This past week I conducted strategic planning with Farm Credit Boards of Directors in Wilmington, North Carolina, and Topeka, Kansas. In North Carolina, we received 4 1/2 inches of rain. Topeka, in eastern Kansas, is still dry.
I facilitated a large focus group of Farm Credit staff, board members, young beginning producers, and advisory teams in a two-day session. Frontier Farm Credit was doing this to tweak their business plan and determine new products and services they needed to be providing. It was interesting that all the participants indicated that the bank competitors had not conducted this type of research.
The producers in the group were strong advocates of face-on-face lending with a person that knew agriculture from an industry and producer level. They didn’t like name changes whether it was bank mergers or change of loan officers.
When asked about family living withdrawals, it was all over the board. We had some participants living on less than $10,000 cash withdrawals per year. At the other end of the spectrum, total compensation for some was in the six-figure range, including perks.
The largest concern for the young couples was intergenerational transfer. Regardless of age level, medical insurance cost is a dark cloud on the horizon!
My truckers at the Topeka interchange say business is slow! The only travelers are kids and grandparents on deep discounted tickets. The business traveler is disappearing again!
The college football season is underway. Nebraska seems challenged; Miami, Texas, and Oklahoma are strong. I had a great time attending parties with the LSU fans that traveled to Blacksburg to watch the Hokies win. This game made a Virginia state record for number of people to attend a football game at 65,049 fans; 16,000 fans were from LSU. I know many because of my association with the LSU Graduate School of Banking, of which I am a faculty member. There’s nothing like Cajun food and people who know how to relax. Tech looked strong against LSU but we have two more Top 20 opponents, Marshall and Texas A&M this month!
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Editors' note: Dave Kohl, Soybean Digest Trends Editor, is an ag economist at Virginia Tech. He recently completed a sabbatical working with the Royal Bank of Canada. He is now back at Virginia Tech with his academic appointment, which is teaching, extension, and applied research.
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