Louisiana Land Bank Stockholders Participate in 10th Annual Farm Credit Young Leaders Program

Alan and Carey Lawson with Stan Ray

Alan and Carey Lawson of Crowley, La., attended the 2015 Farm Credit Young Leaders Program on behalf of Louisiana Land Bank. They celebrated their completion of the program in Washington, D.C., with Stan Ray, right, Farm Credit Bank of Texas Chief Administrative Officer and Tenth District Farm Credit Council President.

Alan and Carey Lawson of Crowley, La., recently got an inside look at how Farm Credit supports rural communities and agriculture with reliable, consistent credit and financial services. The Lawsons, member-borrowers of Louisiana Land Bank, were among 25 young agricultural producers who attended the 2015 Farm Credit Young Leaders Program.

This is the 10th consecutive year that the program has shown young borrowers how Farm Credit's cooperative structure and unique funding mechanism enable it to help rural communities and agriculture thrive. Participants are selected by Farm Credit lending co-ops across a multistate region.

The program began in the New York City area, where the group visited a Wall Street brokerage firm and met with Tracey McCabe, president and chief executive officer of the Federal Farm Credit Banks Funding Corporation. There they learned how investors' purchase of highly rated Farm Credit notes and bonds supplies the capital that Farm Credit lending cooperatives put to work in rural communities. Nationwide, Farm Credit provides more than $227 billion in financing and financial services to farmers, ranchers, rural homeowners, agribusinesses and other eligible borrowers.

Next the group traveled to Washington, D.C., to discuss policy issues with U.S. Department of Agriculture officials, Senate Appropriations Committee and House Agriculture Committee senior staff, and agriculture industry leaders. The five-day program also included a visit to Mount Vernon, President George Washington's Virginia plantation, where participants learned about our nation's heritage of agricultural innovation.

"For a decade now, each year's participants have demonstrated that the future of agriculture is in good hands," said Stan Ray, president of the Tenth District Farm Credit Council, which hosts the Young Leaders Program. "As part of our mission to serve rural America, Farm Credit has a strong commitment to helping young people in agriculture be successful."

Alan Lawson farms in partnership with his father, producing rice, crawfish and cattle at an operation that has grown in size and technological sophistication over the years. A third-generation farmer, he holds a degree in agricultural business from Louisiana State University (LSU), is a graduate of the LSU AgCenter Agricultural Leadership Development Program, and is president of the Acadia Parish Rice Growers Association. Carey is an account manager with Synergy Home Care, and holds a bachelor's degree in geography from LSU and a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Alabama. The couple has a son and a daughter.

The Tenth District Farm Credit Council is the regional member of the national Farm Credit Council, the trade association representing the legislative and regulatory interests of the Farm Credit System. The System is a nationwide network of cooperatively owned rural lenders that have provided financing and financial services since 1916.

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