How long have you been in this industry?
“I have twenty-five years of experience in banking, with eight of those years spent managing a Trust Department. I currently serve as the Bank of Springfield as Senior Vice President – Head of Agricultural Lending, and I’m also the acting Community Bank President for both the Quincy, Illinois, and the Clayton, Missouri markets.”
Where are your operations, and within what geography do you operate?
“I am a commercial and agricultural banker with experience in estate planning and taxation. I have a wide range of experience in all facets of trust administration and am a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor (CTFA). My market area is growing but currently includes Illinois, Missouri, and Iowa.”
What crops do you grow, and how diverse is your operation?
“I do not farm, but most of my clientele does. My clients primarily grow corn and soybeans. My grandfather was a farmer who grew corn, soybeans, and wheat in West
Why did you decide to get into farming or ag lending?
“I was drawn to lending as I saw real opportunity to address the stereotypes associated with being a typical agriculture lender. When I started in the early 1990s, leaving the office two days a week to visit current customers or call on prospects, to add value to existing relationships, and leveraging my customer network was largely unthinkable. I integrated those concepts which I learned from my time at Deere and ADM into my work as a community banker.”
What is your favorite part of farming or ag lending?
“My customers are the best part of my job. I like to think outside the box for solutions to their credit needs.”
What is one thing that would surprise people about ag lending?
“Farmers of all ages are very technology-oriented today. I have many relationships where the farm operation is three to four hours from our nearest facility. Farmers use the latest technology to deposit checks, transfer funds, check loan balances, make payments, and complete other financial transactions. Ag lending is increasingly requiring lenders who will travel to see their customers.”
What tech do you use today to look at the land/do business? –
“iPhone, iPad, Acre Value, NASS, WSS, numerous University websites (Illinois, Iowa State, Purdue, Kansas State, Mizzou).”
What is the biggest issue facing agriculture today?
- Export markets (current trade partners, the development of new relationships)
- Many farms lack economies of scale (Machinery expense, Seed, Fertilizer)
- Labor shortage (autonomous machines should help)
What kinds of things do you think we should be doing to encourage more people to pursue a career in agriculture?
“Exposing people to the various occupations deemed to be in “agriculture” will be the key. I believe job-shadowing beginning in the high school years would be helpful. By offering four opportunities a year would allow a young person to learn about 16 different employment opportunities in agriculture. This career exploration could ensure that they choose the “right” major. Once in college, I believe the shadowing should be more narrowly focused on the opportunities that exist within their chosen field. The key to these efforts will be getting the school districts onboard and mandating participation.”
Why did you decide to join the CIBO Farmer Advisory Board?
“I have been very impressed with the level of innovation and teamwork at CIBO. I have been fascinated with products currently in the development stage and look forward to playing a part in their evolution.”
What are you hoping to get out of the board?
“I enjoy networking and meeting new people. I hope to be a part of the development of technology that will be a game-changer for the agricultural industry.”
What type of feedback are you looking forward to contributing to the board?
“I am hopeful my experience in working with producers will be helpful. I may also be able to leverage my contacts in the industry for the benefit of CIBO.”
What do you hope CIBO can make better?
“I am hopeful CIBO can significantly improve the evaluation of all types of real estate as an investment. Potential buyers would win, bankers would win, and current landowners would have an accurate assessment of their existing properties to improve them in whatever regards (drainage tile, ditching, irrigation, timber cutting, installation of waterways, ponds, levees, etc.).”