Building relationships on the farm

  • March 22, 2022

Some partnerships are just special, like The Bank of Missouri’s partnerships with farmers. For 35 years, Regional Bank President Paul Gard has worked hand-in-hand with the agriculture community. When you see him working with farmers like Donny DeLine, you can tell their relationship is built on trust.

Missouri is one of the top cotton producing states in the country. Donny DeLine manages one of the larger cotton farms in southeast Missouri. DeLine says he and his farming partners have a crop rotation plan that consists of corn, soybean, and cotton.

“It's a balance between the price of cotton, corn, soy, and our ability to grow quality crops in the Bootheel of Missouri. When all crop prices are profitable, we stay with a rotation, but when one crop's price begins to outweigh others, like cotton, we start to put more stock where the profits are,” DeLine said. “There is a greater risk of growing cotton, so that's why they prefer to plant corn and soybeans when they can, but you go where the profits lead you. We couldn't do what we do without our partners.”

To grow a high-yielding cotton crop and get it to market, DeLine’s operation requires consistent upgrades to equipment and property.

One of the first things you learn as a farmer is how and why a good banking partner can make or break your profit from year to year.

- Donny DeLine 5th generation farmer

A 5th generation farmer, DeLine has run the farm since 1998.

“One thing I know from running this farm for the last 24 years is how important partnerships are to success,” DeLine said. “From vendors to employees to banks—they all play a vital role. The Bank of Missouri has been a great business partner for years with our farming operations. They have provided us a full line of production credit. We also have counted on The Bank of Missouri for our real estate and farmland purchases.”

Gard says while each farmer is different, they all appreciate what a community bank can provide to the growth of their business.

“We can do things that the large banks can't,” Gard said. “We’re small enough to change our thinking fast and big enough to power through the hard times.”

The Bank of Missouri has made a practice remaining agile for our customers over the years. We began in 1891 as The Bank of Perryville, the only bank in Perry County. For over 100 years, the Bank operated out of a single Perryville branch. Then in 1997, the name was changed to The Bank of Missouri and the bank expanded across four regions of the state, now holding $2.8 billion in assets.

Over the last 130 years, The Bank of Missouri has grown and thrived despite two world wars, the Great Depression, and most recently, a worldwide pandemic. As a community bank, our success is intertwined with the success of communities, and partners like Donnie DeLine.

“We're a bank made up of neighbors and friends, with a purpose to help others succeed and that's kept us strong all these years,” Gard said. “We always try to provide options, so if someone wants to speak person-to-person with their banker, they can walk into a branch. If they prefer to do business online, over the phone, or through an app, we provide top-notch service in those venues.”

For farmers, that means the bank can tailor loans that factor in seasonal changes in cash flow. It means providing repayment flexibility to allow crops and livestock sales to reach the best prices possible. But mostly, it means building relationships that stand the test of time, ensuring farmers can work from generation to generation with trusted lenders.

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