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Florida legislature honors Farm Credit as it celebrates 100 years

Release date: 3/16/2016

MARIANNA, Fla. – The Florida Senate and House of Representatives both have adopted resolutions honoring Farm Credit on its 100th anniversary.

Farm Credit serves more than 3,800 customers in Florida through Farm Credit of Central Florida, based in Lakeland; Farm Credit of Florida, headquartered in Royal Palm Beach; and Farm Credit of Northwest Florida in Marianna.

Sen. Bill Montford, Florida Senate Ag Chair, read a resolution during opening session in February congratulating Farm Credit and its Florida entities on reaching its centennial year. In March, Rep. Tom Goodson, Florida House Ag Chair, read a similar resolution on the House floor. The resolution also was presented by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam during the Taste of Florida Breakfast at the state fair.

“It’s very gratifying to have these public officials recognize the good work that Farm Credit does for agriculture and rural communities in Florida,” said Farm Credit of Northwest Florida CEO Rick Bitner. “We strive to be a good partner with these communities day after day, and we’re proud of the services we have been able to provide over the past century. We are building a solid foundation for future generations as we look toward the next 100 years.”

The nationwide Farm Credit System was established on July 17, 1916, when President Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Farm Loan Act into law. The System has been providing reliable, consistent credit and financial services to agriculture and rural communities ever since, today serving all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

Farm Credit entities operate as member-owned cooperatives, regularly sharing profits with their members.

“Those returns give our members a financial boost and the money often goes back into the local community, stimulating further economic growth,” said Greg Cunningham, CEO of Farm Credit of Florida. “It’s a vital part of our business model.”

Agriculture is the second-largest industry in Florida and has a $148.5 billion annual economic impact. The industry has more than 2.1 million workers in the state, farming nearly 300 commodities from citrus to sweet corn, beef cows to broilers and honey to horticulture.

“Agriculture touches the daily lives of all of the citizens of Florida and beyond – from the food on their tables to the clothes on their backs,” said Reggie Holt, CEO of Farm Credit of Central Florida. “Farm Credit has stood by agriculture through good times and bad, and we’ll be here for generations to come.”