May 19 Summer Field Session - CoBank by Cassidy Harris

May 19 Summer Field Session:

By Cassidy Harris

On May 19, the Division of Economics and Business undergraduate students had an opportunity to visit CoBank, located in Greenwood Village, CO. Students toured the new facilities, completed in late 2015. They then met with Lisa Martinez-Templeton, Randy Medina, Brian Batson, Andrea Niedziela, and Terry Barr.

Lisa gave the students a quick run through of CoBank’s history, values, and mission. CoBank has a long history of working with rural agribusiness, and notably their induction into the Farm Credit System under the Farm Credit Act of 1933. The main goal of CoBank is to help develop rural America by providing financial support to farmers, rural utilities and other infrastructures. They are able to do this by providing short-, intermediate-, and long-term loans. Lisa also gave students information about what it’s like to work for CoBank.

Next, students met with Randy Medina and Brian Batson, who work as part of the Enterprise Risk Management team. They gave a presentation focused on the type of risk they look for, the analysis they complete daily, and their experiences working for CoBank. Randy and Brian work as one part of a three-line defense system to prevent loss for the company, working heavily with econometrics to analyze and model data, a course that most students visiting took last semester. As Mines alumni, they could speak to students’ experiences and struggles, and were able to answer questions directly related to Mines curricula. They provided an invaluable insight into the technical side of the career, while the other hosts provided a more umbrella view of the industry.

Andrea Niedziela, manager of the Credit Advancement Program, spoke to students about a unique program that CoBank provides to new employees. CAP provides the opportunity for students to spend two years learning about CoBank and how to perform and write credit reports. The program consists of omega self-study, formal class instruction, and individual credit writing training. The program is competitive, but job placement is guaranteed after completion.

Terry Barr, USDA Senior Director, part of the knowledge exchange group, which works with the Centers of Excellence (animal protein, comms, dairy, finance, grain and farm supply, power, energy and water, specialty crops) talked with students about how economists work with industry research to make informed decisions about the agriculture market, particularly ones that affect CoBank’s clients. He completes quarterly industry updates and hold webinars to inform others in the industry so they can be more cooperative.

This visit was valuable to students because there is very little exposure to banking and finance. Students were able to experience something new and hear from talented, intelligent, and successful individuals, as well as learn about the skills they should be developing currently in order to be good prospective employees for CoBank and other financial institutions.




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Last Updated: 08/04/2017 08:23:15