Citrus Greening Spreads Far and Wide in Florida

Dangerous citrus canker infections (also referred to as “citrus greening”) continue to impact Florida’s citrus crop. The infection, previously restricted to Florida regions, has now begun spreading and was recently discovered by farmers in New Orleans, LA. Florida’s famed orange is at most risk, though all citrus crops are threatened.

Though extensive research is being conducted to eradicate citrus greening, there presently exists no cure for the infection. As such, many farmers fear a marked decrease in citrus production this year.

In the past, many citrus growers have relied on government backed loans – USDA loans or FSA loans – to counter citrus greening damage. In the aftermath of the government shutdown, however, many citrus farmers were/have been unable to lock onto federally funded ag loans. In many instances, citrus farmers that desperately need an ag loan or subsidy, cannot receive them.

So, what’s the solution?

One solution is taking more of a non-conventional approach. Instead of relying and waiting on the government, and rather than turning to traditional lenders (i.e. banks) that have little knowledge when it comes to the agricultural industry, perhaps it makes more sense to consult a company specializing in agricultural lending.

Bankers South has the suitable qualifications necessary to work with you to obtain the citrus loan finance you require. As an ag lending company, we can assure you that whomever you deal with will have an in-depth understanding of your business needs and concerns. In fact, our staff includes employees whose own farming histories stretch back generations. Plus, we have our own experience with buying, selling, and managing agriculture land.

Through our AgAmerica Lending Program, we offer farms loans that cover all facets of farming, from smaller ag operations to vast citrus farms. When it’s time to plant your next row crop or expand your citrus groves, these loans are a great solution.

Cotton Crop Delays and Drops

It’s not a good time for cotton growers and the crop.

Uncooperative conditions marked by heavy rainfall and cold spells caused planting delays and stunted growth in many Georgia and US cotton fields. Though the crop has struggled to get going and growing, the outcome doesn’t appear hopeless. Yes, the crop is behind. It won’t be until mid- to late-November before the majority of cotton will be harvested, while usually the majority has been harvested by early to mid-November. Yet, the yield projections are decent, producing 700 to 900 pounds per acre on some fields and 1,200 to 1,300 pounds on others.

But the delays aren’t the only bad news on the cotton crop…

Cotton prices are way down. There are many reasons for this price drop, including heavy speculative long liquidation, a record crop yield in India, weak US export sales, poor US crop conditions and the harvest running behind, and the US government shutdown (which may have caused some traders to become nervous as many cotton growers lost USDA loans and FSA loans).

It’s a bad economic and environmental climate for cotton. Yet, despite the tough weather conditions this year, the grades are coming in well above average. As for the value of cotton, it is thought that some recovery is on the horizon. Time will tell what’s in store for this struggling crop.

Was your government backed farm loan suspended in the wake of the government shutdown? If you’re a cotton grower, you may have to turn to a private ag lending company such as Bankers South. Extra funds are often needed when the harvest begins. Contact Bankers South regarding our AgAmerica Lending Program. These farm loans cover all facets of farming, from smaller hobby farms to vast agricultural operations. When it’s time to plant your next row crop, expand your cotton fields, or refinance, these ag loans are a great option.

Financing Agricultural Land 101

Financing agricultural land is by no means an easy feat. There’s a great deal of planning and weighing of options that goes on.

That being said, the general process goes something like this:

  1. Budget. Creating a budget for your land purchase is absolutely necessary. Do some ballpark budgeting and play with mortgage calculations to get an idea of your payment schedule.
  2. Discover Your Farmland Financing Options. There are many different paths to financing farmland:
    • You could consider a farm loan from the USDA. The USDA’s FSA loans can be used to finance farmland, livestock, equipment, feed, seed, and supplies. Also, these farm loans can be used to construct buildings or make farm enhancements. The downside? These loans usually have long waiting periods combined with laborious paperwork that can really exhaust and delay the process of getting your agricultural operation up and running. Sometimes a government-backed loan just isn’t going to cut it. If you’re not able to acquire a government-backed loan – USDA loans or FSA loans – or if these ag loan programs are not a good fit, you fortunately have other options.
    • Another option is to consult a bank (perhaps your existing bank or a smaller, local bank near the property you are considering purchasing); however, this route is also a lengthy, paper-heavy process and can take months when you are dealing with those without an agricultural background. You need a lender that works primarily with farmers and ranchers and understands the cash-flow requirements an ag operation requires.
    • The last approach involves financing your land through a company that specializes in financing agricultural land, such as Bankers South. At Bankers South, we offer ag loans through our AgAmerica Lending Program; without the hassle of the USDA, but with the hometown feel of a local bank. In addition, we offer short term “bridge” loans to hold over farmers until they can secure long-term conventional financing again through the Transitional Lending Program.


To determine what approach works best for you when it comes to purchasing your land, it may be helpful to consult an accountant and/or financing advisor.

To discuss your ag loan needs and options, don’t hesitate to contact Bankers South for more information. 

Good News for Young/Beginning Farmers

Oftentimes, farm loans are difficult to access for young or beginning farmers. Many agricultural loan programs have proven effective in financing farmland – FSA (Farm Service Agency) loans for example – yet now there is an additional, promising solution.

With the Senate passage of the Farm Bill, also came the potential for a new amendment – the Casey-Harkin-Johanns Microloan Authorization Amendmentthat offers young and beginning farmers up to $35,000 to get their agricultural operation up and running. This amendment has the power to allow young and beginning farmers to get the ball rolling and offers a plan to effectively realize their number one biggest concern: financial capital to start and sustain their farm businesses.

The Casey-Harkin-Johanns Microloan Authorization Amendment offers new and beginning farmers promising potential including:

  • Less heavy paperwork
  • An extended payment period
  • Low-interest farm operating loans for military veterans
  • A quicker turnaround in profit (fingers crossed!)

To be eligible for such government backed farm loan programs you must classify as a beginner or new farmer. To qualify you must:

  • Have not operated a farm or ranch for more than 10 years
  • Not own a farm or ranch greater than 30 percent of the median size farm in the county as described by the most recent Census for Agriculture
  • Meet the farm loan eligibility requirements of the program to which you are applying
  • Heavily participate in the farming operation

The number and types of farmland financing programs vary for new and beginning farmers. It’s good to be aware of your options so you’re able to get the farm loan that’s best for you and your farming operation. Sometimes, however, a government backed loan isn’t going to cut it. If you’re not able to acquire a government backed loan – USDA loans or FSA loans – or if these ag loan programs are not a good fit, contact us to determine a better solution. A part of our focus and concentration is getting beginning farms, ranches, and young producers the agricultural loans they need to get started with their business.