Business briefs – December 29

Local insurance agents receive awards

GREENFIELD — Bill Bolander and Clark Pence of Pence, Brooks, Bolander and Shepherd Insurance in Greenfield recently received awards from their parent company, Shepherd Insurance.

Pence received “Rookie of The Year” from the Shepherd organization for his outstanding sales accomplishments in his first year with the company and in the insurance business. Pence is a graduate of Greenfield-Central High School and Northern Kentucky University. Bolander received the Shepherd “Spirit Award” for his promotion of the company in the community and in professional organizations. Bolander is a New Palestine resident.

Out of seven awards given, the Greenfield office received two of them. Shepherd Insurance has over 250 employees, 17 offices and is located in 4 states. They were recognized this year by The Independent Insurance Agents of Indiana as agency of the year.

Farm Service Agency aids agriculture industry

WASHINGTON, Dec. 21, 2017 — Through the work of staff in more than 2,100 county and state offices, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) provides vital farm safety-net assistance to agricultural producers across America.

“We’ve seen recent challenges in farm income and commodity prices,” said Dr. Robert Johansson, Acting Deputy Under Secretary for the Farm Production and Conservation mission area. “The ‘safety net’ provided in the 2014 Farm Bill has helped producers withstand economic losses as well as losses resulting from natural disasters. Loans for operating expenses, farm purchases and other purposes help current producers stay in business and allow a new generation of farmers and ranchers get their start.”

Agriculture demands working capital. According to Johansson, FSA provided credit, either directly or guaranteed through commercial lenders, to 120,000 family farmers across the country.

In fiscal year 2017, USDA Farm Loan Programs pumped $6 billion in support to a diverse group of producers across America. That was the second highest total in FSA history. More than $2.5 billion of that total was direct and guaranteed operating loans, and another $3.5 billion was allocated for direct and guaranteed farm ownership loans. This additional financing enabled farmers and ranchers across the country to access capital to start their operations, or to expand their existing operations. The new lending continued the recent growth in FSA’s farm loan portfolio.