Consumers Pick Poultry as Protein of Choice

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

Beef and pork supplies are down. As the supplies dwindle, prices rise. As prices rise, consumers are now turning to chicken – a cheaper meat alternative – to get their protein fix. As a result, profits are now up for chicken processors. In fact, the soaring prices for U.S. beef burgers and pork chops might just render 2014 the most profitable year ever for chicken producers. This unanticipated demand has boosted profits for many processors, including Tyson Foods Inc., and left others, like Ozark Mountain Poultry, unable to keep up.

With grocers selling cut-up fryers at $1.40/lb, breast meat for $2.40/lb, and leg quarters at $1.00/lb, it’s no wonder shoppers are more likely to pick poultry in lieu of beef, which averages $5.40/lb, or pork, which averages $3.80/lb. Fast-food restaurants, including Yum! Brands Inc. and McDonald’s Corp., are also following the chicken over beef/pork trend, adding more chicken-inspired items to their menus.

In light of the growing beef and pork scarcity, there is a growing demand for more chicken. As a result, chicken processors are expected to produce 2% more meat in 2014 than last year. But as demand increases, don’t expect this “cheaper” alternative to remain so cheap. As always, higher demand equates to higher prices, and already, the national composite wholesale price is up 15 cents since January 1st, 2014, averaging about $1.11/lb. Though not cheap, chicken will continue to be the less-expensive protein, and hence, the protein of consumer choice.

To keep up with the growing demand, many poultry farms are expected to expand supplies, but not too rapidly – the expansion will be modest to avoid major losses. Adding hens to the breeding flock won’t occur too quickly, as farmers want to avoid losing money from overproduction. What’s more, rising feed costs limit expansion efforts.

All this considered, chicken remains one of the go-to proteins and it’s going to be a great year for the poultry industry!

AgAmerica Lending is proud to be the only ag lending company in the Southeast authorized to offer AgAmerica farm loans. AgAmerica ag loans cover all facets of farming, including poultry farming. When it’s time to add more hens, buy more feed, or make operational resets, these agriculture loans are an excellent choice! 

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AgAmerica Lending Welcomes New Hires!

We are pleased to introduce multiple new hires! Since the beginning of the year, we have  experienced rapid growth, resulting in a need for new staff.

  • Tim Rainey was brought on in January as AgAmerica’s Senior Underwriter, bringing to the team a wealth of financing knowledge.
  • Bree Scarano was hired shortly after as an Underwriter for the AgAmerica, where she enjoys making agriculture loans possible for farmers and ranchers.
  • Lakeland native Samantha Sokolski joined the team in February and is involved in the Marketing Department for its companies, including AgAmerica and Land South Realty. She is also active with her customers as a Relationship Manager for the AgAmerica Lending Division handling ag loans.
  • A.J. Porreca, a former international barefoot ski champion, has been hired full time after a successful semester-long internship, and will be working with the AgAmerica Lending Team.
  • Cecilia Yan, who had been working with AgAmerica for around 5 months as an intern in underwriting from Florida Southern College, accepted a full time position in January and has enjoyed continuing on with the team.
  • Amanda Erhard, who graduated from Florida Southern College this semester, has also accepted a full time position, joining the Land South Group accounting department.
  • Julia Hubbard, who has a long career in accounting management, joined the Land South Group team in 2013 as the Senior Fund Accountant, but has recently been promoted to Chief Financial Officer for the company, where she provides accounting expertise and oversees asset management services and investor relations functions for the funds run by Land South Group.
  • Jackie Toenes joined the AgAmerica team in early 2014 as a Credit Analyst for the Transitional Lending department, where she is responsible for loan underwriting and portfolio management.
  • Beijin Baran also came on board in April of this year as our Senior Fund Accountant where she enjoys engaging in various extensive roles within the accounting department.


We are excited to bring on such an amazing new group of talent!

AgAmerica Lending, a Land South Group Company, is an ag lending company and mortgage investor based in Central Florida. As a licensed Florida Mortgage Lender and licensed Florida Consumer Finance Company, AgAmerica accepts, underwrites, funds, and services the loans it makes. AgAmerica provides a variety of ag loan products, including conventional agricultural real estate loans and non-conventional, fixed or floating-rate bridge loans through its AgAmerica Lending and Transitional Lending programs. Need cash to expand row crop production? Time to refinance a high-interest farm or ranch loan? Call on our experts! 

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Citrus Grove Challenges

Citrus operations are facing many present-day challenges.

Some are traditional challenges including:

  • Canopy productivity management.
  • Managing crop yield for insects, drop, and weather.
  • Efficient management of grove culture.


