Lenders play an important role in the success of a farm, ranch or other agriculture business. Therefore, it’s imperative producers take time to do their homework in selecting the right one.
The qualities that make a lender “fit” for each customer vary from farm to farm. Personal service may be a high priority for one producer, while outright financing speed is more important to the next operator down the road.
All reputable ag lenders should embody these five core characteristics in their effort to provide the highest level of service to customers:
A knowledgeable ag lender has a strong understanding of the challenges facing America’s producers and is committed to providing the continued financial support they need to sustain or grow their businesses. A lender should understand your operation and its changing financial needs. As producers make their financial planning decisions, it is important to work with a lender who knows how you manage your farm or ranch and is committed to applying that knowledge throughout all the life cycles of your operation.
Agriculture is anything but predictable. A good ag lender should not only have a strong understanding of your business and specific operation, but also an understanding of how changes in your industry could impact your profitability. Your lender should properly structure loan terms and repayments that fit your business; listening first, then being mindful of the need for flexibility should the need arise.
3. Industry expertise
It’s just as important for an ag lender to understand each farm customer’s business sector. If you’re a corn and soybean farmer in the Midwest, your financial needs are considerably different from those of a vineyard operator in California. Conterra Ag Capital lenders invest a lot of time and energy into understanding the nuances of each sector of agriculture. In fact, most of our lending and servicing team members were raised on farms. Your lender should have an intimate knowledge and understanding of your business.
4. Personal service
When it comes to understanding your operation’s finances, nothing replaces first-hand farm experience. A good ag lender invests the time and energy into becoming very familiar with the customers’ operations. In many cases, that requires taking the time to travel to a customer’s operation for a first-hand view of both the personal and professional dynamics that make it up. Knowing how individual stakeholders interact with one another on the farm — especially as it relates to making financial decisions — is critical information for a lender.
A good ag lender helps owners navigate current financial waters and does so with an eye on the horizon. Make sure your lender is attuned to not just the future of your industry, but how your operation will adjust and evolve to remain viable and achieve performance milestones down the road. In other words, your lender should be a strong ally for both today and tomorrow.
A successful relationship starts with a strong personal connection, includes industry-wide priorities like confidentiality and ultimately bears fruit when an ag lender embodies these characteristics. At Conterra Ag, we deliver these five attributes in every customer relationship. If you’re interested in learning how we can employ these traits for your operation, start a conversation with us today.
Conterra Ag | 855-381-3451 | conterraag.com
Disclaimer: The foregoing is provided for informational purposes only and does not consider your specific financial circumstances, needs, or objectives. Before making any decision based on the foregoing information, you should seek advice from a qualified financial advisor, accountant, attorney or other applicable professional. Conterra makes no warranties, either express or implied, as to any of its loan products or services.