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Does your lender feel like they’re in the dark?

Andree_Nery/Stock/Getty Images Plus Farmer using digital tablet computer in cultivated corn field
Communicating with lenders during the growing season doesn’t have to be complicated.

This summer, farm leaders are keeping up with many different responsibilities and tasks. The ‘to-do’ list can seem endless, with new projects being added almost daily. Between managing employees and logistics, managing the business and financial side of the operation – and everything else, there’s a lot to think about.

There’s one thing that might not necessarily be at the top of your list, but it’s very important for your success in the long run. And that’s being proactive to keep your banker informed about your operation – even during the summer when everything is changing rapidly.

When the line goes silent

The consequences of not keeping your banker in the loop are just too big. Without hearing directly from you about your farm, they’re left with very little to work with. At that point, they have to imagine what your situation is – or maybe they even hear about it from someone else.

Your banker needs to be hearing things – the good, the bad, and the ugly – straight from you, their client. Otherwise, it’s too easy for the story to shift or change in some way, probably not in the most accurate direction.

When communication is lacking or goes completely silent, the relationship between you and your lender can suffer. This might not be obvious right away – but as time goes on, there tend to be more misunderstandings and a feeling of just not being “on the same page.”

More questions enter their minds when they don’t have information and updates from you. Maintaining a relationship of healthy back and forth communication with someone as important to your operation as your lender is key.

Lender communication tips

How can you keep the practice of communicating regularly with your lender on your mind during the busy growing season? Here are a few tips.

  1. Bring your lender updated projections at regular intervals. Don’t wait for your lender to ask for your numbers or for them to create spreadsheets to illustrate your farm’s situation. Be proactive in creating and updating the numbers yourself – and be ready and able to explain them to your banker. You might consider doing this a couple times during the summer as the growing season evolves and markets shift and change.
  2. Share your marketing plans with them. It will greatly put your lender’s mind at ease to know that you’re working through a proactive marketing plan. Lenders need to know when grain sales are made – their end goal is to get paid back, after all. Having and working with a dynamic marketing plan that responds quickly as the market presents opportunities is key. If you need to get a plan in place or get an advisor partner to help you execute plans, get in touch with our market advisors.
  3. Schedule and commit. What gets scheduled, gets done. If you want to have ongoing successful communication with your lender, you need to schedule it on your calendar and make it a priority. A million other things may come up in the meantime – but if you schedule preparation time and follow through with your lender, you’ll enjoy the benefits of a strong working relationship filled with open communication.
The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress. 
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