January 13, 2023
Two Farm Credit organizations on the West Coast merged Jan. 1, creating a new association that serves more than 22,000 customers throughout seven states.
Stockholders of both Northwest Farm Credit and Farm Credit West overwhelmingly approved of joining forces to become AgWest Farm Credit, which will serve producers, agribusinesses, and related industries in Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, and Washington.
Mark Littlefield, the new organization’s CEO, said the merger “allows us to bring the best of each association together” to form a more effective cooperative.
“One of the big challenges that most organizations are confronted with today is the cost of providing service,” Littlefield told Farm Press. “We now have an ability to further leverage the staff that both of us have. We now have 1,250 staff members who will be able to more aggressively focus on customers’ needs. From the standpoint of a commitment to service to the customer, it will further enhance our ability to provide service to them.”
Littlefield said a larger capital base will enable the lender to meet more of individuals’ needs “without having to look to partners to buy parts of the credit, so it really streamlines the process for us.”
With the merger, the two organizations combined to become a $30 billion financial cooperative that provides financing and related services to farmers, ranchers, agribusinesses and others. The company is based in Spokane, Wash., and serves customers at 59 offices throughout the West.
The Northwest and Farm Credit West boards combined to form AgWest’s board, which includes 22 customers from different parts of the region and two appointed non-customer experts. Branch offices won’t be affected by the merger, AgWest notes.
AgWest is one of about 65 Farm Credit associations nationwide. The government-sponsored, 106-year-old Farm Credit System is the leading provider of credit to U.S. agricu
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