From the Chairman

Staying True to Rural America

By: Brian Gilbert, Senior Vice President, The First National Bank in Sioux Falls

Many community banks have been serving farmers for more than a century because they understand the essential role the agricultural community serves in supporting our nation’s food supply and bolstering our economy. 

The food and agricultural sector are responsible for twenty percent of the country’s economic activity. This activity contributes nearly $7 trillion of U.S. economic output and accounts for more than 40 million jobs, or 13% of all U.S. employment. 

That’s why the support community banks offer America’s farmers and ranchers is so important. 

Accounting for more than 60 percent of small-business loans under $1 million and 80 percent of agricultural loans from the banking sector, community banks are often the catalysts for new and expanded business opportunities within their communities to ensure their long-term economic viability and vitality. In fact, community banks provide approximately $184 billion in agriculture loans. 

The largest financial institutions themselves have reported that community banks are more than tripling the deposit growth of their larger competitors in rural communities. Continuing our supportive efforts is crucial for the success of South Dakota’s farmers and ranchers, especially as economic and marketplace volatility remain.  

I am proud to be a community banker and humbled to work in an industry that truly has their customers’ best interest in mind. Our work is not always easy, but the relationships we form make it well worth it. In the good times when the bounty is plentiful and in the lean years where access to credit offers support to press forward, we are there for our customers. 

Farm Food Facts 

  1. The typical American farmer feeds nearly 144 people worldwide.  
  2. Food costs account for only 12.6 percent of American households’ disposable income, leaving approximately 90 percent of their income for other consumer purchases and expenses.
  3. Less than one dime of every dollar spent on food goes to farmers for producing food; the remainder goes towards processing, packaging, advertising, transportation and other wholesale and retail activities.