Clarence R. Smith, Cleveland, Miss., farmer, received the highest honor awarded by the Farm Credit Bank of Texas when he was inducted into the Academy of Honor in Agricultural Credit on March 26.
The bank established the academy in 1968 to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to the field of agricultural finance.
Smith was honored during the bank's annual meeting in San Antonio for helping to maintain Farm Credit services in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi, and for his efforts to bring improvements to the Tenth Farm Credit District.
“With a conciliatory approach to conflict, an open mind and a can-do attitude, Clarence Smith helped merge two different Farm Credit cultures,” said Ralph W. “Buddy” Cortese, FCBT board chairman. “He was a key architect of six new Federal Land Bank associations that were chartered in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. He also worked diligently to insure that the bank's investment in those states bore fruit for both the Tenth District and the stockholders who elected him.”
Smith was a member of the FCBT board of directors from 1989 through 1997, serving two years as vice chairman. Previously, he served on the boards of the Federal Land Bank Association (FLBA) of Cleveland, the FLBA of Jackson and the Fifth Farm Credit District. He is currently director emeritus on the Land Bank of North Mississippi board of directors.
“Clarence Smith is widely respected as a gracious diplomat, a skilled negotiator and a wise counselor. The structure and success of the Tenth District today can be attributed in large part to the leadership he provided during the transition of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi to the district,” Cortese said.
The Academy of Honor in Agricultural Credit award establishes a 2003 scholarship in Smith's name. He will select a university or college that offers a graduate degree in agricultural finance, agribusiness or agricultural economics to receive the $5,000 scholarship. The college will name the student recipient.
Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi was inducted into the academy in 2001. Bobby Williams, a Texas farmer and former national Farm Credit Council chairman, received the award in 2002.
The Farm Credit Bank of Texas and its 22 affiliated Agricultural Credit Associations and Federal Land Credit Associations comprise the Tenth Farm Credit District. It is the largest rural financing network serving Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas. Together, these lending cooperatives have more than $7.6 billion in assets and nearly $6.8 billion in loans outstanding to agricultural producers, rural homeowners, agribusinesses and other rural landowners.