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Lenders help family farms navigate uncertainty as demand increases for locally produced food

December 29, 2017

By Ivan Dochovski - Commercial Banking Officer, Peoples Bank | Puget Sound Business Journal
Ivan Dochovski - Commercial Loan Officer
Ivan Dochovski - Commercial Banking Officer

In the first episode of the popular television show “Portlandia,” the show’s stars Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein portray a couple at a restaurant obsessed with one question about the chicken on the menu: Is it local?

While they take their obsession to extremes — even visiting the farm where the chicken was raised before deciding on their order — the episode is rooted in reality. Here are a few recent trends to consider.

According to the USDA, there has been a 350 percent increase in farmers markets in the past 20 years, driven by a strong demand for locally produced products.

A younger generation of farmers is driving innovation in the ag industry. For only the second time since 1900, the number of farmers under 35 is increasing, and 69 percent have college degrees, according to the USDA’s latest Census of Agriculture.

A recent study by Edelman Digital showed that 40 percent of millennials would prefer to shop local food, even if it costs more.

This is all good news for local farmers, who are becoming more attractive to lenders. As I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with many small and mid-sized farms in our region, a few thoughts come to mind when it comes to establishing a relationship with a banker. Read more...