Covington Briefs ABA Committee on FFSC Plans

Curt Covington, Bank of the West, Fresno, CA, and an ABA-designated representative to the Farm Financial Standards Council, provided a briefing on the activities of the Council to members of the planning committee at the 2012 ABA National Agricultural Bankers Conference held Nov. 4 – 7 in Milwaukee.

With an audience of nearly 40 lenders from across the country in attendance, Covington provided an overview of the On-line Education Program as well as the FFA project (see Executive Summary) which are top Council Priorities.

Covington discussed the evolution of the education program and how it was fitting to the Mission of the Coun- cil. “This takes the Council to the next step in being a provider of education,” he explained to the group. He noted the desire of the Council to find a ‘partner’ that already has an on-line learning platform in place and said an ultimate goal of the program would be to offer some type of accreditation or certification.”

Joe Kessie, Lake City Bank, Warsaw, IN, an ABA committee member and also a member of the FFSC Board of Directors, explained the growing relationship between the Council and the FFA Organization. “This can be a perfect fit for so many,” he noted. “The Council wants to achieve greater industry recognition and acceptance of the Guidelines and the FFA is looking for uniformity in the ag finance programs they are distributing to vocational agriculture instructors around the country.”

John Blanchfield, Senior Vice President, ABA Center for Agricultural and Rural Banking, told the group of the very early development of the Council and the role of the ABA in working with the very early Farm Financial Standards Task Force, which was the original name of the Council.

Responding to questions about Council funding, FFSC Administrator Carroll Merry explained the overall make- up of the Council and the fact that outside of sales of the Guidelines documents, the Council has to rely solely on contributions in order to allow it to continue to function.

“It is anticipated that the On-line Education Program would be self-funding once it is fully developed,” Coving- ton told the group. “The ABA, and the members of this group, may want to be open to some kind of financial sponsorship as the Council works to get the program up and running,” he concluded.

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