In The Community

Central Texas Farm Credit: Mission-Driven, Member-Owned

Coop Cotton

Central Texas Farm Credit’s support for rural communities and agriculture is rooted in a ground - up approach.

As cooperative organizations, we are owned and governed by our customers. Their success drives every decision we make. And those decisions start with the board of directors.

Elected by their peers, the members of the boards of directors are customer-owners themselves. In addition to relying on Central Texas Farm Credit for reliable, consistent credit and financial services, they have taken their participation to the next level.

Democratically elected, these individuals collectively leverage their expertise to provide important direction and ensure the safety and soundness of the finances at their institutions.

Most often, board members are farmers and ranchers themselves and have a deep understanding of the challenges their fellow customer-owners face each day. That knowledge extends to the commitment they place on providing opportunities and special programs for young and beginning farmers, as these new producers develop business plans and work toward commercial viability.

In carefully managing the safety and soundness of the institution, board members also determine how best to distribute the net income their Central Texas Farm Credit institution earns each year.

That net income is only used in two ways: 1) retained within the institution to build financial strength that ensures continued lending or 2) returned to our customer-owners by way of patronage dividends, effectively lowering the cost of borrowing. Usually it’s an appropriate mix of both options.

In 2018, Central Texas Farm Credit returned a record $6.3 million to our member-owners – central and west Texas farmers and ranchers, farmer-owned cooperatives and other agribusinesses, rural homebuyers and rural infrastructure providers.

It’s all part of what sets us apart from other financial partners. It’s the Farm Credit difference.

It All Started With a “Lohn”

Doug and Tammy Hemphill
Doug and Tammy Hemphill

Nestled below the Brady Mountains in McCulloch County, surrounded by rolling wheat fields, sits Lohn, Texas, a tight-knit rural community where the number of cattle outweigh the 100 or so residents.

Local farmer, rancher and real estate broker Doug Hemphill is one of those residents.

Home Is Where the Heart Is

Upon graduation from Tarleton State University in 1987, Doug, a Lohn native and fifth-generation farmer and rancher, moved to South Texas to do what so many do — embark on a journey to see what the world had to offer outside of his hometown. A year later, the gig was up. He missed the familiarity of his hometown, the open blue skies of McCulloch County and the calming sight of cattle grazing in a wheat field.

“I wasn’t happy down South,” says Doug. “So my dad offered to bring me back to work for our family farm as a partner.”

Doug eagerly accepted the offer from his dad, Jerell. He returned to the Lohn Valley and family farm in 1988 to start the partnership.

“We’ve been partners from the beginning, and that’s how it’ll always be,” Doug says. “None of this would have been possible without my dad.”

Today, the father-son duo runs a commercial cow-calf operation, and they also grow hay, wheat and cotton.

Doug married Tammy, a Brady, Texas, native in 1989, and the couple had two daughters, Courtney, now 24, and Kristen, now 17.

Farm Credit in the Family

The Hemphill family is not new to Farm Credit.

Jerell served as an outside director for the Farm Credit System’s former FLBA of Coleman and showed his son the value of financing with Farm Credit.

“When it came time to purchase land of my own I thought, ‘Why go anywhere else?’” says Doug. “One of the main reasons I went to Farm Credit was because of the patronage program.”

With his father’s guidance and the help of Central Texas Farm Credit, Doug saw Hemphill Farms flourish.

“Not only has Central Texas Farm Credit been very beneficial to me from a farming and ranching standpoint,” says Doug, “but as a realtor I get to see firsthand the benefits [of doing business with a cooperative] that many others receive as they make their first big purchase and begin to see their dream of owning their own farm or ranch become a reality.”

“I Pledge My Hands to Larger Service…”

Courtney Hemphill
Courtney Hemphill

In addition to managing his farming and ranching operation, Doug is an associate broker with Texas Prime Country Real Estate in Brady.

“Real estate has been the perfect fit,” says Doug.

