5 Million Patronage Refund Bill Braswell Finds Thrills on Blueberry Hill! Bee All You Can Bee! july 2014

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$3.5 Million 

Patronage Refund 

Bill Braswell Finds Thrills  

on Blueberry Hill!

Bee All You Can Bee!

july 2014






is published quarterly for stockholders, 

directors and friends of Farm Credit of 

Central Florida.


Reginald T. Holt 

BOArd OF direCtOrs

David J. Stanford, Chairman

W. Rex Clonts, Jr., Vice Chairman

Al Bellotto, Chairman Emeritus

C. Dennis Carlton

Homer E. Hunnicutt, Jr.

Michelle G. Hurst

John S. Langford

Keith D. Mixon

Robert R. Roberson

Ronald R. Wetherington


Ron O’Connor, Director of Marketing & 

Governmental Affairs

Tory Boyd, Marketing Coordinator


AgFirst Farm Credit Bank

PUBlishing direCtOr

Amanda Krok


Athina Eargle

Darren Hill

Amanda Simpson

Travis Taylor


Professional Printers


Kathi DeFlorio

Address changes, questions, comments or 

requests for copies of our financial reports 

should be directed to Farm Credit of Central 

Florida by writing P.O. Box 8009, Lakeland, 

FL 33802-8009 or calling 863-682-4117. 

Our quarterly financial report can also be 

obtained on our website: 


Cover photo: Florida FFA President  

Megan Stein Shows her Patriotism








July 2014 | 3



Eligible Farm Credit of Central Florida Members  

Share in $3.5 Million Patronage Refund 


Referring Friends to Farm Credit Can  

Give You a Warm Feeling! 


KeeLee Tomlinson is SASSI! 


Chablee & Jorge Rivera Honeymoon 


Jennifer Parrish Chosen for Wedgworth Class IX 


Hannah Martin Reaches Sweet 16! 


In Memoriam: Jerry Shoop 


In Memoriam: James M. Knox, Jr. 


A New Addition! 


Shane & Carol Platt Earn Two Prestigious Awards! 


Ron O’Connor Has Another Grandson! 


The Smith Family Shares Two Proud Moments! 


Joanne Allred’s Daughter Weds 


Marisela & Alberto Medina’s Boys Love Baseball! 


Farm Credit Sponsors Farm Ladies’ Breakfast 


Farm Credit of Central Florida Stockholders Meeting 


Farm Credit Employees Spread the Good Word  

of Florida Agriculture 


Farm Credit of Central Florida Names  

Michelle G. Hurst to Board 


Welcome Aboard New Employees 


Charlie Grimes Celebrates His 80th Birthday! 


Farm Credit Employees Recognized for Loyalty & Excellence 


Farm Credit/Ag Institute Candidates Forum 



Here’s the Beef! 


Farm Credit Members Key to Creating New 4-H Chapter 


Share Your 4-H Experiences! 


Farm Credit Strawberry Salute Breakfast Draws Huge Crowd 


Farm Credit Directors & Members Work With  

Legislators on Ag Issues 


Taste of Florida 



Bill Braswell Finds Thrills on Blueberry Hill! 


Bee All You Can Bee! 


Farm Credit Members Win Coveted FNGLA Awards 


Wish Farms Strawberry Picking Challenge 



Loan or Lease: What Makes the Most Sense for Your Business?  18

First Quarter 2014 Consolidated Financial Reports 


4 | July 2014 

 Farm Credit oF Central Florida





Farm Credit of Central Florida Chairman 

of the Board, David J. Stanford, a Winter 

Garden citrus grower, announced the 

association’s eligible Member/Borrowers 

will benefit from patronage refunds, or 

profit-sharing, of $3.5 million, significantly 

lowering their cost of borrowing. As 

part of the Farm Credit System, created in 

1916, Farm Credit of Central Florida is a 

Member-Owned cooperative lending funds 

to ranchers, growers, farmers, and rural 

homeowners. Eligible Members will receive 

their patronage refund 100 percent in cash.

“The patronage refund is a reward to 

our Members for their loyalty and is proof 

positive of our adherence to cooperative 

principles. The patronage refund is a 

critical component of the Farm Credit 

Advantage,” Stanford said.

“This strong patronage refund 

continues the tradition of Putting our 

Profits in our Members’ Pockets.” I am 

pleased to report 100 percent of this 

patronage refund will be paid in cash and 

represents a return of more than 16 percent 

of earned interest. The resilience and 

perseverance of our Farm Credit Members 

through one of the most devastating 

depressions since the 1930s has helped 

our association to grow and prosper,” 

said Reggie Holt, Farm Credit of Central 

Florida, President and CEO.

