Pictured here are Meirl and her husband Hugh at their home in Baxter, Tennessee.Louisville, KY (March 9, 2009) – Dependability and stability are traits that many financial institutions like to claim, but Farm Credit Services of Mid-America demonstrates them through employees such as Meirl Williams. Meirl began working for Farm Credit on March 1, 1959, when she was just 17 years old. In the 50 years since, Meirl has seen a lot of changes, but the one thing that hasn't changed is the positive, close relationship FCS maintains with its customers.
Meirl currently works as a Customer Service Representative with the Farm Credit offices in Cookeville and Crossville, Tennessee. When she started, the only electric office machines were typewriters. "The receipts were written manually and the books were kept on ledger cards. There was no such thing as a computer," adds Meirl.
Meirl has also been a customer of Farm Credit, taking out loans with her husband, Hugh, to buy a 40-acre farm 40 years ago. Today, they live on an 84-acre farm, in a renovated farmhouse also purchased with loans from Farm Credit. "It's been a really good place to work and a good source of funds for us," explains Meirl.
To honor her 50 years of service, over 100 customers and friends attended an Anniversary Celebration on February 27 held in Cookeville. In addition to several gifts, cards and pictures from co-workers and friends, Meirl received from Farm Credit an engraved silver tray, a grandfather clock and a Proclamation making March 2, 2009 Meirl Williams Day. Her supervisor – Mark Wilson – also informed Meirl that the flag flying over the U.S. Capitol Building that day was in her honor. In two to three weeks, she will receive the flag and official certification honoring her service anniversary.
In addition to the friends and co-workers who visited Meirl on February 27, she has been a source of friendship and support to a number of customers throughout the years, including Jan Brannon Lee, a retired State Farm insurance agent who first met Meirl 30 years ago. "I learned about the loan business from Meirl, and she learned about the insurance business from me,” said Jan.
Jan's family has been a Farm Credit customer since 1932, spelled out in a letter of agreement from her grandfather, when he put up his mules and corn crop as collateral for a loan. Today, Jan's two sons do business with Farm Credit and appreciate all that Meirl has done for them over the years (incidentally, the Lee family was inducted into FCS’s Heritage Farm Program in 2007).
Mark Wilson, Regional Vice President in Tennessee, agrees with the Lee family. "I've worked with Meirl for more than 20 years, and she is one of the most optimistic people I have ever been around. She has incredible energy, and if anybody has a question, they turn to her. She always tries to do what is fair and right, and customers sense that. She is Farm Credit,” he said.
Meirl has two grandchildren (16-year-old Alaina and 13-year-old Joseph) who she claims as her hobby, though she tends a large garden, canning and freezing produce for the winter.
But Meirl claims work is her hobby too. The Cookeville and Crossville offices are home to 10 staff members. "We are a team, and we service eight counties, and do $200 million in business through our offices."
Meirl is proud of the work she has done throughout her career, remembering times Farm Credit has really been able to make a difference in people's lives; "I remember a young couple whose income was not sufficient to get a 20-year loan. We made them a 30-year loan, and I gave them a 20 year amortization schedule and that loan is almost paid off today using the amortization schedule. They have never missed a payment."
Farm Credit Services is proud of Meirl, and the decades of service she has provided to our customer-members. Farm Credit has been a part of generations of dreams for farmers and rural Americans for over 90 years. Like Meirl, the remaining 850 employees of Farm Credit hold true to the mission to be a dependable source of constructive credit and high-quality service and will do so for generations to come.