FORT WORTH, Texas (May 14, 2024)Today, Ag Resource Management’s (ARM) Chief Executive Officer joins U.S. agricultural credit leaders, policymakers and regulators at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s National Economic Summit in Omaha, Nebraska.

“It’s been a difficult year for farmers due to recent decreases in net farm income caused by high input and land costs and relatively low commodity prices,” said Mason. “I am looking forward to exchanging ideas with other stakeholders in the farm economy about the economic outlook and tools available to support farmers.”

ARM offers farmers an alternative source of financing for annual operating loans that includes features such as a tailored farm budget and loan commitment based on crop value rather than equity in real estate and other assets.

“ARM can help farmers that may not fit traditional credit risk profiles,” said Mason.

ARM services borrowers through 23 storefronts in 18 states, representing approximately two million acres of annual crop production.

Learn about the benefits of alternative agricultural financing for farmers and traditional lenders

Fort Worth, Texas (October 13, 2023) – Ag Resource Management (ARM) Chief Executive Officer Rip Mason returned to the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s National Agricultural Credit Conference today to comment on the benefits of alternative agricultural finance for farmers and traditional lenders.

Held this week in Atlanta, the National Agricultural Credit Conference occurs twice each year and brings together U.S. agricultural credit leaders, policymakers, and regulators to discuss recent developments related to agricultural credit and finance.

“ARM plays an important, unique role in the agricultural finance market by working with banks to serve borrowers who may not qualify for traditional financing,” said Mason. “Our model provides farmers with operating loans based on a farm budgetand crop collateral rather than equity in real estate and other assets. ARM can bridge the gap between bank offerings and farmers’ needs, and benefit both parties.”

While 2022 was a record year for net farm income in the United States, farmers have dealt with higher interest rates, inflationary pressures, and now lower grain prices in 2023. The 2024 crop season is in its early stages, and already there are concerns regarding production lending trends on the horizon.

“We are seeing a tightening credit market, more embedded debt in lines of credit, lower farm profit margins and in some cases downgrading of borrower credit ratings,” said Mason.

These can all translate into fewer options for farmers and lenders.

“We want to be sure that traditional lenders know that ARM can collaborate with them to help their borrowers and support the banks’ ongoing relationships with those borrowers,” said Mason.

ARM services borrowers through storefronts in 18 states, representing approximately two million acres of annual row crop production.

Ginny Gilbert, ARM Senior Loan Officer, voted “Best Farm Loan Officer”, and ARM’s Jonesboro office earns silver in “Best Ag Lender” category.

 

JONESBORO, Ark. (May 11, 2023) – Today, Ag Resource Management (ARM) earned two awards in the 2023 “Best of Northeast Arkansas” competition for their work serving Northeastern Arkansas farmers’ finance needs.   The competition was hosted by Jonesboro Radio Group. Winners were selected by a public vote.

Ginny Gilbert, ARM Senior Loan Officer and Crop Insurance Agent, was recognized as the “Best Farm Loan Officer” in Northeast Arkansas. ARM’s Jonesboro office received silver honors in the “Best Ag Lender” category.

Agriculture is a crucial industry for Arkansas. In 2021, agriculture added almost $5.2 billion to the state’s economy, and its share of the state’s GDP was 2.7 times above the national average, according to research from the University of Arkansas.

ARM is a unique lender in the agricultural finance world, as ARM primarily uses the upcoming crop as collateral on operating loans. ARM leverages its experience in the agriculture industry and its proprietary technology to underwrite and fund most loans in a matter of days, instead of weeks.

“We can customize a loan to fit many borrowers’ operating needs, including farmers who rent rather than own their land, beginning farmers, and large operators who need higher lines of credit,” Gilbert said.

“Helping farmers is the reason ARM exists. We’ve been able to help third and fourth generation farming operations stay in business,” said Tom Davey, Area Manager for ARM’s Jonesboro office.

As for Gilbert, “her recognition as the top ag loan officer in the region is well-deserved,” Davey said. “She worked her way up in the company over the last eight years through hard work and understanding Northeast Arkansas farmers’ needs. She plays a huge role in the success of the company and this market.”

ARM Pioneers Alternative Lending Aimed at Serving Farmers

By Mark Branch, Co-Founder and President of Ag Resource Management

The term “alternative lending” has gained in popularity since the financial crisis of 2008.  The alternative lending space in agriculture refers to the various non-traditional financing options available to farmers and agribusinesses.  This can include peer-to-peer lending platforms, crowdfunding, and other forms of alternative lending that are not provided by banks.  These alternative lending options can provide farmers with access to capital that they may not be able to obtain through traditional banks and can help support the growth and development of the agricultural sector.