Others are recent, non-traditional challenges including:

  • Coping with the demands of added operations, capital, and operating costs due to the HLB citrus “greening” epidemic.


Citrus greening, a devastating disease that threatens to destroy the commercial citrus industry, poses a major threat to all citrus operations. Combined with the traditional threats to the industry, including market price fluctuations, weather, and governmental regulation, many citrus operations are in a tough spot.

While solutions exist to control traditional citrus threats, including citrus canker and CTV, controlling HLB is still a work in progress. So far, solutions are scarce. For many operations, the citrus greening epidemic has been detrimental, resulting in a severe loss of production. If operations are not managed properly, a loss of production hurts their economic viability.

There are options, however, to deal with these challenges. Citrus growers may opt to:

  1. Leave the industry and repurpose and/or sell the land for other agricultural or real estate uses.
  2. Be patient and wait for HLB research to develop a cure.
  3. Develop a proactive strategic plan – a “game plan” – for survival, including:
    • Continuing a Reset/Solid Set program to maintain grove canopy production,
    • aggressive initiatives for HLB therapy to prolong grove life,
    • efficient management of “normal” grove culture, and
    • a rigorous detailed program to track results and grove performance.


If you’re going to take the third approach and implement an effective HLB defense strategy, you’re going to need capital assets to support land, equipment, infrastructure, and planting costs.

To finance a successful citrus industry operation, call on the ag lending expertise of AgAmerica Lending. When it’s time to buy/plant more citrus trees or expand your groves, our AgAmerica agriculture loans are a great choice. These special ag loans feature low interest rates, which often beat all other agricultural loan programs. Learn more about this one-of-a-kind ag loan program!

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Southern Idaho Entices Economic Development

Rural areas of southern Idaho are ripe with economic development. A new cheese R&D center has hit the scene, a huge yogurt plant is well on its way, and more! All of this growth has tallied 800 million dollars in recent and anticipated investment while also, adding 5,000 jobs.

Many firms are all ready to set up shop in the Twin Falls area including:

  • Chobani, a greek yogurt company, which notably opened the world’s largest yogurt processing plant;
  • Glanbia Foods, a cheese maker, which added an R&D center to existing facilities;
  • Frulact, a Portuguese firm that intends to open up a fruit processing center;
  • Monsanto, a wheat researching center;
  • Clif Bar & Co., a 90-million dollar plant, which produces organic energy bars.


AgAmerica’s ag loan specialists have a deep understanding of the processes involved in obtaining operational loans for financing processing plants. Whether you want to expand, upgrade, or build a new production or processing facility, we have a fitting ag loan for you.

AgAmerica Lending is proud to be the only ag lending company in the Southeast authorized to offer AgAmerica loans, which cover a wide range of agribusiness endeavors. Interest rates for these agriculture loans often beat all other agriculture loan programs.

But it is not just the low interest rates that make AgAmerica loans an attractive option. We are committed to getting to know each of our customers. Our staff includes employees whose own farming histories stretch back generations. AgAmerica also has its own experience with buying, selling, and managing agriculture land. It’s our commitment that we are not only offering an ag loan, but a relationship that will hopefully unite AgAmerica and your processing plant for many years to come.

For more information about AgAmerica’s commercial farm loans, visit

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Ranchers Expand Beef Cattle Herds in the Great Plains

According to the March 2014 Kiplinger Agriculture Letter, ranchers are moving to expand beef cattle herds in the upcoming years – a trend that’s been determined by recent annual inventories of cows and heifers. The greatest expansion will be in the Great Plains region, while regions in the Northeast will only slightly enlarge herds. Regions in the midst of drought, including Kansas and Nebraska, will not increase their herds, but will keep on a large number of brood cows. Overall, cow herds are expected to increase across the central and northern Plains and the Northeast. As for other regions in the U.S., beef cow herds are expected to remain the same (or shrink, especially in areas suffering extended drought).

Are you a Great Plains rancher seeking cash to expand your existing ranch? Enlarge your cattle herds? Make big ranch improvements or resets? Maybe even purchase your first (or another) cattle ranching property?

Banker South’s AgAmerica loans cover all facets of agriculture, so whatever your ranching goals, we have the ag loan that aligns with your agribusiness needs. Custom agriculture loans are available to finance ranch land, refinance ranch property, and more.

What’s more, interest rates for these loans often beat all other agriculture loan programs; yet, it’s not only the low interest rates that make AgAmerica ranch loans an attractive option. We’re committed to getting to know each of our customers. Our staff includes employees whose own farming histories stretch back generations. In fact, AgAmerica’s parent company, Land South, also has its own experience with buying, selling, and managing agriculture land. Thus, we understand the ins and outs of both the agricultural landscape and the ag lending industry.