Since 1988, Farm Credit of Central 

Florida’s board of directors has declared 

patronage refunds exceeding $145 million

The coop’s service area spans from the Gulf 

of Mexico to the Atlantic coast serving 13 

central Florida counties including, Citrus, 

Hernando, Pasco, Sumter, Hillsborough, 

Pinellas, Polk, Lake, Orange, Osceola, 

Seminole, Volusia, and Brevard. 

For perspective, the $145 million 

would pay the entire Tampa Bay Rays 

team payroll for two and a half seasons, 

buy 2,400 John Deere Model 613D tractors, 

or 15 Lear Jets! Stretched end to end, 

$145 million dollars would stretch from 

Lakeland, Florida to Los Angeles almost 

six times, or halfway around the globe at 

the equator! ■

Eligible Farm Credit of Central Florida Members 

Share in $3.5 Million Patronage Refund

Sabrina Smothers (L) & Farm Credit Loan Officer, Joseph Sweat (R)

Ryan Atwood

Cammy Hinton (L) & Farm Credit Loan Officer, Joseph Sweat (R)

Larry Black, Jr.

Steve Hollister

Farm Credit oF Central Florida 

July 2014 | 5

Antonio “Tony” Chavez

Joe (L) & Ryan Keel (R)

Clark (L) & Todd Sherwood (R) with Farm Credit Loan Officer, Joseph Sweat

Thomas (L) and Callum Townsend

FCCF Relationship Manager, Chris Witmer (L) and Dr. Frank Vrionis (R) 

6 | July 2014 

 Farm Credit oF Central Florida





The origin of the hamburger is shrouded 

in mystery and intrigued with countless 

suitors chasing the elusive title of 

“Inventor of the Hamburger.” Undaunted 

by the myster ies su r rounding the 

American culinary icon, Farm Credit of 

Central Florida (FCCF) analysts Jason 

Williams, “Burger” Bill Glass, and 

Michael Sicignano, took the bull by the 

horns, concocting the FCCF Burger Tour 

to consume as much nutritious beef, 

support the Florida cattle industry and 

determine who serves the best hamburger 

in Lakeland, Florida!

Fittingly enough, Williams, Glass, 

and Sicignano hatched the idea at lunch 

one day when they recalled a similar quest 

called the Taco Tour. Thus, the Burger Tour 

was born and will soon conclude. The tour 

recently sampled the wares of numerous 

burger emporiums and rated them from 1 to 

13, with one being the highest score. So far, 

only three have attained an average rating 

as high as 5 from the discriminating panel 

and their fellow employees and aficionados. 

“A Great Hamburger is … The 

sensation of AAAAAAHHHHHH after 

every bite! The sound of ‘AAAAAAHHHH’ 

would be similar to lowering yourself in a 

pool of cool water, or a sip of an ice cold 

beer on a hot day,” said “Burger” Bill Glass!

Jason Williams added, “A great 

hamburger is …? Unique.  It has to have a 

particular flavor or ingredient that makes it 

stand out above the rest, also, bacon, pretty 

much every great burger has to have bacon.”

“The perfect burger is cooked 

medium, first of all. The burger should 

not need excessive spices or condiments 

to be delicious; however, the meal is not 

complete without mustard and ketchup. The 

bun is also crucial; too much or too little 

bread can ruin the whole burger. Melted 

cheese is the last necessary component,” 

said Michael Sicignano.

The hamburger is more than a fad, 

it has been a staple of American diets for 

decades and no restaurant symbolizes 

this affinity more than McDonalds. Ray 

Kroc, a 52 year-old milk shake machine 

salesman sold 8 machines to the McDonald 

brothers for their restaurant in San 

Bernadino, California. and was stunned 

by the efficiency of their operation. They 

produced a limited menu, concentrating 

on a few items, allowing them to focus on 

quality at every step. 

From those humble beginnings an 

empire was built. Today, McDonalds sells 

75 hamburgers every second, retailing 

more than one billion pounds of beef a 

year, and purchasing 5.5 million head of 

cattle. Wendy’s bought 275 million pounds 

of North American beef in 2013!

 If McDonalds was a country, its $32 

billion sales from franchise stores would 

be the world’s 68th largest economy; larger 

than Ecuador! Farm Credit of Central 

Florida Chairman Emeritus, Al Bellotto, 

said, “The popularity of the hamburger in 

America has greatly benefitted the cattle 

industry. Polk County is one of the three 

largest cattle producing counties in our 

state, along with Osceola and Okeechobee.”

Farm Credit of Central Florida 

Director Dennis Carlton, Sr., who grows 

citrus and raises cattle, said, “Twice as 

much ground beef is produced as steak 

from beef cattle; therefore, hamburger 

drives the value.”

