Sydney Smith - A CFFC Intern
July 5, 2019: The Start of my Internship Journey
Growing up as a farmer’s daughter, I have learned more about agriculture throughout my 21 years than some people will learn in a lifetime.
I have grown to appreciate the hard work that it takes to provide even the simplest necessities in life, such as food. Living in the Beaver Dam, NC community my entire life where nearly everyone around is connected to agriculture in some way, I have always assumed that most people in the world had this same appreciation. It wasn’t until I moved to Raleigh to attend NC State University that I realized how wrong I was. Although NC State is known for being based around agriculture, many of the friends I made there have never seen a field of crops, which is an everyday occurrence for me. When I first met them and mentioned where I am from and how I grew up and lived on a “farm,” most of them assumed I meant a farm in storybooks or movies with pigs, chickens, and a barn. I would laugh and explain how there are different types of farms, and that no, I was not raised in a barn. These first interactions made me realize just how disconnected most of my generation is from agriculture.
During my first year at State, I decided that I wanted to become a successful businesswoman. With the ever-changing diversity in our country, I saw that speaking two languages would be beneficial in reaching this goal. Therefore, I decided to double major in Finance and Spanish. After that first year at NC State, I went home for the summer and experienced my dad stressing about his crops and doing everything he could to make sure that he would make a profit, just as he had every other summer. Now that I had a little more knowledge about the business world from my classes, I found myself trying to figure out how all of this worked, from a financial perspective. Because of that curiosity, I decided to also minor in AgBusiness Management. These classes have taught me to appreciate this side of agriculture even more.
As an intern at Cape Fear Farm Credit, I am excited to learn more about the business side of farming. My college friends are just a small example of how far people are moving away from agriculture and the more this distance grows, the more important it is for farmers to have the support from businesses like Cape Fear Farm Credit. From experiences with my family, I have learned that farming requires a lot of hard work and risk-taking. However, in only my first few weeks here at Cape Fear Farm Credit, I have learned that this same hard work and risk-taking is required from the companies that support the farmers, especially in trying times. My goal after college is to continue my education and obtain my Masters in Business Administration. After that, I hope to have the opportunity to continue working in a company in the Farm Credit System so that I can help to support farmers like my dad.
August 9, 2019: My Internship Journey
The mission of the Farm Credit System is to be there for the agricultural and rural communities through good times and bad. As an intern at Cape Fear Farm Credit this summer, I had the opportunity to watch this mission be fulfilled first-hand. From shadowing loan officers and credit analysts to meeting with some of the borrowers, my experiences here have shown me just how much of an impact Cape Fear Farm Credit has on the lives of its customers.
One of my favorite parts about this internship was being able to meet the customers. Throughout the summer, we traveled to different branches of the company to shadow team members in order to understand each position’s role in the overall process of creating a loan. A few of the loan officers at various branches allowed us to join them in visiting their customers and talking with them about their experiences with Cape Fear Farm Credit. Although it was always interesting to see and learn about the different types of farms that the company serves, the way that each farmer described their experiences with Cape Fear Farm Credit left me in awe. “We would not be here today if it weren’t for Cape Fear Farm Credit” were words that I heard over and over again throughout the summer. Hearing this statement allowed me to understand the true meaning of CFFC’s mission where employees have a drive to serve their customers because they want to, and not because they have to. In my opinion, one of the most important things that a company can do is to serve its customers in a way that reflects its values, and CFFC does this in every way possible.
When I think of Cape Fear Farm Credit employees, one of the words that I think of is passion. That is because they believe in the mission of the Farm Credit System and are passionate about helping their customers. For example, each loan officer makes it a point to not only be the customer’s lender, but to be their friend and be there for them in all situations. On these farm visits, I was able to see just how much the farmers appreciate the bonds that they have built with these employees. My hope is that wherever I may go in life, I find this same passion within myself. My time at Cape Fear Farm Credit has given me the opportunity to learn more about the agriculture industry and grow as an individual. However, there are two important takeaways that will stay with me forever: to always find a way to help others if you can, and to find passion in all that you do in life.