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Cody Jones, Board Chairman, Farm Credit of Western Arkansas, Poultry operation, poultry operation in arkansas, cattle, cattle operation in arkansas, Farm Credit of Western Arkansas, poultry loans, cattle loans, board of directors, ag loans Cody Jones, Board Chairman, Farm Credit of Western Arkansas, Poultry operation, poultry operation in arkansas, cattle, cattle operation in arkansas, Farm Credit of Western Arkansas, poultry loans, cattle loans, board of directors, ag loans

Cooperative Q&A

We visited Board Chairman Cody Jones at his farm in Greenwood to learn more about his connection to agriculture and Farm Credit.

Biostar

Farm Credit of Western Arkansas

Marketing & Communications Team

How did you get started in agriculture? 

My parents grew up farming in northwest Missouri and decided they wanted to have a different life for them and their children. We moved to several different states for my father’s job and ended up moving to Arkansas when I was eight. I later graduated from Greenwood High School before pursuing my bachelor’s degree at Arkansas Tech University. After graduating college, I worked for Tyson Foods in production management, and when our daughter, Hallie, was born, I decided I needed a change. We moved back closer to Greenwood and bought 160 acres where ironically, we decided to try farming.

You’ve been farming now for 18 years. What’s your best advice for those just getting into the profession?

Treat it like a business. Keep the farm accounts separate and track all your income, expenses, and assets. Most people who are successful in farming treat their operation this way.

Cody Jones , Board Chairman

Does your daughter, Hallie, have any interest in continuing farming?

She’s been working every summer in the chicken houses and is a hard worker, but she wants to go on and be a CPA. But everyone has a connection to agriculture. Maybe she will go on to do accounting for farms and agriculture.

Cody Jones (right), his wife Angela (left), and his daughter, Hallie (center)

Why did you choose to do business with Farm Credit?

When I got started, I actually got a loan with a different bank. Andrea Leding (former loan officer, and current Senior Vice President of Operations) came to my house, what seemed like daily, to try to get me to do business with Farm Credit. I’m glad I did. I didn’t know how important it was to become a Farm Credit member. Everyone knows when you start a farm, you have a lot of depreciation, you buy a lot of equipment, and your taxes don’t look great. It looks like you’re losing money. Over time, you start to break even, and then make money. Eventually, you start to turn a profit and with that comes more taxes. At my old bank, I wouldn’t have been ready for that. At Farm Credit, I put money back in Funds Held and the day came I needed that money for taxes and I was so thankful it was there.

What would you tell someone to encourage them to choose Farm Credit over a traditional bank?

Number one, Funds Held. Also, the patronage refund. I didn’t know this until I got on the board, but being a GSE (Government Sponsored Enterprise), Farm Credit has special regulations they abide by. Everybody knows in farming there are good times and bad times. Farm Credit is going to do their best to work with you and help you stay farming. With commercial banks, that is not always the case. Your loan might get sold to a secondary market. At Farm Credit, you can talk to someone that knows farming and has your back.

"I didn’t know how important it was to become a Farm Credit member. "
Cody Jones, Board Chairman

What motivated you to run for the board of directors?

When I was first approached about running for the board, I said, “I’ll have to call you back.” I knew it was a big time commitment and with the poultry houses, it’s really hard. In the end, I wanted to give back. I’ve served on several boards, but to me, I think Farm Credit is such a great organization. Until I became a board member, I didn’t know how great it was. As I learned more about it, I saw how unique our association is and how important it is to have a voice.

What is one of the most surprising things you’ve learned since being on the board?

There are so many Farm Credit associations. Before I came on the board, I thought Farm Credit was Farm Credit. We are really proud to be Western Arkansas, and we want to keep it that way. Our management team and employees understand that if we keep finding new ways to stay profitable, we can keep local people and local decisions.

As chair of the board, what are your priorities?

To work as a team with the CEO and the senior management team. We all want to see our association stay profitable. The CEO and senior management team are doing a great job of finding new ways to accomplish this. Staying profitable allows us to keep paying patronage refunds, keep making loans, and allows us to stay Farm Credit of Western Arkansas. One thing that I am proud that we've accomplished so far is term limits on the chair and vice chair positions on the board of directors. In my opinion, this keeps ideas fresh and board members motivated to learn and grow in their roles.

Why is it important for Farm Credit members to participate in the cooperative?

Farm Credit is unique because we have a board of members. By voting, you’re making your voice heard. Just like any election, if you’re not voting, you’re not taking advantage of the voice you’re given. It’s important to be part of something bigger than yourself, and that is what Farm Credit is.

"It’s important to be part of something bigger than yourself, and that is what Farm Credit is."
Cody Jones, Board Chairman

How can members take on a leadership role in Farm Credit?

There’s the advisory committee, nominating committee, and of course, the board of directors. There are also opportunities to get involved with our district bank, AgriBank. The nominating committee generally meets in May. If someone wants to get involved, they can contact the nominating committee or the central office in Russellville. Voting is also an important part of being a member, and I encourage everyone to take part and make their voices heard in each election.

Cody Jones Board Chairman

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