To tell the story of Margaret Russell and the impact Farm Credit had on her life, we need to go back to the beginning of Production Credit Associations – back to the 1930’s.

The Farm Credit Act of 1933 created two new types of institutions, expanding lending authorities of the Farm Credit System (FCS) to provide credit for all types of agricultural activities. Thusly, the Production Credit Associations (PCAs) were established.

PCA farm cap w/ red patch

In 1933, Charles P. McCormick walked into a newly opened PCA in Central Texas for a loan. Credit from commercial banks was scarce and at high interest rates for agriculture during The Great Depression and his farm needed some operating capital.

Margaret attended the annual meeting for the PCA with her father, C.P. McCormick, in 1935. Today, her most vivid memory of the event is how poor many of the families in attendance seemed. Farming was difficult, but these farmers found a ready source of credit at the PCA and were welcomed into the Farm Credit family.

Farm Credit and PCAs remained important in Margaret’s life after she became the wife of a farmer. She married L.J. Russell in 1948 and together they built a future in agriculture – first near Georgetown, Texas, then to Olton, Texas, finally settling near the Texas border at Texhoma, Oklahoma. With each move, their PCA lender sent with them a consecutively larger packet of financial records to carry to their new lender.

“All through my life, I cherished the access we had to loans through Production Credit that helped us build our operation,” Margaret told us.

Margaret looking at an old photograph of her and her late husbandMargaret may not have traveled in a covered wagon, but she is a pioneer nonetheless. At 94, she captivated us with stories of her life perhaps made fresher in her mind through the writing of her first book, The Old House. As she spoke of her first days at the home near Texhoma, you could see the memories well up in her eyes – the work was hard, and nature was relentless.

Margaret sitting in her living room preparing to tell us some of her story. Fireplace in the background and cozy room.
Margaret stands between her two sons, Lem and Charles Russell. The men are wearing sports coats and Margaret's "fancy".

{ Margaret with her two sons – Lem and Charles Russell } 

In her words we heard gratitude for a husband who worked hard and was clever enough to change with the times; for two sons who learned from and worked along side their father and take special care of her today; for families who were kind and generous; for ancestors who were tough and endured. “…Children, even if you have to eat dirt, don’t sell the land.”

Today, with the aid of a granddaughter, Margaret is writing a second book about a brooch made for her great grandmother. The story continues within the family as generations wear the piece for “something old” on their wedding day. The brooch and the story are dear, but the priceless jewel of this family still bakes casseroles for the Baptist luncheon to benefit local college students, is still involved in the bill paying and financial decisions of the Russell Partnership, and is game for outdoor photos on a cold, windy day in February.

headline reads "FACES of AGTEXAS"
Margaret Russell bundled up in her warm coat as she poses outside in front of her delivery trucks- in Texhoma, OK

Thank you for your business, Margaret. You are the story & history of Farm Credit.

Margaret was our 2019 Annual Report feature story.