Corn+Soybean Digest [1]

The Road Warrior of Agriculture

The Road Warrior of Agriculture

This and That

This next week will be spent in Yakima and Spokane, WA, working with Northwest Farm Credit on its ninth-annual executive producers’ roundtable, which is always very enjoyable.

This month I will be in Jonesboro, AK; Enid, OK; my annual trek to Lancaster, PA; and then to Hesston, KS.

Further Consolidation

Farm Credit Services has now consolidated down to fewer than 100 associations nationwide. Remember back to the old Production Credit Associations and Federal Land Banks. The last PCA disappeared at the turn of the year. Farm Credit now has 13 Federal Land Banks and 86 associations that are ACAs that combine both short and long-term lending.

By the year 2010, expect the number of associations to decline to fewer than 25. To put it in perspective, when I started at Virginia Tech 25 years ago, there were 800 plus.

This is not all bad, however. I’ve noticed that the associations are much more professionally operated while still maintaining grass roots. They offer a wide range of products and services, and the diversified portfolio reduces overall risk to any one association. They are doing a very good job at conducting educational seminars to position the customer for the 21st century. In some cases, such as one of the Oklahoma associations, they work with the community banks in serving area producers.

One challenge to Farm Credit is to encourage more women on the board, and who will be the first woman CEO?

In the next column I will discuss trends in banking.

Current Events Perspective