The Farmer Veteran Coalition headquarters in Waco, Texas, named its conference room the Leonard Monaco, Sgt. (retired) Conference Room in honor of Monaco’s service to the organization.
Monaco, a 35-year executive with Farm Credit in northern California, is an honorary member of the Board of Directors for the newly formed California Chapter. In recent years he also served as a Senior Advisor to the Executive team of FVC National.
Len is a Vietnam-era U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served a six-year reserve tour. Monaco was born “back east,” he notes, but his family moved near Sacramento, California, when he was in the seventh grade. He grew up working the family’s row crop operation, raising the likes of tomatoes, sugar beets and asparagus.
Monaco earned a business degree from Sacramento State University, but getting into ag banking came completely by accident, he said.
He said during his senior year in college his dad was pushing him to find a job. One day on campus, a man asked Monaco where the recruiting office was. During their 10-minute walk over, the man offered him a job with Bank of America.
The Bank of America job wasn’t a good fit though, he said, and he left after a year to join Farm Credit in Chico. He spent 45 years in ag banking — two long stints with Farm Credit split with time at Wells Fargo in between.
“I loved it,” he said. “It was a wonderful career.”
He retired from Farm Credit in 2014, and FVC Board President Gary Matteson, the Senior Vice President for Farm Credit Council, tapped him to work with Farmer Veteran Coalition. Monaco focused on operations and assisted with the Fellowship Fund.
Monaco said founder Michael O’Gorman created an impressive organization.
“(FVC) wouldn’t have happened without him,” he said. “I really enjoyed working with Michael.”
FVC Executive Director Jeanette Lombardo said she is honored to recognize Monaco by putting his name on the conference room door.
“Many in agriculture know Len Monaco,” Lombardo said. “He has advocated for our members throughout his years with Farm Credit and other organizations. His passion for our mission and his professional network has fueled the success of our Fellowship Fund.”
Monaco was very instrumental in creating a smooth transition after Lombardo was named Executive Director upon O’Gorman’s retirement in 2020.
“I have to thank him personally,” she said. “Here we were two Ag bankers working together to steer this organization through a change in management, but also maneuvering a difficult landscape during Covid. Len is a Marine through and through, and as an Ag banker he was someone who always gave good counsel to me and our members to help them keep on farming.”