FCS Diversity and Inclusion - PROPOSED RULE - MARCH 2011
Dear Mr. Van Meter, Even though lending to smaller sized farmers may seem cumbersome to you as a financial institution, we are in fact, a good credit risk. I urge you to expand your outreach and services to this population with funds, staffing, and in-house education that reflects full validation by FCS of other farmers than the conventional row crop and confinement livestock ones.
As a grass farmer with a flock of sheep, I recognise that i am not feeding the world but I am feeding my community, along with lots of other area farmers who take care of their land (really), shop locally, fill their schools, and support the local theater, ball team, choir, and dentist. We aren't looking for huge sums. Most of us have other jobs (like conventional farmers) that can give you financial confidence, and we are part of tight communities who want us to succeed.
This is to say that lending terms warrant a make-over - with no less security for you but to match the actual and legitamate needs of community business people who contribute to the engine of a local economy by farming.
Finally, let me add that as a staff member of the Minnesota-based Land Stewardship Project, we and our partners can help educate your staff, design appropriate materials, and generally think through how best to serve this new clientele base that yes, you would do well to serve.
Thanks much for your time, Caroline van Schaik Community based Food Systems Program, Land Stewardship Project Lewiston, MN.
Caroline Van Schaik 40002 WOLF HILL DR LA CRESCENT, MN 55947