No food is more symbolic or deeply 

imbedded in American culture than the 

hamburger. The History Channel recently 

voted the hamburger as the #1 American 

fast food and estimates place American 

consumption between 40 and 50 billion 

burgers annually, an average of about three 

to four for every American weekly. Despite 

its exalted position in American culinary 

history, a self-appointed, three judge panel 

of Farm Credit employees plan to render 

a verdict on the best hamburger in the 

Lakeland area within the year! Stand by 

and monitor national newscasts! ■

Here’s the Beef!

Interesting Facts from the Florida Department of Agriculture:

•  Cattle were first introduced to North America in Florida in 1521 by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon.

•  One Florida ranch owns the largest brood cow herd in the United States.

•  Florida is home to four of the United States’ 10 largest cow-calf operations.

•  Florida ranks 12th in the nation in number of beef cows.

•  Nearly one-half of all Florida agricultural land is involved in cattle production. Florida has four million acres of pastureland

and one million acres of grazed woodland.

•  Much of “Natural Florida” remains in the working landscape of Florida’s cattle industry.

•  Wildlife and plant systems are well-balanced and thriving on Florida’s ranch lands.

“The popularity of the 

hamburger in America 

has greatly benefitted 

the cattle industry. 

Polk County is one of 

the three largest cattle 

producing counties 

in our state, along 

with Osceola and 


– Al Bellotto

Farm Credit oF Central Florida 

July 2014 | 7

(From the left) Farm Credit of Central Florida Burger aficionados, Jason Williams, Michael Sicignano, “Burger Bill” Glass, and Kevin Taylor.

Fun facts about beef From Michigan Farmers Care

•  160 degrees F is the correct cooking temperature to ensure safe and savory ground beef.

•  Twenty-nine cuts of beef meet government guidelines for lean.

•  Cattle have four parts to their stomach and can detect smells up to six miles away.

•  Cattle are herbivores so they only have teeth on the bottom.

•  Raising beef cattle is the single largest segment of American agriculture.

•  Beef is a nutrient-dense food and is the #1 source of protein, vitamin B12 and zinc.

•  Beef is the #3 source of iron behind fortified cereal and grains.

•  Cattle farmers conserve the land by implementing natural resource management practices that include soil tests, brush and weed

control programs, grazing management plans, minimum or no-till systems, and range quality and grass utilization monitoring.

•  A 3-ounce serving of lean beef is an excellent source of protein, supplying more than half of the protein most people need each da.y

•  The protein in beef is a complete, high-quality protein, which means it supplies all of the essential amino acids, or building

blocks of protein, the body needs to build, maintain and repair body tissue.

•  The U.S. supplies 25 percent of the world’s beef with 10 percent of the world’s cattle.

8 | July 2014 

 Farm Credit oF Central Florida





Farm Credit of Central Florida Member, Jenny Black (R), daughter, Julia, son Varn, and St. Paul Lutheran teacher, Deb Wagner (L).

Farm Credit of Central Florida Members 

Larry and Jenny Black have instilled a 

deep appreciation for agriculture and the 

importance of conserving our natural 

resources upon their son, Varn, and 

daughter, Julia. They have played a critical 

role in creating a new 4-H chapter at their 

children’s school in Lakeland, Florida.

Larry and Jenny manage the family’s 

Peace River Packing Company in Ft. 

Meade, which was founded in 1928. The 

company manages more than 1,800 acres 

of citrus groves in Polk, Highlands and 

Hillsborough counties and employs more 

than 180 people. They are well versed in 

agriculture and conservation, so it was a 

natural fit for them to help youngsters 

learn more about Florida’s second largest 

industry, agriculture, and the $100 billion 

impact it has on our state’s economy.

 St. Paul Lutheran School i n 

Lakeland is increasing awareness 

about conservation and creating a new 

generation of agricultural enthusiasts. 

During a recent visit, the Farm Credit 

Leader was introduced to a number of 

innovative programs being used at the 

school to teach children in preschool 

through 8th grade about the importance 

of recycling, sustainable agriculture, and 

water conservation. 

Starting with the youngest classrooms, 

students are introduced to agricultural 

concepts in their classroom gardens and in 

first grade use mathematics and planning 

skills to map out their own plot of winter 

vegetables, herbs and flowers. In fourth 

grade, Ms. Deb Wagner incorporates 

science lessons into the st udents’ 

hydroponic garden and students take 

100 percent responsibility for a garden of 

squash, arugula, cucumbers, blueberries, 

strawberries and other delicious fruits and 

vegetables. Rain barrels are used throughout 

the campus to collect water for the many 

classroom gardens and teach the students 

about the importance of water conservation.

Agriculture and the importance of 

knowing where your food comes from is  

a key part of the curriculum at St. Paul. 

In addition to growing their own food, 

students learn hands on lessons about 

sustainable agriculture by touring a local 

citrus packing house and the surrounding 

g roves, pick i ng st rawber r ies a nd 

blueberries at local farms, participating in 

Agri-Fest and touring the State Fair. 