In addition to his real estate endeavors, he serves on the boards of Lohn Independent School District and the McCulloch County Farm Bureau, and is an adult leader and rifle coach for the McCulloch County 4-H Club. He believes in giving back to his community and serving others, a trait he has passed on to his daughters, who have developed a similar drive and formed their own unique paths.

Courtney graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in animal science in 2015 and a master’s degree in animal science in May 2017, both from Texas A&M University. She will continue her education at Kansas State University this fall, where she will pursue a Ph.D. in grain science and management.

Courtney credits 4-H for shaping her life up to this point.

Kristen Hemphill
Kristen Hemphill

“It’s where it all started for her,” says Doug. “Agriculture is her passion.”

Kristen is a testament to 4-H’s claim that there is something for everyone in the organization. An active competitor in shooting sports, she has won numerous awards and qualified twice for the Junior Olympics in air rifle and small-bore rifle. She plans to shoot at the collegiate level and has had top shooting program schools like Texas Christian University, the University of Mississippi, West Virginia University and the U.S. Air Force Academy express interest in her joining their elite programs.

Passion, Community and Stewardship

Participation in 4-H empowered both sisters with lifetime leadership skills and instilled them with passion, a sense of community and stewardship — three attributes that the Hemphill and Central Texas Farm Credit families have in common.

“I cannot say enough about the staff at the Central Texas office,” says Doug. “Their professionalism is second to none, and you can just tell that they are committed to providing you the best product with the best customer service possible. They want you to be successful because your success adds to their success.”

Yates Pecan Oil Wins Nationwide Good Food Award

Pam and Harold Yates

Over 900 people including farmers, chefs, journalists and food activist gathered January 20, 2017 in the historic Herbst Theater in San Francisco to pay tribute to 193 Good Food Award Winners. Included in the award winners were Yates Pecan, LLC for its unique Extra Virgin Pecan Oil. Yates Pecan LLC owners, Pam and Harold Yates, produce pecan oil, pressed pecan meal and other gluten and GMO free products in San Saba, Texas. Their agricultural activities also include in-shell pecan production, purchasing and marketing plus livestock, custom hay baling, and wildlife businesses. Harold and Pam have been loyal Central Farm Credit customers since 2002.

The Good Food Awards celebrate crafted food that is tasty, healthy and responsibly produced. The Good Food Foundation 501 (c)3 organizes the Award in collaboration with a broad community of health-conscious people. As winners, Yates Pecan was entitled and participated in an invitation only mercantile day at the San Francisco Presidio restricted to healthy food oriented journalists and purchasing organizations. Yates Pecan is also allowed to display the Good Food Award seal on its pecan oil.

Yates Pecan Oil

Yates Pecan Oil was recognized for its unique and healthy properties. Compared to the finest extra virgin Olive Oil, pecan oil has 40 % less saturated fat, three times the amount of good polyunsaturated fats including omegas-3 and -6 and twice the vitamin E. Pecan Oil also has a higher smoke point of 470 degrees which makes it excellent for sautéing. Pecan Oil contains about the same calories (126 per tablespoon) as Olive Oil (120 per tablespoon). For the gourmet, cold pressed pecan oil is a premium oil with a new and exciting pecan nut flavor. The pressed pecan meal produced in association with the cold impeller oil pressing process provides a gluten free baking product used by Yates Pecan for its pressed pecan meal cookies, pie crusts, donuts, meat substitutes and pecan butters.

In winning the award, Yates Pecan Oil rose to the top amongst 2095 entries in a Blind Tasting with 250 judges. The highest scoring entries were then submitted to a rigorous vetting process to verify they met the sustainability and social responsibility criteria to win a Good Food Award. As a winner, Yates Pecan Oil represents the forefront of American craft food making with a product that is delicious, respectful of the environment, and connected to community and cultural traditions. Awards were presented by Nell Newman, daughter and director of Paul Newman’s Own Products, San Francisco Restaurant Owner Alice Waters and other nationally known healthy food advocates.