Our Relationship Manager, Don Harden, was recently a guest columnist in Central Florida Ag News magazine, October 2015 edition.  Read his full column here:

The Sun Belt Ag Expo in Moultrie, Georgia is fast approaching, and AgAmerica Lending is pleased to sponsor a bit of our own agriculture roots with a team of local whip crackers. Here in the heart of Central Florida, whip cracking is to Florida agriculture what the rodeo is to the West, so it’s exciting to bring this tradition to a national stage.

Cattle came to Florida with explorers like Ponce de Leon and adapted to the scrub lands of the Florida wilderness. Starting in the late 1800s, wild cattle became owned cattle, and men on horseback with whips were the chief individuals responsible for rounding up wild cattle and moving domestic cattle herds across the state. These cowboys came to be known as “Florida Crackers” for the sound their whips made. Whip cracking was a valuable skill that turned into an art form like other abilities one might need on a working farm or ranch. The name “Florida Cracker” became synonymous with anything to do with traditional agriculture in Florida, including generations of families.

Today, whip cracking, also called whip popping, is found in contest form at rodeos, county fairs and the like, and AgAmerica will be bringing some of Central Florida’s best young talent to the Sun Belt Ag Expo stage from October 20-22. Performing on the stage every day at 9:15 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. will be brothers Ryan, Grayson and Josiah Waldman and Cameron Cato. Cameron Cato is an authentic “Florida Cracker,” with great grandparents who lived the title and an uncle who started him whip cracking at the age of seven. The Waldman boys also have whip cracking in their roots, with skills passed from a great grandfather to a cousin, and then to the boys themselves. Each young man has displayed his skills with whips at competitions, fairs, and demonstrations across the Sunshine State. This October, they will do the same at the Sun Belt Ag Expo. We hope to see you there!


BIO: Donald Harden, the Relationship Manager for AgAmerica Lending, grew up in the cattle and citrus business, managing a family ranch of several thousand cattle and horses. He has more than 30 years of experience in the real estate business, and more than 20 years specializing in agricultural sales. Don has owned and operated farm and ranch supply stores, machinery auction companies, and farms. He has served as a director and on the board of the Cattlemen’s Association, as the manufacturer’s representative for ag equipment companies, and as a beef cattle specialist for a national feed company. Don has traveled across the U.S. as a sales rep. conducting seminars and fostering long-lasting business relationships. Don enjoys his work at AgAmerica, as he has never met a stranger. For more information, visit www.AgAmerica.com.