April 23 - San Francisco-based Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) has named Rob C. Yraceburu to a new position as head of its National Food & Agribusiness Division. He will lead the group’s expansion to untapped markets in the Midwest and East. A fourth-generation family farmer who holds both a bachelor’s in agricultural business and a master’s in agricultural economics from California State University Fresno, he has worked in finance for his entire 28-year career.
Yraceburu takes on the new role after leading Wells Fargo Commercial Banking operations in Southern California since 2008. Before that, he served from 1999 as regional manager in Bakersfield, Calif., where he doubled Wells Fargo lending to agriculture in less than a decade. In that same period, he also increased the bank’s market share to become the leading financer of agribusiness in surrounding Kern County, one of the most-productive agricultural counties in the United States. In all, Yraceburu worked more than 25 years in several finance positions for the company in California’s Central Valley, a huge agriculture region where over 400 crops are produced.
“Wells Fargo has been committed to the U.S. food and agriculture industry through numerous economic cycles,” said Perry Pelos, the head of Wells Fargo Commercial Banking. “Rob and his team will leverage Wells Fargo’s national reach and financial strength to grow our support of an industry that is vital for every single person in America.”
While California is home to nine of the USA’s top-producing agriculture counties, the state accounts for just 15 percent of the nation’s total “farm gate” – that is, the value of products when they leave farm. That equates to a big opportunity for Wells Fargo to grow its food and agriculture business in the Midwest and particularly in the East, according to Yraceburu. “It won’t be an overnight success – but like farming, we’ll plant a crop beginning this spring and look forward to fruitful harvests in the years to come,” he said.
Yraceburu’s family farming roots run more than a century deep. His great grandfather emigrated from Spain at the start of the 20th century and began dry-land farming 160 acres of grain on the West Side of California’s Central Valley. Yraceburu’s grandfather purchased a Central Valley grape and raisin operation in the late 1950s. Today, his 71-year-old father farms grapes, raisins, and almonds. Yraceburu and his wife Gayle, who also grew up on Central Valley farms, purchased their first operation in 1987. Like her husband, Gayle earned a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from California State University, Fresno.
About Wells Fargo’s National Division of Food & Agriculture
With regional and industry experts throughout the United States, Wells Fargo provides resources to help meet the needs of agribusiness in various sectors, including dairy farmers, food processors, nurseries and vegetable, fruit and nut growers. The company also provides financial resources to help businesses grow while also managing risk. Understanding the impact of regional, national and global economic conditions, Wells Fargo offers specialized financing for all areas of agribusiness, including input supply, production, processing, wholesale distribution and retailing.
Wells Fargo supports agriculture in other ways as well. For instance, Rural Community Insurance Services, a wholly owned subsidiary, is the nation’s largest crop insurance provider, offering risk management protection for more than 100 crops in all 50 states through a national network of more than 5,000 professionally trained and licensed independent agents. It provides multi-peril crop insurance and livestock policies offered through the United States Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency, as well as crop hail, flood, named peril, as supplemental and stand-alone insurance products.