It is our commitment that we are not only offering a loan, but a relationship that will hopefully tie AgAmerica Lending and your ranching operation together for many years to come!

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AgAmerica Lending Secures Ag Loan for U.S. Armed Forces Member

AgAmerica Lending was proud to help a member of our Armed Forces with financing on his property in South Carolina. This borrower had a hard time getting the rates low enough to make sense, until he called Bryce Philpot at AgAmerica.

By taking a global look at this South Carolina military member’s assets, AgAmerican was able to use the equity in this borrower’s timberland to finance a meaningful agricultural project.

Through our special AgAmerica Lending Program, we were able to get this timberland owner the cash necessary to build a much-needed barn on his South Carolina agriculture property.

AgAmerica Lending Program 

In addition to our multitude of loan products, AgAmerica Lending is proud to be the only lending institution in the Southeast authorized to offer conventional agricultural real estate loans through the AgAmerica Lending Program.

AgAmerica Lending by AgAmerica offers:

  • Up to 25-Year Amortizations
  • Very Low Interest Rates
  • Flexible Payment Plan Options
  • No Standard Prepayment Penalty
  • No Annual Requests of Updated Tax Returns/Balance Sheets
  • No Annual Renewals!


Covering all facets of farming, from watermelon farms to vast cattle ranches, these loans feature interest rates that often beat all other agriculture loan programs. Loan types range from 7-year terms to more traditional, 25-year fully-amortized loans to a revolving line of credit in order to best suit your agricultural project at hand.

Like with all of our loan programs, our AgAmerica Lending Program strives to provide a personal, responsive service to all customers. With our own extensive experience buying, selling, and managing agriculture land, and with staff that includes employees whose own farming histories stretch back generations, we understand the ins and outs of both the agriculture and lending industries. Suffice it to say, AgAmerica not only offers ag lending solutions, but supportive, professional long-standing relationships as well.

Our ag loan experts have a knack for taking a global look at borrowers’ finances to determine where money can be saved to best set up their agribusinesses for long-term success. To discuss agricultural refinancing options, contact us!

More on AgAmerica Lending...

AgAmerica Lending, a Land South Group Company, is a money lender and mortgage investor based in Central Florida. As a licensed Florida Mortgage Lender and licensed Florida Consumer Finance Company, AgAmerica accepts, underwrites, funds, and services the loans it makes. AgAmerica Lending provides a variety of loan products, including conventional agricultural real estate loans and non-conventional, fixed or floating-rate bridge loans through its AgAmerica Lending and Transitional Lending programs. Need cash to expand row crop production? Time to refinance a high-interest farm or ranch loan? Call on AgAmerica Lending.

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Tough Times Ahead for U.S. Row Crop Farmers

The last six years have been extraordinarily bountiful and profitable for U.S. row crop farmers. This upward trend in prices and profit margins, however, is expected to take a dramatic downward shift due to the waning demand from China and the ethanol industry for altered corn and soybean production.

Limited growth from ethanol, and the resulting losses on row crops, may compel some U.S. row crop farmers to revert acreage back to pasture and forage crops.

To counter an anticipated era of lower costs and profitability, row crop farmers – especially the younger farming generations and large row crop operations – are encouraged to prepare by putting cash in the bank. To manage risk, deal with the hard times ahead, and avoid bankruptcy in the upcoming 6 years, cash is recommended as the ultimate solution.

Though ethanol’s demand for corn has flat-lined, there still remains promise for U.S. corn and other commodities:

  • Corn: More corn will be added back into feed rations, causing exports to increase.
  • Soybeans: Exports are still very strong from China, Africa and the rest of the developing world.
  • Wheat: Recently, the United States has been using more wheat than it’s produced, which has greatly benefited wheat stocks.
  • Cotton: The U.S. cotton sector is anticipating a boom, as supplies are at a 29-year low.


Need cash to reset or improve your agricultural operation? Time to refinance a high-interest ag loan? To discuss your farmland financing options, call on AgAmerica’s unparalleled ag lending expertise. Our special AgAmerica farm loans offer borrowers many perks, including low interest rates, flexible payment plans, quick turnaround, no annual renewals and more! To learn more about our one of a kind agriculture loans, contact us! 

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Florida Lending Continues to Climb

Though Florida interest rates are climbing, lending institutions are not taking a hit. Borrowers are still flowing in, willing and ready.

Here’s the numerical proof: According to recent 2013 data, lending in Florida has increased by $5.8 billion, or 6.5 percent, outdoing the 2.9 percent U.S. gain. That’s a pretty substantial gain.

Florida is clearly enjoying a unique phenomenon. In fact, the state’s banking industry is surpassing the entire nation, outranking all states.

