The Road Warrior of Agriculture

Silver Anniversary

Last week I was in Indianapolis to address the 50th Annual American Bankers Agricultural Conference with my 25th address.

My first talk centered on the use of merchant and dealer credit in agriculture, i.e. John Deere, Case International, etc. Here is a glimpse of my 25th address.

The average banker’s salary was approximately $17,000 in 1978; now it stands at $54,000. There were 800 Farm Credit Associations, i.e. PCA, FLBA; now there are approximately 160 combined ACA’s offering both short- and long-term credit.

Agricultural bank numbers are about half compared to 1978. They are either really big banks or the small community bank.

Of all the commodities, the price of soybeans has seen the biggest decline in price. Corn, wheat, and dairy prices have remained the same; beef prices are at a slight increase. Of course, we are not talking about real prices with the impacts of inflation.

In 1978, most loans were granted based upon a balance sheet and character. Today, credit scoring using a few key variables by the computer on small loans and a full financial analysis for larger credits is standard.

In 1978 there was one interest rate. Today, the lending industry has many rates and terms given a customer’s situation.

How quick 25 years goes by. More on the conference in the next few columns.

Will my prediction of no undefeated teams in Division I come about? Ohio State has the best schedule.

My e-mail address is:sullylab@vt.edu

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.

To see Dave Kohl's previous road warrior adventures type Dave Kohl in the Search blank at the top of the page.

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