Fannin Ag

Client Testimonial - Fannin Agriculture

Financing the Next Generation of Farmers

If you ask WJ Fannin III what it takes to be a good cattle farmer, he’d say it takes meticulous record-keeping and a willingness to listen.

Though WJ comes from a line of cattle farmers, he spent time in the Army and the concrete business before returning to farming in 2012. With nothing but a few hundred acres of family land to get started, WJ had his work cut out for him.

“Technology and methods had really changed things from when my dad was farming. I talked a lot with people who had been doing it for a long time. I did tons of research and went to a bunch of seminars. I was hungry for information,” he said. “And my records are more detailed than most. Probably more information than the bank would need.”

Financing heavy equipment is a key part of any farming operation. However, as a young guy just getting started, WJ knew a bank would see him as a risk. His mother, a banker, pointed him to a banker with deep experience in agriculture: LCNB’s Buck Minyo.

“Buck is a banker who knows what he’s doing, and cares about it,” WJ said. “Not a month goes by without us talking. If I need something done, he’s right on it.”

Buck and WJ put their heads together and designed a plan that enabled WJ to start farming corn and beans on 400 acres. Over time, WJ acquired more equipment and started making his way back to the cattle trade. Through USDA grants, he constructed a sizable mono slope cattle barn that could hold up to 500 head of cattle. Today, Fannin Ag encompasses 2,200 acres, thanks to tight collaboration and smart growth.

“WJ is what I call a ‘pessimistic optimist,’” Buck said. “He’s not afraid to try new things, but he listens to other people when going about things.”

WJ said he sees the value of old-school principles, even if technology has enabled them to be followed in new ways. He credited his military and life experience for his careful intention around planning.

Having a banker who speaks the language of agriculture has been key to success, WJ said. After all, mother nature can be difficult to predict and quantify. Farmers need financial partners who understand the trade, what makes a piece of soil productive or unproductive, for example.

“After dealing with someone who knows agriculture forward and backward, it would be hard to go with someone else,” WJ said. “When your banker gets it, they can get you what you need when you need it, and they can keep you out of trouble.”

Click here to learn more about WJ Fannin.

*Loan, experience, business outcomes and results will vary by borrower within in all industries.

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