Lenders’ school helps finance agriculture

By Tom Lollis

For 22 years, lenders who finance farming have been attending Clemson University’s Southeast Agricultural Lenders School so they can better understand this highly competitive international arena.

“We don’t teach bankers how to manage their banks, we teach them how to evaluate customers,” said Johnny Jordan, school director. Classes emphasize leadership, planning, credit scoring, financial statement analysis and loan analysis.
More than 600 people have been trained by the school, the only one of its kind in the Southeast and one of only a few in the nation. Participants represent commercial banks, the Farm Credit system, the Farm Services Administration, agribusiness credit managers and bank auditors.
“Since the market is global now, lenders must be aware of the consequences of agricultural production, imports and exports in countries all over the world when evaluating the feasibility of a loan to a local farmer. By educating the bankers we can indirectly impact thousands of businesses and people involved in agriculture,” Jordan said.

A graduate of the school is Andy Lowery, CEO of AgFirst, a major agricultural lender in the eastern United States and Puerto Rico. “I was in the course the first time they ever offered it,” said Lowery. “It was very beneficial to me. We appreciate what Clemson does; the school is a great place for us to send young loan officers for training.”

For information: Johnny Jordan, 864-656-2530, jjordan@clemson.edu