it's been great,” Ray said.
The Volentines have been Southern AgCredit customers for more than 20 years. “I think Southern Ag is important because they're one of the few ag lending institutions around now,” Ray said.
For Ray’s son Mike, Farm Credit’s flexibility has been a crucial piece of the relationship. Southern AgCredit understands that farming is an ever-changing business and that farmers have to respond to changes in the weather and in the markets. It’s only natural that things will change over the course of a season.
“Anytime we have to make an adjustment or a change in plans, Southern AgCredit always seems to do what's in our best interest,” Mike said. “They want this farm to survive.”
More than just a loan
Over the years, the folks at Southern AgCredit have become more than financial advisors and loan officers to Mike and Ray. Their relationships have progressed to a different level.
“It's not just a bunch of people in the office; we’ve all become friends and it's been good,” said Mike.
Ray’s grandsons, Mike’s sons, Kevin and Wesley are the next generation of Volentine Farms Partners. They are on the farm and are also Southern AgCredit borrowers, working to carry on the legacy of Volentine Farms Partners.
When he thinks about the years ahead, Ray can’t imagine a time without Farm Credit. “Southern AgCredit would have to leave us. We would not leave them,” he said with a smile on his face.