Our Relationship Manager, Don Harden, was recently a guest columnist in Central Florida Ag News magazine, August 2015 edition.  Read his full column here:

Florida’s farmers, growers, and ranchers increasingly are changing up and adding to the mix of the crops they produce, the livestock they raise and the forage they provide. Some call it agricultural diversification. Some call it alternative farming. Many call it smart business.

People who make their living in agriculture diversify for a number of reasons. They do it to reduce risk. They do it in response to or as a hedge against unforgiving weather and pestilence. They do it because research — development of more suitable crop varieties and livestock breeds — makes it possible. They do it in response to human need, cultural shifts, and consumer demand (such as the growing demand for organically grown foods). They may also do it for the shear challenge or joy of it.

At AgAmerica Lending, we fully understand traditional farming and ranching. The expertise of our team members — each educated and strengthened by many years of personal agricultural and real estate experience — combined with our innovative approach have made us a national leader in ag-based lending. We also fully understand diversified/alternative agriculture — the important mechanism it is for local farming and regional economic growth — and have helped hundreds of clients successfully transition to or add new crops and agricultural products.

Nationwide, the lending expertise at AgAmerica covers a wide range of agricultural operations, including cattle ranches; swine, dairy, and poultry production; timber land; peach orchards; citrus groves; greenhouse/nursery sites; and many kinds of farms (corn, cotton, melons, peanuts, row crops, berries, and vegetables). In Florida, Polk is among the highlight counties for land loans for preferred alternative crops, such as peaches and organic vegetables and berries.

People who make a living off the land can look to many helpful how-to resources should they decide to diversify beyond traditional food, fiber, and forage. For land loans, refinancing, and other ag-related financial services, they can look with confidence to AgAmerica Lending.

BIO: Donald Harden, the Relationship Manager for AgAmerica Lending, grew up in the cattle and citrus business, managing a family ranch of several thousand cattle and horses. He has more than 30 years of experience in the real estate business, and more than 20 years specializing in agricultural sales. Don has owned and operated farm and ranch supply stores, machinery auction companies, and farms. He has served as a director and on the board of the Cattlemen’s Association, as the manufacturer’s representative for ag equipment companies, and as a beef cattle specialist for a national feed company. Don has traveled across the U.S. as a sales rep. conducting seminars and fostering long-lasting business relationships. Don enjoys his work at AgAmerica, as he has never met a stranger. For more information, email Don at Don@landsouthgroup.com.