Taking the plunge pt 2: build a network

Written By: Mitchel Pridmore & Leah Chester-Davis

While farmers usually have numerous skills to draw on, a network of people can help in myriad ways. 

Whether seeking expertise or simply having a sounding board to discuss ideas, it’s really great to have a network of people to rely on, says Mitchel Pridmore, loan officer in the Hendersonville office of Carolina Farm Credit. “If you don’t know the answer, you know who you can ask.”

Pridmore shares his list of six professionals to have on your side:

  • Loan Officer – Consider your loan officer as someone who is there for you. “We serve agriculture at Carolina Farm Credit,” says Pridmore. “We’re here for our customers. Be open and honest. Be willing to bounce things off your loan officer or others in your network.”
  • Attorney – Unless you already own farm land – often new farmers don’t – an attorney can be helpful in navigating various options such as leasing land, renting to own, owner financing or other ways to purchase. “An attorney that looks out for you is important,” says Pridmore.
  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA) – CPAs can be a huge asset when you have tax questions or when making purchasing decisions, such as whether it might be most beneficial to purchase or lease land or equipment.
  • Appraiser – Often farm-related purchases come with a big price tag. Pridmore says an appraiser can help you evaluate whether you’re getting a fair-market deal. “You don’t want to buy something that is not worth the price.”
  • Insurance Agent – If you’re a young family you need to look at life insurance. Crop insurance or other farm policies are other considerations. “You want to make sure they’ve got your back.”
  • Cooperative Extension Agents – Extension offices in every county have agricultural agents that provide expertise and serve as gateways to university research, farm trials and field days that are geared to helping farmers learn about growing practices for their region.

Building a network helps you find resources that can help your business. “Up this way, we have people who own farm land but they may not be farming it,” explains Pridmore. “A network can help you learn about these people who may be willing to let you farm their land. There may be creative ways to set up arrangements. We have some 100-year leases and people may plant an apple orchard, for example. They can’t afford to buy it but it may be possible to lease long-term.”

Another consideration, particularly on leased land, may be the challenge of adding farm structures. If you lease a piece of property but you need a building to store your tractor, for example, Carolina Farm Credit can discuss options, provided the farm owner gives you permission to build the structure on the farm.

“It’s another tool for young farmers when they don’t have assets,” says Pridmore. “Your network can help you look at various options.” 

Written By: Leah Chester-Davis in conjunction with Mitchel Pridmore

Mitchel Pridmore has worked with Carolina Farm Credit for over 10 years. He has a passion for serving agriculture and helping people achieve their goals. He works out of the Hendersonville office covering the Henderson and Transylvania Counties. Mitchel and his wife Megan have two young boys and they enjoy being outside hiking, running and traveling. Mitchel considers himself a food which is why running is on his list of hobbies!