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By Karen Macdonald - February 9, 2016

On February 2, 2016 the Farm Credit Council kicked off its annual meeting in the nation’s capital. As part of recognizing Farm Credit’s 100th anniversary, the meeting played host to the unveiling of the contents of a time capsule buried nearly 50 years ago to mark the 50th anniversary of the Federal Land Bank system, the precursor to today’s Farm Credit System. The time capsule was buried in Larned, Kansas near the site of the first-ever Farm Credit loan that was made in 1917 to A.L. Stockwell.

Among the items included in the time capsule were predictions from the 12 Farm Credit district bank presidents about the future of agriculture and the financing required to feed and clothe an ever-growing population. The presidents accurately predicted that operations would become larger, more complex, more vertically integrated, and more automated. Just a few predictions missed the mark, including the suggestion that farmers today would be expanding their operations into space!

On hand at last week’s luncheon were former Kansas Senator Bob Dole, who spoke at the time capsule’s burial event in 1967, along with current Kansas Senators Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran. In speaking to the hundreds of Farm Credit representatives at this year’s event, Mr. Dole said, “I was able to find enough time to make the speech celebrating 50 years, and to think how far you’ve come in [the] 50 years [since]. For all that you do -- the wonderful work that makes it possible for farmers to succeed and help feed America and the world -- for that, I thank you.”
Also at the luncheon were three individuals closely tied with the history Farm Credit:

  • Danny Stockwell, the great-grandson of the recipient of that first Farm Credit loan, was in attendance. Danny was only 10 years old when he helped tighten the bolts on the time capsule before it was buried at the 50-year celebration.

  • Linda Unruh Prins was four years old when she attended the 50th anniversary and rode on a parade float. Linda is the daughter of the former office manager at the Larned Federal Land Bank Association. Linda’s mother, Betty, managed the collection of items contained in the time capsule, as well as the celebration events that drew 10,000 people to Larned. Linda says, “My whole life, my Mom told me ‘Farm Credit is going to dig up this time capsule one day, and you need to make sure you’re there for it.’”

  • While on the staff at the Wichita Federal Land Bank in the 1980s, Monte Reese saved the capsule when it was unearthed after an office move.He helped preserve its contents and transfer it to a new, above-ground Kansas location where it stayed until it was brought to Washington for last week’s unveiling. Monte also worked with the Kansas Department of Transportation to place the roadside marker that still stands today to commemorate the location of the original Farm Credit loan to Danny’s great grandfather.

Also among the contents of the time capsule were an American flag, a bible, and a copy of a speech about Farm Credit’s 50th anniversary delivered on the floor of the House of Representatives by then-Congressman Dole.
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