AgAmerica’s Correspondent Lenders have had the unique opportunity to be featured in a local ag magazine: Central Florida Ag News. This article features our North Florida Correspondent Lender, Brad Smith.
Check out the article below!
Family farming. There’s just something about the phrase that brings to mind so many positive thoughts and images — tight-knit bonds; hard but honest and rewarding work; a respect and appreciation for the land; conservation born out of a love for nature; labor that feeds a community and feeds the world; and parents, grandparents, children, and grandchildren working together for the common good and then enjoying, with grateful hearts, the fruits of their labor around a holiday dinner table.
Brad Smith can relate to the lifestyle — and the imagery. He grew up in a farming family.
“I was raised in a small, rural North Florida agriculture community,” says Smith, now a correspondent lender with Lakeland, Florida-based AgAmerica Lending. “As an FFA (Future Farmers of America) member in high school, I participated in land and soil judging and raising show steers for our annual show and sale.
“My dad is involved in the watermelon business,” he says. “I was able to learn and observe all aspects of the business from growing to selling. I have a good understanding of the farming process and know that farmers invest a lot of time and money to grow and sell crops.”
Smith’s background in agriculture and his later experience in real estate sales and appraisal provide a quality level of comfort for the farmer, grower and rancher customers of AgAmerica. AgAmerica offers low-interest agricultural loans based on agricultural real estate in Florida and all across the United States.
Smith’s son, Trey, is another AgAmerica correspondent lender with a background in farming.
“He has grown watermelons and other crops,” Brad Smith says about Trey. “He has worked in watermelons since a very young age. His firsthand experience allows him to relate to our borrowers. Prospective borrowers don’t recognize him as just a correspondent lender, but as a fellow farmer.”
Brad Smith says he has a great appreciation for family farming and its role in the American economy and society.
“Family farming provides a quality lifestyle that can be handed down from one generation to the next,” he says. “Children today can learn that agriculture is the heart of our great country.”
Brad Smith started work in the real estate and appraisal business and began his career with AgAmerica in 2014.
“The experience gained in 26 years of real estate goes hand in hand with my position with AgAmerica,” he says. “I have a thorough understanding of real estate values, and I am able to help the individual achieve their business and farming goals.”
Smith says AgAmerica assists the family farmer “by offering great loan rates that save on interest.”
“This results in a larger portion of their hard-earned profits being returned to their pockets or business,” he says. “Increased profits are vital to long-term sustainability. This allows the farmer to re-invest more into growing their farming business.
“For example, our 10-year line of credit allows farmers to survive the ups and downs of farming without having to deal with the frustrating and costly process of renewing annually. With banking rules changing as fast as they are, we are able to set up the farmer for the long term and eliminate the yearly worry of their operating lines being renewed.”
The Smiths are just two among several AgAmerica representatives who know agriculture; who know the land; who know about cattle, citrus, berries, tomatoes, and melons.
“Our staff includes employees whose own family farming histories stretch back generations,” says Bryce Philpot, the head of underwriting for AgAmerica. In addition, the owner-managers of Land South Group, AgAmerica’s parent company, have their own experience with buying, selling, and managing agriculture land.
AgAmerica loans cover all facets of farming — from smaller blueberry farms to vast tomato fields, from citrus groves to cattle ranches. When it’s time to plant the next row crop, expand groves, make a transition from citrus to peaches, plant timber, or start buying more cattle, these loans are a great choice, Philpot says.
Why should row-crop growers and other farmers look to AgAmerica for agricultural loans? Philpot says the company’s 10-year, interest-only revolving line of credit is advantageous for several reasons:
• It’s an operating line that can be used for funding operations, purchases, or refinancing.
• The interest rate currently is less than 3 percent.
• There are no prepayment penalties.
• No “resting period” is required.
• There are no annual paperwork renewals.
“Once you’re approved with AgAmerica, you’re set for 10 years without the hassle of redoing paperwork every year,” Philpot says. “And, unlike other ag lenders, we can offer 25-year amortizations, which keep annual term payments low.”
The AgAmerica correspondent lenders can be reached easily by e-mail:
• Brad Smith in North Florida at firstname.lastname@example.org
• Bryce Philpot, at Land South headquarters in Lakeland, Florida, at email@example.com
AgAmerica is a wholly owned subsidiary of Land South Group (landsouthgroup.com). For more information, including details about AgAmerica Lending programs, call 1-855-898-2265 or go online to www.AgAmerica.com.