Free Trade Agreements – Positive Economic Impact for US Farmers

United States farming communities are seeing a huge surge of positive economic impact due to a governmental push to negotiate free trade with foreign countries. The United States is leading the free trade movement worldwide. U.S. leaders understand that pursuing free trade agreements (FTAs) with foreign countries will create a more stable and transparent foreign trading policy, as well as, permit U.S. companies to export their products through cheaper and easier means. These agreements are proving to have a positive impact for United States’ farmers and the economic standing of that industry.

South Korea has recently agreed to participate in a free trade agreement with the United States.This agreement is great news for U.S. farmers since South Korea is the sixth largest foreign market for U.S. farm goods. Due to this free trade agreement, U.S. farm goods exported to South Korea will climb to $6.3 billion in 2013 and are expected to reach $7 billion in 2014.This is an economic leap from the $5.3 billion in farm goods exported to South Korea in 2010. 

What Does this  Mean for Farmers?

These FTAs will have an enormous economic impact in the Southeastern farming states due to the agricultural products that these areas produce. It is expected that foreign sales of fruit and vegetables and similar agricultural crops will be on track to reach $23 billion in value this year. Crops that are seeing the greatest economic impact are: beef, soybeans, hides, almonds, rice, citrus fruit, and orange juice. 

Not only are the FTAs helping the agricultural industry, but the growing worldwide acceptance of genetically modified foods has helped those farmers who cultivate such GMOs. This positively affects those U.S. farmers who have also accepted GMOs and started incorporating biotech products into their crop fields. A recent study showed that 90% of U.S.-grown corn and soybeans are genetically modified, as well as 95% of sugar beets.

The future is bright for the agricultural community and now is the time to invest in this industry. Whether it’s purchasing a new agricultural asset or developing your current one, Bankers South can help! Bankers South offers a variety of farm loans and agricultural loans through our AgAmerica Lending program, tailored to fit your specific request. We offer highly competitive interest rates and are willing to work with you to provide financing for your agricultural needs.

Written by Carolina Hernandez, an analyst at Bankers South, a Land South Group company.


Ag Lending With Options: How Bankers South Tailors Loans to the Needs of the Ag Community

By Dale M. Johnson

While growing up in DeSoto County, my dad had a saying about paying back a loan, “You can always pay more if you can, but they frown on you if you want to pay less.”

I thought of that saying when I recently came on board as the senior vice president at Bankers South. Most lenders have loan programs with rigid payment schedules and lines of credit with few options. At Bankers South, we feel as though we are on the same team as the client and continually look for alternate ways to meet their financing goals.

Our AgAmerica “conventional” financing program is really second to none. Our programs are structured with the farmer and rancher in mind. Our 15-year balloon loans, with a 25-year amortization, are structured so that once the loan closes the client does not have to worry about going through the process again for another 15 years. This is compared to most lenders who want you to come back in to rework the loan every 36 to 60 months. Our 25-year amortization means your payments are spread out evenly over 25 years. Most lenders will only spread the payments out between 10 to 20 years. Our 25-year amortization means your annual debt service will be much less.

Allowing for a lower annual debt payment allows the client to make decisions that are best for the overall operation as opposed to making a decision due to an aggressive debt repayment schedule. Another major difference is the interest rates that are available. We do not have a “floor” on our variable rate products. For example, based on this week’s rate, the interest rate on our one-month LIBOR product for those who qualify is 3.2%. There is no interest rate floor so we pass the great rate on to the client. We allow the client to choose either monthly, semi-annual or annual payments depending on which schedule works better with their operation.

Our Revolving Line of Credit program can be set up for a draw that lasts five or 10 years, and we do not require you to “rest” the loan at any time during this period. Can you imagine not having to zero out the line of credit balance over the next five or 10 years?

It all starts with a phone call. A quick call to our Lakeland office will start you well on your way.  Generally, we take your basic contact information, along with the best time to call or meet with you. A loan officer will schedule the time around your schedule. We underwrite the file in-house and then meet with you to discuss the available financing options. When you are comfortable with the terms and costs of the application, the file is submitted to an underwriter for final approval. Once we have the preliminary loan approval, we obtain title and appraisal, then move towards closing and funding your loan.

Finally, and most importantly, is that I believe Bankers South treats the client with respect by reviewing the individual’s financial information in a timely manner and being accessible for questions, comments, or suggestions, even if it is after hours.

To discuss your land loan needs, contact Dale M. Johnson at DaleJ@BankersSouth.com or at our office at 855-898-BANK (2265).


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