Banks bump wages, offer perks to attract workers

Longtime Iowa community banker Darlys Hulme is well aware of the challenges community banks face in attracting and keeping employees. Hulme, president of Farmers Savings Bank & Trust in Traer, noted her organization recently increased starting teller wages from $15 to $19 per hour, a change she expects will be permanent as the bank continues seeing fewer younger candidates apply. Compounding the issue, other employers are trying to hire away her top-level employees, forcing her to also bump officer salaries to retain talent. [Continue]

Commodity prices are good now but what about 2022?

Commodity prices — from corn to dairy — look favorable, but as farmers turn their attention to what next year holds, more than a few ag bankers see storm clouds ahead. Input costs are rising, and pandemic-era government programs are drawing to a close. Tight labor markets and other region challenges also complicate the outlook on 2022. [Continue]

Outlook brightens for farmers, less so for ag lenders

As they near the end of 2021, many community ag bankers say their farm clients are feeling optimistic. Commodity prices — from corn to dairy — look favorable. Low interest rates are driving the price of farmland in some areas, but expansion is an obstacle in others. Some of the sunnier projections for the coming year are partially offset by higher costs for feed, fertilizer and fuel. Farmers are hedging by locking in fertilizer prices early, and doing so with help from banks. [Continue]