A CASUAL DRIVE almost anywhere in Central Florida provides ample evidence of an agricultural boom, particularly in the realm of row crops, the kind providing consumers with fresh produce and berries. It’s not at all unusual to discover that land seen vacant a year ago is now rich with plants bearing tasty blueberries or vegetables.
For many reasons, including population shifts, good year-round weather, and a more favorable business climate, the demand for Florida agricultural land is strong. People tied to farming for years in Florida are looking to grow additional or different products, more Floridians are getting into agriculture to make a living, and farmers from other parts of the country are looking to move their operations here.
When growers, farmers and ranchers reach out to service and product suppliers to help them achieve their business goals and dreams, they look for people who know the industry — people who know agriculture; people who know the land; people who know citrus, tomatoes, and melons. When it comes to financing, they’ll find that kind of understanding and expertise with the providers at AgAmerica Lending.
The AgAmerica program, by Lakeland, Florida-based Land South Lending, offers low-interest agricultural loans based on agricultural real estate in Florida and all across the United States.
“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.
Historically the heart of the Florida citrus industry, Central Florida is now home to a much more broad agricultural community, and row crops are a larger part of the farming mix.
“Many of our borrowers are diversifying their crop plantings, growing peanuts, cotton, and corn,” Philpot says. “For farmers, investing in a variety of crops helps future-proof their operations.”
“Growing up in the watermelon industry, I’ve been involved in farming 2,000 acres of row crops per year, including corn, peanuts, and watermelons,” says Trey Smith of AgAmerica. “Now, as a correspondent lender with AgAmerica, I’m proud to offer a 10-year, interest-only revolving line of credit, which is especially relevant for watermelon growers, whose harvests and profits fluctuate significantly year to year.”
“In this industry, both boom and bust years are to be expected. AgAmerica’s 10-year line of credit allows farmers to manage these market swings without disrupting their harvest,” Philpot adds.
In Florida, agriculture has an economic impact worth $70 billion each year, and the row crop slice of that total is about $5.5 billion annually. According to figures compiled by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, cash receipts for Florida tomatoes alone came to $564.7 million in 2011. For the same year, the figures were $366.3 million for winter strawberries and $247.7 million for green peppers, and $131.3 million for snap beans — just to name a few row crops.
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 level 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.”
As a fourth-generation farmer and rancher, AgAmerica correspondent lender Philip Grigsby not only understands the needs of his customers, he shares them.
“The only constant in modern agriculture is extreme volatility,” Grigsby says. “We help offset an operator’s financing risk with competitive interest rates and 25-year amortizations, which create flexibility in the market climate in which we operate today.”
The AgAmerica correspondent lenders can be reached easily by e-mail:
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.
This article is a paid advertisement sponsored by AgAmerica Lending.