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Inside INB

Fairfield Ag Lenders

Inbag Lenders Main

Once you get off the highways in the Palouse, the roads here move around the land, not through it. The path to INB's location in Fairfield, Wash is a winding, rolling trip with gorgeous views of fields and very few straight-ahead views of where you're headed. 

You follow a two-lane road to the top of a hill, praying that it continues on the other side, and as you crest the peak you get only a momentary glimpse as it disappears around another corner. The left turn you were meant to take appears as if from nowhere, carved so deeply into a crease between the hills that it only presents itself at the last moment. 

Farming the land itself often feels like a similar journey, and to understand the journey of a farm family trying to grow a business over the course of generations, you have to know the sons and daughters, grandpas and grandkids that are working these rolling hills. That’s why, when INB decided to wade into the grain of Agricultural Lending, we knew we needed a partner like the 107-year-old Bank of Fairfield. 

"There's a lot of counseling in this job. We are here to help our customers navigate the unpredictability of farming on The Palouse,” says Jacob Holling, Vice President and a principal ag lender, who joined INB after last year’s acquisition of Bank of Fairfield. “But the benefit of working with experienced lenders is they help you through that kind of stuff."

Holling, who comes from a family of farmers, has worked at the Fairfield location for a decade. His partner, Dan Messinger, has 37 years of experience in the industry (Messinger also comes from a farm family). Together with the other two lenders in Fairfield, they represent almost 125 years of agriculture lending experience. "We've seen our clients through many cycles," says Holling.

Understanding those cycles is part of what sets a good ag lender apart. 

First, there's the most basic cycle: the seasons. Palouse farmers produce north of 125 million bushels of wheat each year, along with tons of barley, bluegrass, lentils, beans, and peas. But no matter how hard they work, or how much they invest in smarter technology, they will always be at the mercy of the volatile climate on The Palouse. That takes savvy financial management. 

Then there are the economic cycles. Holling says producers are coming off of "the best five years in agriculture that we've ever seen," as the poor economy drove up prices for their products. But as the larger economy recovers, those prices have begun to plummet again. 

"During the boom, our job was easy," says Holling. "We do our best to help people manage their money when they're making it. But there are producers in the area who have never been through the down cycle, and it becomes our job to help people to think through the decisions to be made as we head into tighter times."

Which brings us to the third — and perhaps most important — cycle: the turnover of generations.

"Farming is generational," says Holling. "Each generation over the years has contributed the legacy of their farm. And, we are here to help the new generations build on what those did before them. We understand each generation and can bridge the gap between tradition, technology, and embracing change - similar to many other industry businesses, I suppose, that are family owned."

"But that's the benefit of working with experienced lenders," he says. They're friends. Neighbors. Fellow farm families who have been there before, and who know the way.