It is no coincidence that Ag Resource Management (“ARM”), an alternative lender, was founded in the aftermath of that crisis in the Louisiana Delta on the idea that farmers’ capital needs were underserved.  Post- financial crisis, those challenges would continue to increase due to added regulations on the traditional banking system.

Farmers in the Louisiana Delta region deal with their own unique set of challenges.  In order of importance, those are weather, weather and weather.  Crop insurance, which is backed by the US government, helps to protect farmers’ from failing due to do due to weather and other events covered by the MPCI program. Crop insurance is the backbone of ARM’s unique form of alternative lending.

Prior to ARM, most farmers could only borrow what they needed by pledging everything they owned.

ARM changed that and gave farmers access to the capital needed to produce a successful crop.  Farmers being underserved were generally in certain categories:

  • Beginning farmers,
  • Generational transitions,
  • Large or leveraged operations and
  • Lender transitions away from agriculture.

ARM was the original agriculture alternative lender.

  • First to build proprietary software.
  • First to develop a national footprint and platform with 25 offices serving 18 states.
  • First to develop a diverse capital structure that was not reliant on a single source provider.

Farmers evolve, the successful farmers tend to grow larger. Today, modern farms require more capital than they did just a few years ago.  Recent challenges in the banking industry highlight the need for a farmer to have access to diversified lines of credit.

Having total dependance on one lender can create risk in a time of challenge.

If we view Silicon Valley Bank as a test case, what’s considered highly valued today can be highly devalued tomorrow.  Can that happen to your equipment and farmland – yes it can.  Not being dependent on one lender is a significant advantage in times of crisis.

Alternative lenders may answer the farmers’ need for diversification.  Like ARM, many other alternative ag lenders have an asset that they specialize in, such as land, equipment, livestock or as with ARM, crop production.

By securing only the crop as collateral for the crop loan, the production facility more closely matches the crop’s output.  This allows for better budgeting prior to planting with less chance of carry-over debt once the crop is sold.

The farmer doesn’t risk losing equity in land or equipment because they normally are not pledged as additional collateral for a production loan shortfall.   This sets ARM apart from all other production lenders.  Our proprietary software allows us to precisely measure crop collateral, including crop, crop insurance and FSA payment, and to underwrite loans quickly.

As this is being written, it seems we are post-peak in the commodity cycle. During times of low commodity prices or short crops, it is beneficial for the farmer not to incumber his land to secure a production loan.  We encourage farmers to consider the value of this concept – if the alternative ties up your most valuable asset, consider ARM’s approach to providing crop loan finance.

 

Mark Branch, Co-Founder and President of Ag Resource Management, has more than 20 years of experience helping farmers with financing for their operations.

In an interview with AgDay reporter Michelle Rook, Ag Resource Management (ARM) CEO Rip Mason explains that the failures of SVB and Signature Bank combined with continued interest rate increases are impacting ag credit markets.

Farmers should secure operating lines this planting season now if they haven’t already, says Mason. In addition to rising interest rates, credit standards will tighten, and there may be less credit extended by traditional lenders to support operations.

ARM is an alternative lender and remains ready to serve farmers with operating lines that rely on the crop, crop insurance and government payments as collateral rather than real estate assets.

 

 

FORT WORTH, Texas (Mar. 28, 2023) Today Ag Resource Management (ARM) Chief Executive Officer Rip Mason addressed the critical role of alternative finance in remarks to U.S. agricultural credit leaders, policymakers and regulators at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s National Agricultural Credit Conference in Washington, D.C.

“Alternative lending options became even more important in the agricultural credit sector this month with the turmoil in the banking industry,” said Mason. “ARM fills a unique niche in the agricultural finance market as we work with banks to bridge the gap between bank offerings and farmers’ needs. With planting well underway in most geographies, the importance of securing a crop loan quickly is paramount to farm operations and ultimately to our food supply.”

“ARM is a first mover and market leader in non-bank finance,” added Mason. “ARM is funded by a broad network of institutional investors and has not been affected by the recent volatility following the failures of SVB and Signature Bank.”

He explained that ARM’s unique lending approach enables it to provide farmers with operating loans that are based on a farm budget and crop collateral rather than equity in real estate and other assets.

