Enid News & Eagle
Farm Credit of Enid will host a come-and-go retirement reception 2-4 p.m. Dec. 16 for Dennis Schoenhals at the bank’s main office at 1605 W. Garriott.
After 36 years as a loan officer for the bank, Schoenhals now is doing business with several third-generation customers, a milestone he considers the highlight of his career.
“We are like a family here,” he said. “I’ll miss my customers and the people I work with every day.”
Schoenhals first joined what was then Federal Land Bank in May 1978 after obtaining an ag economics degree from Oklahoma State University. He grew up in the Okeene area and met his future wife, Pam Voth, of Kremlin, through his work at the bank. The couple and their two sons, Ty, a junior in ag economics at Oklahoma State University, and Trev, a senior at Kremlin-Hillsdale High School, now operate the farm that was started by her parents, Jake and Beverly Voth.
Originally a dairy, the farm eventually transitioned to producing registered beef cattle.
In recent years, Schoenhals managed Farm Credit’s Alfalfa County field office in Cherokee, but he has customers all over the trade area. “I’ve been responsible for every outpost we’ve had at one point or another,” he said.
He also is widely known in the agricultural community from the 20 years he spent volunteering as the beef superintendent for the Northwest District Livestock Show.
“I spent a lot of energy enhancing the heifer side of it,” he recalled. “We went out and found sponsors for all of the breeding heifer shows. It’s rewarding having been out in the ring with so many of those kids and then watching them grow up.”
Schoenhals has witnessed many changes in the local ag industry during his lengthy tenure with the Farm Credit system.
He remembers being the second employee in the office to get a computer. “I realized it was the coming thing, even though one of the big challenges was learning how to handle all of the new software that was continually coming out,” he said.
In 1992, he served on a system-wide committee that developed the first streamlined loan approval process using credit scores and electronic financial information. The original prototype provided quick approvals for borrowers making loans of $50,000 or less but was so well received that it was soon enhanced and expanded.
“I was fortunate to sit on that committee. It was a great experience,” he said.
He also has helped farmers adapt to increased computerization, including new technology like GPS navigational systems and use of the Internet for on-line banking, farm supply ordering and scheduling of custom crop applications.
“My third-generation customers are doing all of this from their smartphones,” he said.
Schoenhals plans to remain active in the Kremlin community, where he is a member of the local Lions Club. He also is a member of the OSU alumni association and has served as a national officer in the American Red Poll Association.
Following his retirement, he intends to spend more time on his farming operation and on trips to Stillwater, where both of his sons will be enrolled at OSU next year.