GreenStone FCS supports Michigan FFA
GreenStone Farm Credit Services has made a $200,000 pledge to further agriculture education for Michigan youth and to honor one of its own.
The GreenStone Farm Credit Services and James F. Schiller Endowment for FFA and Agriculture Education will support the Michigan Future Farmers of America (FFA) and the development of vocational agriculture education curriculum and support programs in the Department of Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies (CARRS). The endowment recognizes former GreenStone FCS CEO Jim Schiller (Agriculture Business, ’72) and the lifelong value he placed on youth leadership and education.
GreenStone FCS Chairperson of the Board Lyndon Uphaus and CEO David Armstrong noted in the GreenStone FCS 2008 Annual Report, “Jim was dedicated to the Farm Credit Mission and deeply cared about the success of GreenStone’s customers and staff members. He was also a strong advocate for educating future generations about agriculture to ensure our industry has a dependable and talented workforce to keep it competitive for years to come.”
Jim noted that he was surprised and humbled by GreenStone FCS’s financial commitment in establishing the endowment. “I have not seen anything that is more practical than FFA in teaching leadership for the next generation,” Jim said. “GreenStone’s gift speaks very well of its commitment to youth.”
Jim grew up on a dairy farm near Chelsea where he honed his leadership abilities as a member of both 4-H and FFA. He credits FFA especially with helping him to develop skills that benefitted him throughout his career. “My involvement with FFA pushed me into doing things that I might not have done,” he said. A graduate of the MSU Agriculture Technology Program, Jim served in the Vietnam War, returning to MSU to earn a bachelor’s degree in agriculture business. He began his career with GreenStone FCS as a loan officer. He worked his way up from credit manager to president and CEO of Farm Credit Services of Southeastern Michigan, and then to chief operating officer for Farm Credit Services-Michigan before being appointed as CEO of GreenStone FCS in 2001.
In 2006, he was honored with the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Alumni Association’s Outstanding Alumnus Award.
As CEO, Jim guided GreenStone FCS’s continuing investment in the future leadership of Michigan agriculture through the organization’s financial commitments to student scholarships, the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the Michigan 4-H Foundation and the Michigan FFA. Jim himself pledged $25,000 to Michigan FFA that will be incorporated into the GreenStone/Schiller endowment.
“I feel that personal commitments are as important as corporate ones,” he said. “Being close to FFA for so long, I can see what funding can do in keeping youth excited about agriculture and leadership in their communities.”
Acting CARRS Department Chair David Wright believes the endowment will strengthen the mission of both FFA and the department. “This endowment helps ensure our programs continue to provide needed support to agriculture education and youth development,” Wright said. “The effect of this gift will ripple far beyond specific programs and individuals, as those whose professional expertise has been shaped and developed will lead change in industry, government and education across the U.S. and around the world.”
GreenStone Farm Credit Services has demonstrated its commitment to Michigan’s rural communities and agricultural economy from the time it approved its first farm mortgage loan in 1917. GreenStone FCS has consistently provided support to Michigan FFA and has been a donor to the Michigan FFA Foundation since its founding in 1993, currently as a distinguished star level supporter. The FFA Foundation has grown substantially with the help of Jim, who served on the foundation’s board for eight years, two as chairperson.
The Michigan FFA has been developing strong leadership skills among Michigan youth for over 80 years. Today there are more than 5,300 FFA members in 113 chapters across Michigan, including three in Metro Detroit. For more information, visit online at http://www.michiganffa.com. The Department of Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies is a multidisciplinary department that focuses on combining the natural and social sciences to address contemporary issues in agriculture, natural resources and the environment. For more information on the department, visit http://www.carrs.msu.edu.
For more information about making a gift to the Michigan FFA, contact Annual Fund Director Megan Hirschman at (517) 432-2482.