“ARM can service farmers who may not fit traditional credit risk profiles, such as the many farmers who rent rather than own land and beginning farmers who may not have sufficient collateral to satisfy the loan-to-value requirements traditional lenders require,” Mason said.

ARM services borrowers through 25 storefronts in 18 states, representing approximately two million acres of annual row crop production.

FORT WORTH, Texas (Jan. 26, 2023) — Ag Resource Management (ARM), one of the nation’s top providers of agricultural lending and crop insurance services, today announced the appointments of Kim M. Sharan and David D. Matter to its Board of Managers.

“The strategic planning and operations experience Kim Sharan and Dave Matter bring ARM will further position ARM for transformative growth,” said Jesse Watson, Founder and CIO of Virgo Investment Group, a private investment firm and majority owner of ARM. “Kim and Dave will work with ARM’s management team to assist with value creation efforts. They are the ideal partners to help guide and scale the company to achieve the maximum potential we see ahead.”

“We are pleased to welcome Kim Sharan and Dave Matter to the ARM Board,” said Rip Mason, Chief Executive Officer and Vice Chairman of ARM. “Kim’s deep experience in implementing the growth strategy of financial services companies and Dave’s impressive history of investment management and experience in capital markets will be invaluable to ARM as we grow our business and pursue our mission to serve American farmers.”

Ms. Sharan has a background of more than 30 years of experience in the financial services industry, including holding leadership positions at Ameriprise Financial, Merrill Lynch and Citibank. Most recently at Ameriprise Financial, Ms. Sharan was the President, Financial Planning & Wealth Strategies & CMO and was a member of the executive leadership team that took the company public following their spin-off from American Express in 2005. She and her team built the Ameriprise brand from the ground up, created a “customer obsessed” culture and achieved the highest net promoter scores in the industry. Today, Ms. Sharan is an Independent Director with Fortune 100 board experience serving on the Board of Trustees for TIAA, a leading non-profit provider of retirement services with $1.4T in assets under management, and on the Board of Directors for TIAA Bank, a wholly owned subsidiary of TIAA.

Mr. Matter, CFA, is a leader in investment management and financial services with more than 27 years of experience. He was most recently a Managing Director at BlackRock where he served as the Co-Chief Investment Officer of BlackRock Alternative Advisors (BAA), BlackRock’s Hedge Fund Solutions team. He chaired the BAA Investment Committee and was also a member of the BAA Management Committee and the Co-Investment Portfolio Management Group. Mr. Matter started his career as a financial analyst with American Funds-Capital Group and Bankers Trust before joining Quellos Group in 1998. At Quellos he was a Principal and member of the Investment Committee responsible for management of Absolute Return Strategy portfolios and Investment Research. The alternative investment management business of Quellos was subsequently acquired by BlackRock in 2007.

AG LENDER FOCUSES ON CLIENT EXPERIENCE, OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE, AND ACCELERATED GROWTH WITH APPOINTMENT OF VETERAN PRIVATE EQUITY CHIEF EXECUTIVE

 

FORT WORTH, Texas (Dec. 6, 2022) — Ag Resource Management (ARM), one of the nation’s top providers of agricultural lending and crop insurance, today announced the appointment of Rip Mason as Chief Executive Officer effective immediately.

A veteran leader of successful private equity ventures in a variety of industries, Mason has served on ARM’s Board since August 2019, and was recently named Vice Chairman, a position that he will maintain. Mason is part of the Operating Partner Network for Virgo Investment Group, a private investment firm and majority owner of ARM.

“I’ve worked with Rip for over two decades and seen first-hand how he can optimize companies to reach their potential,” said Jesse Watson, Virgo Founder and CIO and Chairman of ARM’s Board. “Rip’s impressive multifaceted corporate experience is just what’s needed as ARM accelerates its reach to serve more farmers with innovative financial solutions.”

Mason has deep operational experience and an exceptional track record leading high-growth private equity-backed companies. Examples include his roles as CEO and later Chairman of LegalShield and before that, CEO and Vice Chairman of Jafra Cosmetics. He graduated with a JD from Rutgers University School of Law and earned his undergraduate degree from Middlebury College.

Mason succeeds John Hoffman, who joined ARM as CEO in January of 2020. Hoffman led the company to consistent double-digit growth in loan production and oversaw expansion of the company’s service offering.

“ARM is positioned for incredible success, and I am thrilled to lead the company through this next exciting chapter. We are expanding our customer base, our offering and our innovation in both fin tech and ag tech,” Mason said. “Stay tuned as we pioneer the future of ag finance.”

