After teaching agriculture for six years, Emily Pike embarked on a brand-new career in finance with Farm Credit Mid-America. With a farming background, she wasn’t totally a fish out of water. “There were similarities between the two jobs as far as the agriculture aspect,” she says. “But going from teaching 30 students in a classroom to being a financial officer is about as different as careers get.”
Emily grew up on a small, diversified farm in Three Springs, Kentucky. After graduating from Western Kentucky University with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture, she started teaching at the high school level. Then, she and her husband Andy moved to Alabama for four years while he completed veterinary school.
Today, Emily and Andy have their own farm just down the road from her family’s operation, where they raise beef cattle, run feeder cattle and grow tobacco. “We wanted to be back on the farm and involved in agriculture,” says Emily. “When the opportunity presented itself with Farm Credit, I grabbed at the chance.” As Andy is a large-animal veterinarian with his own mobile practice, moving back to the farm was the last piece of the career puzzle for the couple.
Farm Credit trains for success
Though her agriculture background and education were big pluses, Emily’s financial and loan experience was limited to a few college courses in ag business and ag economics and a couple of vehicle loans she had received over the years. “I didn’t come here as a seasoned professional from the finance industry,” she says.
During the interview process, Emily was upfront. “I said, ‘I have no experience in finance. Tell me why I could be a fit here, or what type of training I’ll go through.’”
The interviewer said something that hit home. “She said, ‘At Farm Credit, we can teach you the finance part. What we can’t teach is the part you already know: being in the field, being involved in your community.’ And I’ve seen that as I’ve progressed through my Farm Credit career.”
Emily received the training, coaching and support she needed to thrive. “I had a lot of help the entire way through,” she says. “Farm Credit took me in with my ag knowledge, helped me with the financial steps and has led me to be successful in this career.”
As a financial officer, Emily performs many functions, including new customer prospecting, cultivating relationships with existing customers, and helping customers determine what financing options will work best for them and their operations.
A different type of satisfaction
Emily, who also earned a master’s degree in school counseling from the University of West Alabama, wondered if she would have the same sense of fulfillment in her new career as she did with teaching. “As a teacher and FFA advisor, I saw small wins every day — things like having students thank me for my help or me seeing them win an FFA award. I had a real sense of gratification in that career, and I worried that stepping into the financial world might not provide me with that sense of accomplishment.”
“At the end of a loan closing, someone will say, ‘You know, this is my dream farm,’” she says. “At Farm Credit Mid-America, we get to work with people to help them achieve their dreams. But it’s about more than lending money. It’s about giving back to the community.
“I believe the people who work here feel valued and appreciated. We’re all invested in securing the future of rural America. That’s what we do.”
Like what you’ve read? To learn more about careers at Farm Credit Mid-America, visit our careers page. Farm Credit Mid-America is headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky and has offices throughout its four-state territory of Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.