Where is the industry headed in 2021?

Rows of soy plants in a field

From weather disasters and a pandemic to an increased use of technology that is helping farmers control their own destinies, ag bankers in central states experienced a lot in 2020. Now they look ahead to what 2021 holds, expecting more of the same challenges and uncertainty. [Continue]

Low commodity prices continue to haunt ag

The year began with some optimism on grain prices and improved trade conditions with China, Canada, Mexico and other countries. Then COVID-19 hit in March and everything changed. Commodity prices for crops and livestock dropped rapidly; ag banking experts from across the region weigh in on the local impact. [Continue]

Weather, mental health complicate agriculture

With pressure already exerted by years of low commodity prices, trade uncertainties and pandemic complications, farmers and ranchers in the central states faced a year of difficulties in 2020. Weather varied across the region, and Iowa notably endured the effects of a derecho storm in August that caused billions in damage.  [Continue]

COVID-19 roils the ag economy

Although farmers and ranchers are resilient and used to adversity, all aspects of their lives and industries have been affected to some degree by COVID-19, whether mentally or physically. Here, regional ag banking experts way in on the impact of the pandemic and the economic downturn have had on the country’s ag industry. [Continue]

Farms yield uncertainty for ag bankers

2020 has been a year of great uncertainty and extreme swings in the ag economy. The year started out with some optimism on grain prices and improved trade conditions with China, Canada, Mexico and other countries. Then COVID-19 hit in March and everything changed. [Continue]

Agricultural roundup

Rows of soy plants in a field

In late 2019, when ag bankers reflected on the year and forecast expectations for 2020, they foresaw classic perennial challenges: bad weather and low commodity prices. What 2020 actually delivered would have been hard to predict. No one has been immune from the struggles the COVID-19 pandemic has wrought on the nation’s health or the economy, including farmers and their community banking partners. [Continue]

Workforce under stress

As the COVID-19 pandemic pushed the United States to a crisis point this spring, leaders at banks worked to figure out what was next for their businesses and their staff. Balancing the bottom line with staffing needs has required collaboration and breaking teams out of silos — from a safe distance — while also relying on HR staff’s already established relationships inside the bank. [Continue]

Pandemic impacts bank internships

While banks kept work flowing in early spring through social distancing measures and remote workforces, they had to make quick decisions about another key program without knowing when the COVID-19 crisis would end or how bad it would get. Should they bring on board their interns? Or did the ever-changing nature of the crisis make that idea too complicated and risky? [Continue]

Grants help bankers improve workforce housing in their regions

In Duluth, Minn., 20 distressed houses scattered about town will soon get a Cinderella-style roof-to-foundation renovation needed to make them livable. Once they’re ready for their close-ups, these fresh-faced gems will be sold for below market-value prices, but not to just anyone. Their buyers will be owner-occupants with an average income of 60 percent of the median for the area. [Continue]

Nebraska banker’s ‘worst day’ recounted

Nebraska banker Greg Hohl was at an out-of-state meeting when he received a text message from his sister that there just might be a fire at their family-owned Wahoo State Bank. Cindy Hohl, executive vice president of the $92 million bank, had been sitting at her desk when someone reported smelling smoke. [Continue]