As the seventh generation, I grew up on my family’s dairy farm near Monticello. My parents and brother are the powerhouses behind all operations. Although I’m not involved on the farm daily, I continue to milk on the weekends and help when needed. I live nearby and haven’t decided if six minutes is too close or too far away for last-minute help.
I work for the State Bank of Cross Plains in Brooklyn as an agricultural portfolio manager.
When trying to figure out what I wanted to do after high school, I decided that I never wanted to spend a day of my life outside of agriculture – it is something I always want to be a part of. My older sister attended UW-Platteville and, typical of a little sister, I decided to follow her path. In 2017, I earned a dual bachelor’s degree in agricultural business and soil/crop science with an emphasis in commodity and price analysis. Throughout college, I interned at a potato farm near Plainfield as well as Kuhn North America in Brodhead.
When you were growing up what did you want to be?
Every few years in school, the counselor gave my class the task of drawing a picture of what we wanted to be when we grew up. Once we were seniors, we were given the drawings back. Mine ranged from being a nurse to a baker and of course a farmer. Thinking back to the farmer drawing, I had drawn a tractor and made sure I wrote the correct model number on it. Although I was maybe only eight at the time, my brother made sure I knew every single tractor model we had on the farm.
What is one agricultural experience that has defined you?
Like any farm kid, I was antsy to be able to do what my parents and older siblings were able to do. I started milking cows as soon as I could reach the pipeline. Take into consideration, I’m 5’11” so I was able to start pretty young. I am not sure if it’s the milking itself that I enjoy or the conversations that are had in the barn with family. If a barn could talk, just imagine the stories that it could tell.
What is one Farm Bureau experience that you are most proud of?
In Green County, I am most proud of our Young Farmer and Agriculturist participation and interest. As we look forward to the future, it is encouraging to see that we have a group of members that are go-getters and support the future of agriculture in our county.
Tell us about your responsibilities with the State Bank of Cross Plains?
As an agricultural portfolio manager, I analyze farm financials and tell a story by recognizing trends within the financials. I work closely with several agricultural lenders to understand farm relationships and how we can better serve our customers. Once the lender finalizes the structure and request, then I begin to dig into the numbers while laying out the strengths and weaknesses of the farm operation without bias. After my analysis is complete and further discussion with the lender, the proposal goes through the proper approval channels dependent on the size of the request. In addition, I work with others in our agriculture department to put new efficiencies into place to improve the overall customer experience, monitor internal reporting requirements and go on joint farm calls.
Tell us about your role on the Green County Farm Bureau Board of Directors.
I have been on the board since 2018 and so far, it has been a great experience. I enjoy that our board gets along very well and works together to accomplish goals. Green County is unique as the majority of our board is younger than 40, however, we have great mentors and role models who are actively involved in our county for us younger members to learn from.
What is something that many Farm Bureau members do not know about you?
Although I am young, I enjoy sewing and quilting in my free time. I learned to sew from my mom and completed many 4-H projects throughout the years.
What Farm Bureau committees have you served on?
I have served on many county committees with the most involvement being in the communications, YFA and Promotion and Education committees. In the future, I’d be interested in getting more involved at the state level.
What is your favorite Farm Bureau activity?
I enjoy attending YFA events in Green County and neighboring counties. It is a great opportunity to be able to meet others who are involved in agriculture. Although I grew up on a farm, not too many others who I went to school with had a similar upbringing. I love that Farm Bureau brings together people with similar interests and if a conversation revolves around cows, corn or tractors – it is perfectly acceptable.
Is there anything else that you want to add?
Fun fact for those of you who enjoy chemistry. My initials are AGS with Silver being my last name. Ag is the chemical symbol for silver on the Periodic Table of Elements.
By Marian Viney, originally appeared in the October|November 2021 Rural Route.