“With over 40 years of experience at Farm Credit – the last 21 years as president – Donnie has provided this association with strong, trusted leadership and visionary thinking. He truly represented the voice of our 93,000 customer-members across Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana and Tennessee,” said Ed Yanos, a Cambridge City, Indiana farmer and chair of the FCS Board of Directors. “He leaves us on a high note, with an incredible legacy that the board of directors will ensure continues.”
Winters served as president and CEO since 1989 and directed a staff of almost 900 employees. Prior to that time, he held a number of positions within the organization.
Under his leadership, the association has grown from less than $3 billion to over $17 billion in assets, lowered the cost of operations 70 percent and has provided the lowest-cost fixed-rate financing in the national Farm Credit System. Prior to being appointed to the role of president and CEO, he was one of the key players in the coordination of the merger of almost 100 PCAs and FLBAs to form a single entity, Farm Credit Services, which this year marks its 25th anniversary.
Winters is a lifelong resident of LaGrange, Kentucky. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Kentucky and his MBA from the University of Louisville. Earlier this year, the Farm Credit Board – as a gift of appreciation – established a scholarship endowment in his name at the University of Kentucky’s College of Agriculture.
“I feel extremely good about the value that we have brought our customers during my tenure as CEO and I know that it is primarily due to the efforts of our staff who work tirelessly on their behalf,” said Winters. “I am very optimistic about the future of Farm Credit and the future of the farmers in our four states. I am equally confident about the abilities of our management team and feel good about turning the leadership over to Bill Johnson, who brings a great deal experience and ability to this association as well as a commitment to excellence,” he said. Johnson joined Farm Credit as CEO-elect in mid-March.
In appreciation of the years of dedication to Farm Credit and upholding a high level of customer service, the FCS Board created a special award – the Service to Membership Award – which was presented to him during his retirement dinner in late April.
Winters plans to spend time with family, and looks forward to having the time and energy to fulfill his church and other volunteer commitments. He and his wife Judy have two children and seven grandchildren.