Farm Credit on Feb. 2 unveiled the contents of a time capsule buried in Larned, Kan. in 1967 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Federal Land Bank system, the precursor to today's Farm Credit System, which supports rural communities and agriculture with reliable, consistent credit and financial services. Among the items revealed were predictions from Farm Credit leaders about agriculture and financing conditions today, and documents from the first-ever loan made by Farm Credit in 1917. Former Kansas Senator Bob Dole, along with current Kansas Senators Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran, participated in the event at the Farm Credit Council annual meeting.
In 2016, Farm Credit is commemorating its 100th year serving agriculture and rural communities. As a U.S. Representative from Kansas' Big First congressional district, Mr. Dole was present that day in March 1967 when the time capsule was buried, during the 50th anniversary celebration where 10,000 people gathered for a parade to mark the occasion.
Senator Dole's words prior to that event still ring true today, "There is no better time than the present to join in tribute to all who are engaged in the agricultural enterprises of our country and to wish them success and Godspeed in the momentous years to come."
Also in attendance today was Danny Stockwell, great-grandson of A.L. Stockwell, who received the first-ever Farm Credit loan in 1917 to finance his family farm outside of Larned. The younger Mr. Stockwell attended the 50th anniversary celebration, helping tighten the bolts on the time capsule before it was buried.
"I congratulate the Farm Credit System on their 100th anniversary as they continue to play the much-needed role of providing affordable loans to our nation's farmers, ranchers and rural businesses," said Senate Ag Committee Chairman, Pat Roberts. "I'm pleased to see the forecasts from 50 years ago were accurate, and I'm confident the next 50 years will be even more productive for the Farm Credit System and rural America."
Fifty years ago, 12 Farm Credit leaders from across the country each wrote their predictions about the future of agriculture and the financing required to feed and clothe an ever-growing population. In many cases, those predictions anticipated the evolution of the industry.
"It's remarkable to consider the amazing success story of U.S. agriculture in the 50 years since these Farm Credit leaders made their predictions," said Todd Van Hoose, Farm Credit Council president and chief executive officer. "We are proud of the role Farm Credit has played in that success, and Farm Credit's mission to support rural communities and agriculture remains as vital today as it was when the first loan was made in 1917."
The 1967 predictions accurately identified some of the most prominent drivers of agricultural finance today, including:
- Complexity and Sophistication of Modern Farming Operations - "Successful farming in the future increasingly will demand a high degree of training and skill…not only in production techniques, but also in business and financial management."
- Growth in Farm Size - "Million dollar operations will be more common than hundred thousand dollar operations are today. This of course will necessitate the use of more credit."
- Modern, Market-based Risk Management Practices - "The more sophisticated farmers will actively participate in hedging practices on the livestock and commodity futures market, protecting themselves against adverse price movements both on what they buy and what they sell."
- Increased Efficiency & Production - "Contractual relationships between producers and processors will be commonplace. The ability to produce products with a high degree of uniformity in accordance with specified characteristics will make contracting very practical."
- Technological Advances - "Remote control by either man or computer will be used in field work rather extensively. Later this year, Farm Credit will assemble and bury a new time capsule in Wichita, Kansas, to be opened at the 150th anniversary of Farm Credit.