New Breed of Farmer Increases Demand for Farm Loans 25% in South Carolina Reports ArborOne Financial

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South Carolina farm loan leader attributes new growth to organic crops, family connections in Pee Dee region.

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It's good news for us, for these young farmers, and for the consumers who are demanding quality local produce.

Today, ArborOne Financial, the Farm Credit association headquartered in Florence, South Carolina, reported that South Carolina farm loans for young and beginning farmers grew 25% last year, a record uptick in lending to small and beginning farmers that was a large part of ArborOne's own 13.25% growth last year

ArborOne has been providing South Carolina farm loans for over 90 years. According to Don Boice, Vice President of Relationship Managers, "We see a new breed of farmer requiring new financial solutions. These young farmers need flexibility and we're one of only a handful of lenders that can provide South Carolina farm loans and mortgage loans with no limit on acreage."

Increasing demand for food specialization and sustainable agriculture, niche farming, and direct marketing are also making the small farm more viable. This combination of factors is attracting new entrepreneurs to South Carolina who are more likely to make use of technology, like computers and global positioning systems, and also to have a greater awareness of the environmental impact of their farming practices and business decisions. According to the USDA, among the trends behind the expansion of smaller farm and new farms are:

  •          Double-digit growth rate in consumer demand for organic and natural foods
  •          Rising interest in community and local agriculture
  •          New farming and business practices that include greater reliance on technology, GPS

Voted 2007 Young Farmer of the Year, Les Galloway comments that. "The Pee Dee Region has a legacy of farming, and many people are following in the footsteps of their families. But they're also approaching it in their own way, diversifying their crops, and strengthening the farming industry as they grow."

This new breed of small, beginning or young farmer is drawn to the region for more than economic reasons. Lifestyle choices are playing a part, too. South Carolina's diverse geography, temperate climate, and beaches contribute to a general economic boost in the region. Recent job growth figures from a study by Donald L. Schunk indicate over $2 billion in new capital investment and over 3,000 announced jobs in the first quarter of last year. Jack Shuler, CEO of ArborOne, finds nothing surprising in the statistics. "South Carolina," says Shuler," is a great place to live and do business. We have it all--strong land value, great hunting, beaches, and terrific neighbors."

The ArborOne team is proud that young and beginning farmers are increasingly relying on their South Carolina farm loan, home loan, and crop insurance solutions. "We see it as win, win, win," says Boice. "It's good news for us, for these young farmers, and for the consumers who are demanding quality local produce."

About ArborOne:
ArborOne Financial provides a full line of lending and insurance solutions in the 12-county area of Northeastern South Carolina. For the last 90 years, ArborOne has provided farm loans and home loans for people all across the Pee Dee region. A proud member of the Farm Credit System, ArborOne is member owned, and features patronage refunds and low interest rates. For more information, visit http://www.ArborOne.com.

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Mary Dickson

Natania Barron
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