As I write this article, it is officially fall. For most city dwellers, fall means football season, pumpkin everything, idyllic scenes of corn mazes and bonfires. For those of us who have the pleasure of living in the country, fall also means the beans are turning, corn harvest is underway and the next calving season is upon us. Fall can be one of the busiest seasons for those in agriculture. Our nights in the field aren’t around the bonfire or in the corn maze but more often than not we’re in the seat of the combine or helping a heifer calve.
Living on a working cattle farm, I know how short on time most farmers and ranchers are these days and can understand how inconvenient it can be when your lender says “it’s time for your inspection again.” But let me explain just why we require inspections and how important they are to you as well.
Farm visits serve a multiple purpose. One, it allows your lender the chance to observe your operation in action, see what is and isn’t working and if there are additional needs he/she can help with, and educates him/her on the purpose and reasoning behind your farm or ranch. When he/she sees for themselves the how, what and why behind the loan, future conversations are much easier and less intimidating, for both the lender and the customer.
Secondly, it allows us to keep our files up-to-date so that when you come in with a request, we have the information at our fingertips and can make a decision easier and quicker than we might be able to do otherwise. By updating the file and observing the operation first hand, your lender has a better insight on what type of loan structure will work best for your operation.
Thirdly, it can help you, the customer, keep accurate records of your operation. A farm visit allows you and your lender the opportunity to update the value of your livestock, machinery, land, etc., and compare them to those of last year. Do your production records show improvement or decline? How have the markets, weather, etc., affected your operation? How did last year’s changes affect the operation? Do we need to continue with those changes or make new ones?
Lastly, a farm visit allows you a one-on-one conversation with your lender, on your turf. It gives you the opportunity to display the result of your hard labor and to start or continue the conversation to make that dream farm a reality. Take the chance to show pride in your operation and to build a lasting, working relationship with your lender. A farm visit means your lender is taking an active role in ensuring the well-being of your operation. He/she isn’t just making a loan then forgetting about it, but instead maintaining a relationship to ensure the health of your operation, the health of the bank, and the health of the goals and dreams you have for your farm or ranch.


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