Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives
Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives

Kenny Bounds
Senior Vice President, MidAtlantic Farm Credit

Category
Location
Laurel, Delaware
Farm Credit Affiliation
MidAtlantic Farm Credit
Kenny's Perspective

Growing up in a rural area and working on local farms, Kenny Bounds came to respect farmers’ honesty and hard-work. That appreciation led to a career helping thousands of farm families overcome obstacles, access resources and achieve success. A long-time advocate for agriculture and Farm Credit employee of 38 years, Kenny's dedication to serving this important sector goes far beyond his office.

“Being able to help farmers achieve their dreams, to buy their first farm, to save a farm after adversity, are the most rewarding things imaginable,” Kenny says.

When poultry, the largest industry on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, came under fire in the 1990s, Kenny became president of the regional DelMarVa Poultry Industry (DPI). In that role he advocated for poultry and the families it supported, eventually appearing on 60 Minutes defending agriculture. His involvement in DPI showed him the importance of working with local, state and national governments to support agriculture. Kenny soon convinced Farm Credit to create a legislative advocacy role for the organization and its membership.

In 2004, he worked with others to establish the state-run MARBIDCO, a rural business assistance program that provides capital and credit at affordable interest rates, aiding rural land preservation and supporting the development of agricultural industries and technology. Today, MARBIDCO serves as a direct lender for farmers who don’t meet the financial standards of banks.

“Whenever I’ve recognized a problem standing in the way of farmers achieving success and protecting what they’ve earned, I’ve always felt that if a solution was not immediately at hand, I could partner with others to create one,” Kenny says.

In 2008, recognizing a need to support young, beginning, small and minority farmers, Kenny led the development of StartRight, a Farm Credit program offering low-interest loans, mentoring partnerships and educational opportunities all designed to help these sectors of agricultural producers. His passion has paid off since the program’s inception, with the local Farm Credit loaning more than $165 million to small farmers in the community.

Looking toward the future, Kenny says, “There are many people dedicated to the noble task of feeding the world with safe, abundant and affordable food. I believe that we can meet the challenges ahead and never have to make a compromise on food safety or environmental issues. People are smart, and we can achieve success if we work together toward a common goal.”

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