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Landscapes, Summer 2008

The Right Time, the Right Place

Ratchnee, Dalyn and John France

Photo by Michele Hockersmith/Images by Michele Photography

Pictured from left to right are Ratchnee, Dalyn and John France

Imagine having lived in four countries — including Thailand and the Netherlands — and having visited 28 in the course of pursuing your education and growing your career.

And then, one day, when the time is right, you find your own piece of heaven — your own land — in a seemingly unlikely place: rural north Texas.

So it was for Ratchnee and John France, two hard-working, dedicated physicians, whose educational and career paths — including stints in the U.S. Army — took them around the world before they found their ideal property in Texas.

Around the World in Thousands of Days

Ratchnee, originally from Thailand, received her premedical education at Khon Kaen University there, and her medical degree at both Temple University in Philadephia, Penn., and SABA University School of Medicine in the Netherlands. John earned his bachelor’s degree at Ohio Northern University; his doctorate degree in chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh, Penn.; and his medical degree at the University of Missouri at Columbia.

Interestingly, in the course of their travels, the Frances have lived in three of the states that compose the Tenth Farm Credit District. They lived in New Mexico, where Ratchnee completed her medical residency; in Louisiana, where they spent six months for Ratchnee’s medical training; and in Texas, where they were stationed with the U.S. Army. The Frances also have family, a niece and nephew, in McKinney, Texas.

Of their decision to buy land in Texas, Ratchnee says, "We found the people very open-minded and friendly. I just had a good feeling about the place and the people, and my instinct usually works well for me."

First Impressions Served Them Well

So it was serendipitous that when, on the couple’s visit to the north Texas town of Ennis last year, Ratchnee followed her instincts: She explored buying land in the area, and in the process was led to AgTexas Farm Credit Services.

When the Frances had found their "spot," 360 acres outside Corsicana, complete with a lake, Ratchnee contacted two banks about a loan, but didn’t feel right about them. Then, their Realtor, Jerry Davis, recommended AgTexas, and from Ratchnee’s first conversation with Bill Page, vice president of lending services in the Corsicana field office, she felt she could trust him.

"I had a good feeling about Mr. Page. He was friendly, truthful, careful and considerate. We did most of our business over the phone, but when I finally met him to transfer the title, I had the same feeling," says Ratchnee.

Ironically, although new to the Farm Credit cooperative, the Frances were not strangers to the cooperative model, recently having worked for a cooperative of three medical clinics in rural Kansas.

Closer to Home, Great Hopes for the Future

A recent relocation to Dyess Air Force base in Abilene, Texas, has put the Frances much closer to their property.

They plan to build a weekend home there, and also envision that home as the perfect place to retire, after their daughters, Roslyn, 16, and Dalyn, 13, are grown.

In the meantime, the Frances have started a cow-calf operation to keep the land productive while they grow their careers and raise their family. Again, their Realtor Davis has helped out, by recommending local cattle expert Mike Spain — a longtime AgTexas customer — to help them start up and operate the new venture.

And, it is a tribute to AgTexas’ level of service that after witnessing Page’s sound business with the Frances, Davis too has become an AgTexas customer.

Page is pleased to have the Frances as customers.

"I’m glad they chose our area and our association. They are an interesting, dedicated and down-to-earth couple," he says. "I think it is great that after all the places they’ve been, they chose our little part of the world."

Article by Tina Jackson
– Photos by Michele Hockersmith/Images by Michele Photography