This past week I was instructing at the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Colorado. I have taught at this school for over ten years. Over 300 bankers from 26 different states and four foreign countries attended this year.

What’s on Bankers’ Minds

I asked the bankers in my sessions, "What are the biggest challenges facing you and your customers?" The following is a summary of their thoughts that pretty well reflect America.

The challenges most frequently mentioned were the age of the customer and the size of operations. This was particularly troublesome for community banks of small size. They indicated that the loans were becoming too large to finance internally. Thus, they were participating the loans to larger banks, secondary markets, and in some cases, Farm Credit.

Weather was a huge issue for bankers in Nebraska, Colorado, and Kansas. Shane Hanes in "Big Country," a good friend, basketball buddy, and a community banker from Kansas says his area is devastated. During the Dust Bowl, his area received eight inches of rain. This year they have had slightly over two inches!

Bankers were concerned about producers’ ability to compete, particularly the small farmer or rancher, and inept marketers.

Management succession, both on the farm and at the bank, was a major challenge they see on the horizon.

Speaker Tidbits

One of the pleasures at this school is listening to other speakers. One speaker indicated that in one year, all three markets totaled 11.271 trillion dollars in paper wealth. At the end of the week of July 12, it had been reduced to 8.711 trillion. The week of July 8-12, investors lost 601.80 billion dollars. Does this sound like the 80’s of agriculture?

Great Movie

If its hot and dry, and you want to see a movie, order The Rookie. It has a great story – I’ve seen it twice. It sure beats watching Allen Iverson in the news!

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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