Though mortgage rates are on the rise in Florida, housing demand has not dwindled according to certain indicators, including average sales and inventory trends. Yet, home buying is not the exclusive factor accounting for Florida’s uphill lending trend.

What, then, is fueling Florida’s lending increase?

As mentioned, home buying plays a role, but a very minor one. Not many home buyers are seeking loan assistance. Data suggests that home buying is probably increasing due to a higher percentage of cash purchases due to the higher-priced markets. So, home buying is not a strong game changer in the Florida lending industry. Commercial and industrial lending, credit cards and auto loans, are the proposed game changers strongly accounting for this uphill lending trend. Real estate loan growth, however, has been consistently low.

It’s hard to say how this high-priced market environment will impact banks. On one hand, it will make borrowing more expensive for banks. Yet, banks have the power to counteract this by increasing their loan rates. Striking a balance is necessary, though difficult.

Moral of the story: Florida financial lending intuitions are doing well, amidst an environment that generally limits borrowing. How this will play out long-term is difficult to predict. Yet, so far, so good for lenders and borrowers.

Based in Central Florida, Bankers South Lending & Finance, LLC (“Bankers South”), a Land South Group Company, is a money lender and mortgage investor. Bankers South provides a variety of loan products, including conventional agricultural loans, timberland loans, and commercial farm loans, and non-conventional, fixed or floating-rate bridge loans on asset classes such as Agriculture and Timberland, Residential Development Land, and Transitional Commercial Assets. Contact us for our ag lending services, information on Florida asset-based loans, and more!  

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Hard Money Loans: 5 Facts Investors Should Know

As a hard money lender, Bankers South offers the Transitional Lending Program for non-conventional, fixed or floating-rate bridge loans on the following asset classes:

  • Agricultural Land and Timberland
  • Residential Development Land
  • Transitional Commercial Assets
    • Office
    • Apartments
    • Industrial
    • Retail
    • Hotels
    • Student Housing
    • Public Storage
    • Medical Offices
    • Existing performing and non-performing loans

It’s important to know that hard money loan lenders operate rather differently than traditional lenders. As private lenders, the terms and guidelines that hard money lenders follow are unique to that particular institution.

Here are some quick, simple facts all borrowers should know regarding hard money loans:

  1. What is a hard money loan? A hard money loan is a loan in which the investor receives financing based on the value of a property as opposed to the traditional lending conditions that banks typically assess such as credit scores, tax returns, and income statements.
  2. What are residential hard money loans? These are short-term bridge loans for investors who need to close swiftly. They are good for real estate acquisitions, refinancing, and foreclosures.
  3. What are the interest rates like as compared to traditional lending? Hard money loans usually carry higher interest rates because hard money lenders are not directly competing with traditional lending sources. However, these loans will usually keep borrowers from going into bankruptcy and foreclosure, thus saving their property.
  4. How secure is the investor? Bankers South hard money loans are secured by a property with 30% -50% equity, so the investor is well protected.
  5. Having difficulty finding traditional financing in time to save your investment property? A hard money loan may be your solution if your credit is less than perfect. Sure, the interest rates are higher, but you have the power to act fast and secure your investment property so you can flip and receive your profit.


Do you have more questions on hard money loans? Contact Bankers South Lending & Finance
for additional information regarding our Transitional Lending Program.
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AgAmerica Lending Founders Predicted Real Estate Changes

Last year, Florida Trend magazine did a great profile of AgAmerica Lending founders Brian Philpot and Rob Harper. It was fun seeing coworkers highlighted so nicely in print, but more than that, it gave them credit where credit is due for predicting trends in the market.

The article, by Amy Keller, explained how Brian and Rob bought up 350,000 acres across the Southeast, mostly of timberland. In 2004, they noticed that acreage prices had skyrocketed, and they figured the market was in a bubble.

By the time the market crashed in 2007, Brian and Rob had sold off all but 13,000 acres of the land, protecting themselves against big losses.

The crisis that followed made it difficult to acquire agriculture loans, so Brian and Rob turned their attention to ag loans. They used their own experiences in land purchases to build AAmerica Lending into a company that understands its clients.

Now, the market has turned around, and investors have returned, creating a run on ag lending and timberland loans. It has been a decade since farmland has been selling as fast as it is today, and that’s increasing the need for commercial farm loans.

For those worried about stepping back into the market for ag land, AgAmerica Lending offers personalized service for each of our customers. We’ll walk you through every aspect of a hard-money loan, farm credit, or an AgAmerica low-interest loan.

Brian and Rob instilled their company with the knowledge they gained riding the real estate wave. Now let us help you stay ahead of the curve.

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