Building a healthy relationship with your banker is advantageous

Like any relationship, the one with your banker is built through clear, open communication. In this particular case, building that healthy working relationship might require a little more effort on your part. However, your dedication to nurturing the relationship and paying attention to what's important to your banker could pay huge dividends in the end.

It's important to not only communicate clearly with the bank, but to do so in the financial language your banker understands. That takes preparation, dedication, and a proactive attitude. It means delving into your operation's finances prior to your banker meeting, so that you are able to bring more to the table than simply your balance sheet. It's a lot of numbers to go through, but it's a great display of professionalism that will build your bankers confidence in you as a professional farmer.

Ag Finance Specialist Ryan Huffstutler shares the story of a farmer who followed this very advice. With the help of a financial advisor he learned how to be comfortable in the banker's world, speaking his language. The results he found in the end were well worth the effort, as the banker was able to truly understand the farm's operating costs, breakevens, marketing and insurance strategies, and everything relevant to why that farm required an increased operating note that year.