Located on the cusp of Vesper, a village in Wood County, Marti Farms found itself in a stagnant situation. After three generations of Wisconsin farmers, the Marti family needed to expand their farm in order to support their future. Responsible for a 150-cow herd, the family knew that expansion of any kind would require serious financial support. Additional livestock, new equipment, and extra ranch hands would prove costly in their rural area. The capital needed to perform these developments was limited—this is where WHEDA entered!
In 1996, following the success of the Credit Relief Outreach Program (CROP), WHEDA developed the Farm Asset Reinvestment Management (FARM) program. This program offers farmers access to resources that will allow their operations to expand or modernize in a way that will make for more efficient farm management. The Marti family, in hopes of doing both, sought help through the FARM program. The assistance came in the form of a $200,000 guarantee, which allowed the family to secure a $1 million loan through their local lender. The guarantee mitigated risk for the bank, because even if the loan were to default, WHEDA would provide the guaranteed amount. With these lower risk investments, banks are more willing to loan higher capital to farmers. After securing the funding needed, the Marti family set off to update their farm.
The family tripled the size of their herd, installed new free-stall facilities, automated the tasks of several daily farm-life duties, and were among the first of such expansions. The Marti family wasn’t the only one benefitting from the new, updated arrangements. As a result of the changes, the cows now had access to a fully functional cow wash, a robotic feeding system, new milk meters, and other monitoring devices designed to keep the cows clean, healthy, and happy. At the heart of the expansion were the cows, and they appeared to be very satisfied with the improvements.
This agricultural venture is just one of many achieved with the assistance of the WHEDA FARM program, which continues to support many generations of Wisconsin farmers who keep the agricultural tradition alive. With continued growth, the Marti family remains the cream of the crop.