Help Us Commend the Agricultural Industry and Generational Farmers That Keep It Going
National Dairy Month started in 1937 to encourage more milk consumption. Today, we honor the contributions of the dairy industry and the resilient farmers who keep it going. Most dairy farms are owned and operated by families, and generational farming could be the key that keeps the fires burning despite economic and social pressures.
That got us thinking about our commitment to the agricultural industry. We sat down with Kevin Cobb, Vice President of Agricultural Lending at Queensborough National Bank & Trust and discussed the role the bank plays in supporting the folks fighting to make their farms financially independent and profitable.
The Importance of Generational Farming
While he heads up the bank’s Ag lending efforts, Kevin Cobb is also a farmer. Farm customers love speaking with him—because he’s one of them! His family raises the following livestock and crops:
His own children went off to college and came back to work on the farm and continue the family tradition. Cobb says, “At the bank we serve a lot of generational farmers whose kids have decided to stay involved and continue as the next generation - and that’s happening at our farming operation too. I’d say in the last five or six years, a lot of our client’s children are graduating college and coming back to work the family farm. The prices have actually been decent enough that they can make a living.”
Kevin noticed another exciting trend with younger farmers. A lot of agricultural customers, particularly the younger generation, are spending more time “in the numbers” before committing to a big investment. This creates an opportunity for the bank to be a bigger part of the farm’s long-term success.
“We're trying to get our farming customers a lot more involved with their numbers. While farmers didn’t always like to think about that before, now they want to know about their cash flows before making purchasing decisions, not after.”
Pressures Facing Farmers Today
With all the challenges facing the agricultural industry today, this type of financial insight doesn’t come a moment too soon. Major pressures facing today's farmers include:
Solar Companies. With the focus on energy and environmental sustainability, Kevin notes that solar companies have bought four farms within a 15-mile radius of his farm in the past two years. This also increases pressure on real estate prices and from a lender's point of view, solar companies don't create the jobs or provide the same economic growth to a community, like a farm could.
Interest Rates. Farmers will, like everyone else, feel the strain of rising interest rates.
At Queensborough National Bank & Trust, we are happy to walk our agricultural clients through the numbers to help them better understand their challenges and opportunities.
Customer Spotlight – Sunny Day Farms
Sunny Day is a well-diversified agricultural client that embodies the spirit of modern-day farming. By diversifying into “agritainment” and keeping their farm going, Sunny Day sets a great example for other farms that need to expand their business offering and reach the younger generation of the population.
Sunny Day features ‘you pick strawberry patches’, corn mazes, homemade ice cream, and events that teach kids about the importance of farming. Thank you, Sunny Day, for inspiring the next generation and helping people appreciate the value farming brings to the community!
If you would like to learn more about how Queensborough can help your agribusiness, please get in touch with us.
Vice President, Agricultural Lending
Queensborough National Bank & Trust honors Dairy Month in June with a renewed commitment to our farm, dairy, and other agricultural clients. Contact us today to discuss your agricultural banking needs!