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Recent posts by Wyatt Fraas

What Advice Would You Give a New Banker?

Recently a new loan officer in a small rural bank reached out to me, wondering what training I could recommend for her. It´s refreshing to get a question like that. A lender who shows curiosity in learning more about new crops or ideas is a valuable asset in a small community.

In my work with beginning farmers and veterans, I´ve observed a lot of farmer/lender interactions and thought a lot about how they could be improved. So I set forth to offer my advice to this young banker. See if you agree.

Map of My Kingdom Play Examines Farm Transitions

“Would my husband and I automatically move into town so the next generation can move in?” asked a farmer. “And what would be our plans for our farm if our children will run it as ‘absentee landlords’?”

Such questions and others filled a room in Columbus, Nebraska, one day in March. What are the decisions that farm and ranch families make around the next generation to own their land? Do these decisions strengthen the family, or cause friction and bad feelings? Are there examples or help to work through these decisions?

Ideas for Farming or Ranching on a Small Acreage

Recently a farmer in California emailed, looking for ideas for high-value crops or livestock suited to a small amount of land. I began as I normally do, with an upbeat, "Congratulations on considering a farm! There are many opportunities in farming now for people who look beyond simple commodity crops and livestock."

Then I shared some advice and the many places anyone in a similar situation can turn to for help.

Farming Fits Veterans and Veterans Fit Farming

The Center for Rural Affairs has worked to support and assist beginning farmers and ranchers for over 25 years. And increasingly, beginning farmer and rancher inquiries come from military veterans. They have the same needs as other new farmers: access to land, financing and information. But they also bring new issues: disabilities, returning to civilian life, a drive to help fellow veterans, a powerful sense of wanting to be of service to their country.
 

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