In 2013, St. Paul Lutheran School 

was designated a Green Ribbon School 

– a national award presented by the U.S. 

Department of Education. This award 

recognizes St. Paul’s extensive recycling 

and terra-cycling program as well as the 

school’s designation as a National Wildlife 

Schoolyard Habitat. The money raised 

from recycling efforts was used to stock 

the ponds on campus with fish and other 

animals that will encourage more wading 

birds to take up residence at the school.

Students are well schooled in the 

principles of ecology and eager to share 

their knowledge in the community. Through 

4-H, the students have been able to share 

their respect for the environment and the 

results of their conservation projects in the 

Youth Fair and County events competitions. 

By encouraging the importance of respect 

for our natural surroundings, St. Paul 

Lutheran School students are equipped with 

the skills to become better stewards of our 

environmental resources. ■

Farm Credit Members Key  

to Creating New 4-H Chapter

Farm Credit oF Central Florida 

July 2014 | 9





Carré Saunders  

IFAS- Associate Director of Development

Florida 4-H is excited to be participating 

in a pilot alumni engagement program, led 

by National 4-H Council. Our engagement 

efforts are currently focused on reconnecting 

with Florida 4-H’ers as well as creating new 

relationships with 4-H alumni who have 

relocated to Florida from other states. For 

many people, their 4-H years are full of 

treasured memories and the foundations of 

lifelong friendships. We want to hear your 

stories and the ways 4-H, in Florida or in 

another state, impacted your life.

For more than 100 years, Florida 

4-H has served as the premier youth 

development program in the state of 

Florida. Through youth adult partnerships 

and university research-based curricula, 

4-H currently serves more than 220,000 

young people across the state and provides 

opportunities to youth in a variety of areas

from animal sciences to robotics. 

We know Florida 4-H alumni are 

as varied as the project areas offered, 

producing youth who go on to be leaders in 

their communities, country, and world in 

agriculture, the sciences, politics, engineering, 

the arts, and technology. 4-H has produced 

forward-thinking leaders who are committed 

to making the world a better place!

If you were once a 4-H’er either as a 

youth participant, a supportive parent, or a 

caring volunteer please contact us and tell 

us about your experiences. We would love to 

hear from you and share updates on the great 

things our Florida youth are doing in 4-H!

To share your 4-H story and join 

our mailing list, please visit the Alumni 

and Friends section of our website at  

http://f lorida4h.org or contact Annie 

Muscato, Florida 4-H State Resource 

Development Coordinator. She can be 

reached at: afmuscato@ufl.edu or by 

calling Florida 4-H State Headquarters at 

(352) 846-4444.

The Florida 4-H program wouldn’t 

survive without support from the people 

it has impacted most. If you are interested 

in making a meaningful contribution 

to the Florida 4-H Youth Development 

Program, please contact Carré Saunders 

at: csaunders@uf l.edu or by calling  

(352) 392-1975. ■

Share Your 4-H Experiences!

When you refer your friends and neighbors 

to Farm Credit of Central Florida, you 

get not only the comfort of knowing you 

have sent them to the premier agricultural 

lender in America, but you get a Farm 

Credit fishing shirt! 

To get a Farm Credit fishing shirt, just 

refer your friend or neighbor to Farm Credit 

of Central Florida and when their loan of 

$10,000 or more closes, you get a Farm 

Credit fishing shirt! Ask your loan officer 

for details. ■

Farm Credit of 

Central Florida Loan 

Officer, Joseph Sweat 

(L) presents Fidel 

Castillo (Center) 

with a Farm Credit 

fishing shirt as Hilda 

Castillo (Right) looks 

on. Refer a friend 

to Farm Credit and 

when their loan of 

$10,000 or more 

closes you get a shirt!

Referring Friends to Farm Credit 

Can Give You a Warm Feeling!

10 | July 2014 

 Farm Credit oF Central Florida





KeeLee Tomlinson (daughter of Information & Training Officer 

Glenda Tomlinson) and her business partner, Roxanne Fulwood, 

have opened a holiday and gift boutique at 314 S. Collins Street 

in Plant City. SASSI, which is an acronym for Stylish And Simply 

Stunning Interiors, desires to help home and business owners 

decorate for every major holiday as well as everyday life and is the 

place to go for unique gifts and decorating items.

While it will always be Christmas at SASSI, the other 

merchandise will change with the seasons. SASSI is a vendor 

for Mark Roberts, Michael Amini and Lenox to name just a few 

and their inventory along with the seasonal and home decor items 

includes shoes, handbags, jewelry, candles and many other items 

for men, women and children.

SASSI also offers services such as in-home holiday decorating, 

gift certificates and gift wrapping. The store is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday  

9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call (813) 704-6896 for questions or in-home design 

quotes or like them on their Facebook page. ■

KeeLee Tomlinson (L) & business partner Roxanne Fulwood (R)

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