I started L & S Agency Inc now known as Groton Ag Partners in 1986. I knew from a young age, being raised on a family farm and farming myself, that I would always be involved in agriculture. I knew what it took to run an Ag business. I farmed for many years before deciding to turn my focus to crop insurance. I found a great pleasure in helping farmers succeed. From the days of pick and rolls, Loan Deficiency Payments and Current Farm programs all of these things have been great tools in helping farmers grow their operations. The idea of making the Farm Service Agency the focus of how you buy your crop insurance has always been the key to success for my customers and my growth with my agency.
In the fall of 2013 I made a decision to allow my agency to become employee owned. This was not a decision I made lightly. My employees worked very hard to service my customers as they were like family to them. Over the years my team has grown and we have learned so much from each other. We will keep learning from each other in the future. In the last 10 years they have brought on many advances in Technology and have always been able to explain why this is good for my customers before asking me to make a change. I have had the honor to see how these employees work with farmers and go out of their way, day or night, to make things happen. As you are all aware storms and natural disasters don’t come eight to five. That is why it was a great honor to be in business with them and call them partners now instead of employees.
They have always respected my decisions and beliefs about making the programs balance with crop insurance. You have to understand more than just crop insurance to do this job. Farm Service Agency along with many other programs is what keeps the farming operations growing. You have to keep your customers informed on all government programs not just on crop insurance. I wanted to see my agency keep growing and allow more customers in the future to have the service they deserve. With the budget cuts at Farm Service Agency we need to have someone that can step in and explain the missing pieces to all these programs. I feel that I have helped develop a team that can do that and remain dedicated to this level of service far into the future.
As I am now stepping back and allowing my partners to do more. I have more time to enjoy time with my wife, Shirley, our two children and their spouses along with four wonderful grandchildren. I truly believe to be a good agent you need to provide full time service. I can now leave the office with a peace of mind knowing that I have a great team in place to handle things while I enjoy seeing my grandkids’ sporting activities, spending time in Mesa AZ in the winter and serving on various boards. I have been blessed with the ability to give to many organizations both physically and financially and hope to keep doing so as long as I can. John F Kennedy said “The farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything at retail, sells everything at wholesale, and pays the freight both ways.” I believe that farming is rapidly changing and evolving and you need to be with a team that can help manage your risk.