Winter on the farm: Tips for lenders to stay connected with farmers and producers

In the winter, one may think farming takes a pause, but that doesn’t mean all is quiet. Farmers are quite busy behind the scenes. If your financial organization is looking to grow its ag portfolio, now is an opportune time to connect with ag producers, and set the table for future lending and investing opportunities.

As you connect with farmers this winter, it’s a good time to remember the activities and planning producers are engaged in.

Planning for the next growing season

Top priority for ag producers is setting everything in stone, both financially and logistically, so they can hit the ground running when it’s time for planting. Along with finalizing and filing taxes, there are financial agreements, inputs and labor needs to address.

Equipment repair and maintenance

Winter finds farmers in the shed, elbows deep in repairing and maintaining the machinery. There’s routine maintenance, the ordering of parts and setting priorities on updating aging equipment.

Big-picture planning

Winter on the farm gives farmers a chance to zoom out and look at the big picture. What is the financial performance of the operation relative to prior years? Is it meeting or exceeding objectives? What needs to change to achieve the results they’re after? Farming in winter is also a time to consider the pros and cons of larger decisions for the business, such as acquiring real estate, adding facilities or replacing equipment.

Staying connected in the winter months

For lenders and investors, winter is a particularly advantageous time to connect with farmers, as they think through their plans and goals for their operation next season.

Before it’s time to seek financing for the next big land purchase or project, get the conversation started by giving farmers a reason to drive into town to see you.

Market your services

Distribute a newsletter to your contact list, featuring insights about the current financial challenges of agriculture and how you can help. Include a strong call-to-action to book a meeting.

Plan an event

Host an educational event or an event simply for fun. It can be as relaxed as an appreciation event with food and drink or it can be expansive like hosting an agriculture fair in partnership with other entities. Demonstrate your commitment to supporting their success, via a seminar led by an engaging expert from within your organization or partnered with your organization. Collect attendee information before or during the event to help update and build your contact database.

3 topics to discuss with farmers during the winter

Once you’ve booked the meeting with ag producers during the off-season, there are a number of financial topics that would pique their interest and provide an entryway to a strategic discussion.

Cash-flow planning

Review budgets, projections and strategies for purchasing any seasonal inputs. Are they using or exploring forward contracting or pre-purchasing inputs? Is there enough cash for emergency expenses, such as equipment repairs?

Financial statement review

Diving into profits and losses can open up a discussion on opportunities to invest to enhance productivity or reduce expenses, but it’s also a good time to discuss with your customers the importance of updating balance sheets, equipment list valuations and other financial statements, so they will be ready to go when needed.

Diversification planning

Is the farmer contemplating the pros and cons of an additional crop or type of livestock? Help farmers evaluate the financial feasibility of diversifying their operation and discuss financing options.

Helping ag producers maintain liquidity: Guidance and insights for lenders

Expand your lending power with Agri-Access

Whatever the season, farmers must adapt to navigate the ever-shifting agriculture landscape. To manage these shifts, farmers are seeking cost-effective ways to preserve and grow their operations. Lenders have an opportunity to provide innovative financing solutions that bridge the gap. At Agri-Access, we’re committed to empowering farmers and lenders with options that make growth and financial stability achievable. Our specialty is ag financing, so you get the depth and expertise you seek.

Learn about our participation loan offerings, and reach out to a relationship manager any time to get started.

Let’s discuss how we can expand your ag lending power.