When it comes to partnerships, it’s hard to think of two organizations that have worked more closely together than Tennessee 4-H and Farm Credit Mid-America.

From donations and activities on the county level to statewide program sponsorships, Farm Credit’s relationship with 4-H – backed by its nearly 100,000 customers – has been an important partnership for everyone involved.

Through a new initiative, Farm Credit Mid-America is matching all gifts to 4-H up to $11,000. With more than 1,200 employees covering a four-state territory, Farm Credit represents a big part of fulfilling 4-H’s mission to secure the future of rural communities and agriculture by providing rural residents and farmers the financial services they need to succeed.

For some employees, like Nathan Perry of Columbia, Tennessee, the organization is close to their heart and an integral part of their upbringing.

The son of an agricultural extension leader, Perry grew up around the organization and traveled the country showing lambs. His participation in 4-H helped him to pay for his education at the University of Tennessee, where he majored in agricultural business.

For Perry, participation in 4-H is a lifelong commitment. He is still an active participant in the organization, supporting the Williamson County 4-H livestock sale and using his outdoor meat cookery experience as the contest organizer for the Great Americana BBQ Festival, which raises money for several local organizations, including 4-H.

“My advice to current 4-Hers or any young person is to show up and show out,” says Perry. “I’m always impressed when I see 4-Hers and young people at agricultural events — selling burgers, helping in the show ring and working the event. There are so many distractions for youth in today’s world, but nothing replaces hard work to build character and to learn something new.”

Farm Credit Mid-America is proud to support the next generation of agriculture, including those involved with 4-H. The lessons learned through the program help the next generation of leaders rise to the occasion and face challenges in the agriculture industry.

“Our purpose is enriched by supporting programs that develop future leaders and agriculturists – programs like 4-H,” explains Tim Williams, Farm Credit’s senior vice president for the state of Tennessee.

Thank you Farm Credit for being such a loyal partner to Tennessee 4-H!