Farmers can access operating loans without leveraging real estate and equipment

FORT WORTH, Texas (Oct. 4, 2022) — Ag Resource Management (ARM) has expanded its customized financial solutions to meet the specific needs of more farming operations. Now, more growers may access operating lines at competitive rates without encumbering real estate and equipment equity.

Inflation, high input costs, crop price volatility and higher interest rates can all lead to increased risk and inhibit operations from growing and thriving. However, ARM’s unique financing structure and personalized approach can enable farmers to advance their operations despite the volatile agricultural market.

“ARM has been working with farmers in the crop production lending space for 14 years. We help farmers structure financial solutions that suit their unique situations,” says Mark Branch, co-founder and president of ARM. “These can include a farmer just starting out, growing or streamlining an operation or navigating short-term challenges. We are forward-looking and base our decisions on production capacity and capability rather than hard equity. ARM finances agriculture, differently.”

The ARM difference is twofold:

1. ARM loans utilize the intended crop, crop insurance and government payments as collateral, giving farmers the option to manage risk more effectively and to leverage their equity in land and equipment elsewhere.
2. A farmer’s approval for a loan does not rely on equity in real estate and equipment. Instead, ARM looks at the potential value of the crop.

Once an application is completed, ARM’s efficient process allows for most loan decisions to be made in days instead of weeks. As a result, farmers have fast access to the capital they need to achieve their goals.

“ARM is dedicated to preserving the American farmer’s way of life,” says John Hoffman, CEO of ARM. “Not only do we provide loans to farmers, but we also help them navigate challenges in the market in order to effectively manage risk and hold onto the wealth they have worked so hard for.”

ARM’s loan officers are dedicated partners with deep ag finance expertise. ARM is equipped to help farmers meet financial obligations and build equity utilizing valuable analytics and ARM-specific tools to help keep operations performing and profitable. ARM’s proprietary Synthesis platform and customer portal help farmers make sound financial decisions while enabling efficient, effective financial management.

Learn more about how ARM is helping farmers achieve their production and profitability goals by visiting armlend.com.

Fort Worth, TX – March 21, 2022

Input costs are expected to be variable in 2022, and that’s putting it lightly. Some inputs like fertilizer have risen 60% to more than 100% from year-ago levels and are expected to remain high for the next 18-24 months. While seed and chemical costs appear steady to slightly higher.

“When considering a farmer’s operating line, the variability, or perhaps volatility, in cost is the biggest concern we’re seeing,” said Elizabeth Long, Area Manager at Ag Resource Management (ARM). “An operating line renewal is beneficial because ARM can close these lines and make funds available to farmers today, especially with an all-in program. So, I can close an operating line today, and our customer can write a check tomorrow to their input supplier.”

The typical ARM process to complete an operating renewal is three business days from start-to-finish, so the customer has access to their cash much quicker than they would from a traditional lender who must go to a board for approval.  Thus, it’s easier to work with ARM to get cash in-hand quicker and take delivery on fertilizer and chemicals in a timelier manner.

ARM recommends farmers process their annual operating line renewal anytime from December through March because an earlier operating line renewal also offers buying power. The opportunity to purchase inputs early and get them stored or ready to apply is especially critical this year.  Traditional lenders may require details like gross farm income from a tax return which likely won’t be available until mid-March. ARM works differently, making their decisions more heavily weighted on level of crop insurance coverage.

“We are all bracing for interest rates to go up, and we are already seeing traditional lenders raise their real estate interest rates by 75 basis points,” Long explained. “ARM’s interest rate is fixed for the duration of the operating line. The interest rate movement that’s going to happen with traditional banks and with the farm credit system will not affect our customers because the rate is fixed for the year. This is an important point to consider as it’s clear that rates will go up in 2022.”

ARM offers premium hands-on service, and its team is invested in its customer’s business. Traditional lenders renew operating lines, and then you won’t see or hear from them until the following year.

“If something’s happening in your operation, there should be two people you call — the first person should be your crop insurance agent and the second is me,” Long said. “Let me know what’s going on, because there are things that we can do on your operating line to fix or save your operation if it gets to that point. For example, if there’s a hail storm that hits your corn crop, and it’s laying flat in the field in August, that’s a big problem, but we’ll talk and work through it together to find solutions to keep you farming.”

Get started with your nearest ARM team today by calling 855-905-0291 or visiting armlend.com/locations.