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Celebrating the Inaugural Issue of Ag Banking

By: Bill Poquette

Welcome to the inaugural print edition of Ag Banking, our new publication dedicated to the profession — or art — of agricultural lending.

The genesis of this project began about a year ago, when we began taking notice of the booming farmland prices and rising corn, soybean and wheat prices — data hard to ignore in our part of the world, that being the “breadbasket” of the nation and more specifically the suburbs of Kansas City, which grew up as and still serves as a hub for agriculture and related industries.

With that background, we went to the American Bankers Association’s National Agricultural Bankers Conference last fall and tested the idea for this publication — and its monthly e-newsletter, Ag Banking e-Update — on ag lenders in attendance and vendors in the spacious exhibit hall of the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee. We did the same at several state association conventions in the Midwest.

We were encouraged by their responses. We have also been encouraged that we are on the right track by the response from across the country — bankers in 28 states have taken advantage of the subscription signup offer on our website. If you do not have your free subscription yet, go to the Publication Signup Area of our website, www.BankNews.com.

In this first issue we have addressed four topics of significant interest to ag lenders:

Using puts and calls as hedging tools for producers, written by Scott Peterson, CEO of Stewart Peterson, a commodity consulting firm providing risk management services wherever market volatility endangers the bottom line.

Better managing collateral documents with electronic warehouse receipts. The author is Drew Earles, vice president of eGrain Inc., a pioneer in the EWR industry.

Commodity account control agreements, crucial documents for ag lenders whose collateral includes a commodity account and the securities, cash and other investment property held in the account. Authors Jacqueline A. Pueppke and Steven C. Turner are partners in Baird Holm LLP, a leading Omaha, Neb.-based law firm.

Farmer Mac’s secondary-market and other programs, including tools such as long-term fixed-rate funding or additional lending capacity. Ag lenders from around the country comment on their success with these programs.

Among topics slated for the next quarterly issue (June) are the unique challenges faced by beginning and young farmers, and the need to focus on profitability and repayment capacity versus the asset-based lending of the 1970s.

We are excited about the launch of this new publication and confident the target audience will find it a valuable source of information that helps them in their important work — financing the nation’s agricultural producers. In the months ahead we will seek editorial contributions from experts in the many facets of ag finance — from academia, government, the legal profession, product and service providers and yes, the banking industry — to be shared with our readers.

And don’t be shy. We would like to hear from you about topics you would like to see covered in Ag Banking, or with suggestions about how we might make this a better publication. Contact either me, at bpoquette(at)banknews.com, or Kari English, senior editor, at kenglish(at)banknews.com.

Bill Poquette is editor-in-chief of BankNews.

Copyright (c) March 2013 by BankNews Media


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