Movers & Shakers: Amie Osborn of First Farmers Bank & Trust
Amie Osborn never could have predicted her path when she stepped into her first agriculture class in high school.
The California native fell in love with the industry (and FFA!) and it led her to pursue her education in agricultural business and a master’s degree in agricultural economics that moved her and her husband, Vince, across the country from California to Indiana.
Today, Amie helps farming families turn their dreams into reality and plan for the future. When she isn’t working her day job as VP, Commercial & Ag Lender at First Farmers Bank & Trust, she and Vince can be found addressing the protein deficiency issue in their community. The pair created BOGO or “Buy One, Give One,” a non-profit which uses profits from the sale of locally produced broilers to provide protein for those in need in Kokomo, Indiana.
Amie’s love for agriculture shines through in everything she does. We caught up with Amie to learn more about BOGO, her work with PPP loans, and what motivates her.
What is your background in agriculture?
I was introduced to the agriculture industry through FFA during my freshman year in high school. My advisors, Mr. Beck and Mrs. Phillips, were influential in finding my passion for agriculture.
FFA provided a platform to teach me professional skills while introducing me to production agriculture. That production experience expanded when I followed my poultry advisor, Mrs. Boyd, to Modesto Junior College and spent two years working in the poultry unit.
After that, I tried to discover different aspects of agriculture (swine, tree nuts, and wineries) through internships, while my husband’s family introduced me to cattle.
In my current role at First Farmers Bank & Trust, I have the opportunity to work with diverse producers and agribusinesses from traditional row crop farms and livestock operations to specialty products like aquaculture and anaerobic digesters providing energy from waste.
You’re from California — how did you end up in Indiana? What made you want to stay?
My husband, Vince, and I were both looking to continue our education outside of California to expand our knowledge of agriculture. Purdue University was our “long-shot” application; we did not expect to both get accepted.
After many prayers and visits around the country, we made the decision to move to Indiana. We have many reasons to stay in Indiana, but I think most revolve around the fact that Indiana welcomed us. The university, my company, and the agriculture industry as a whole have treated us like family. It is hard to describe, but we “feel” it after events like the Purdue Fish Fry or the Indiana State Fair.
How long have you been with First Farmers Bank & Trust? What does a “typical” day look like?
I joined First Farmers Bank & Trust about five years ago. Similar to the experience of many others, I don’t have a “typical” day. Each day adjusts to the project or task at hand.
As a Commercial and Agricultural Lender, I have the opportunity to balance between relationships and analysis. One day, I might be out walking hog barns and brainstorming a plan for a family to adjust their operation, while the next may include researching the risk and sensitivity of a business plan.
As someone who loves to work with both people and numbers, I enjoy the varied days and opportunities.
What drives you to show up to work each day?
Through college, I recognized that my love for data analytics increased when there was a direct impact on a particular person. That continues today. I believe that better decisions are made when combining financial analysis with relationships. The puzzle piece for financing must fit for both the bank and client; it is my responsibility to identify that.
How did you help your clients understand the PPP loan applications?
There were many in-depth and great presentations made about the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). However, many of those presentations tried to reach all businesses resulting in an overwhelming amount of information.
I recognized that clients who were hesitant due to the perceived complexity of the program were sole-proprietors and, ultimately, prime candidates for this program. My goal was to provide focused and necessary information for sole-proprietors ONLY so they could make the best decision for themselves, their businesses, and families.
I created videos to provide clarity for those applying. These videos sparked more pointed questions from those with concerns. I had the opportunity to help many within my local community as well as answer questions from people throughout the country.
How did you come up with the idea to create BOGO? What is BOGO?
I was challenged with a “Making a Difference” project through AgrIInstitute’s Agriculture Leadership Program. After brainstorming a few ideas with some Class 18 members, I remembered volunteering at a local homeless shelter specifically for men in Kokomo, Indiana. The director of that home mentioned that many of the men were protein deficient.
Vince and I recognized that our love for the animal protein industry could be used here to help people in our community. BOGO Foods was our solution to combining the opportunities we see in the local food movement with our appreciation for commercial agriculture.
BOGO represents “Buy One, Give One”. The idea is that consumers looking for locally produced food can purchase that product for their family while providing additional animal protein for those who are protein deficient at the same time. For now, we are producing about one or two batches of 50 broilers (meat chickens) each year and donating animal protein locally to organizations in Kokomo.
How can people help with your cause? What are your goals for BOGO?
Our next step for BOGO Foods is to determine our goals and vision for this non-profit. We have kept it as a small project due to our time constraints, but we do see potential opportunities to grow.
We are very thankful for some volunteers who assisted us this past year, in particular, the Brennan family! They jumped in during our Spring 2021 broiler batch to learn about broiler production, sales, and marketing which helped us tremendously.
Moving forward, I foresee a need to improve our social media presence which is not an area of strength for our team. We welcome suggestions, ideas, volunteers, and donations! Please feel free to contact me directly or reach out through our Facebook page.
When you aren’t helping farmers or working with BOGO, what do you like to do?
I enjoy teaching in the preschool class and serving teens in Fuel Students at Fuel Church. Beyond volunteering, I like attending Purdue football games, gardening, hiking, good food, and traveling.
If you could give advice to your younger (or college) self, what would it be?
Ask more questions. Do not be afraid of looking foolish. Use your youth to your advantage to learn more. People are more forgiving of those in school asking “silly” questions so ask them early!
Any final thoughts you’d like to leave with us?
I am a firm believer that God has provided each of us with specific resources to improve the lives of those around us. I am learning how to best use my time, talent, and treasures but am by no means an expert. I love to brainstorm and discuss how to improve so please do not hesitate to connect!
For more information on BOGO, you can visit its Facebook page.
Have someone in mind that you think would be a great Movers & Shakers feature? Nominate them here.