“Our job at Farmer Mac is to take what’s already good—a lender’s relationship with a customer, for example—and really make it shine. We’re there to offer better rates and terms to farmers, and a broad array of solutions to ag lenders, no matter the business climate. At Farmer Mac, we don’t make loans, we make them better.”
Curt Covington, Executive Vice President – Chief Credit Officer
“It’s always tough to get a foot in the door, particularly when you’re an aspiring farmer with little collateral or credit history,” said Juan Pablo “JP” Perez, owner of family-run farm and delivery service J&P Organics.
As a young boy, Juan Pablo “JP” Perez was a regular visitor to the farm where his father worked. JP’s dad, Pablo Perez, gifted a deep love of farming to his children, but also openly shared the challenges of farm life too. “He encouraged us to consider farming as a career, but he made us work at an early age to be sure we knew exactly how hard farming can be,” remembered JP. “The long hours and back-breaking work in the rain, sunshine, heat or cold – he wanted us to be prepared should we choose that life.” So when JP finished college and he approached his father about starting a family farm of their own, Pablo knew his son was serious. But they needed financing—a tough row to hoe when just starting out.
“It’s always hard to get a foot in the door, particularly when you’re an aspiring farmer with little collateral or credit history,” JP explained. Luckily for those like the Perezes, Cal Coastal was open for business when many traditional lending avenues were otherwise closed. Cal Costal, a chartered nonprofit public-benefit corporation that serves the financial needs of small and beginning businesses and farmers, gave the Perez family a chance.
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Since Cal Coastal had access to a product like USDA Guaranteed Loan Purchase, offered by their financial partner Farmer Mac, the lender was able to provide the additional financing JP and Pablo needed to grow the family business.
In 2006, Cal Coastal helped the Perezes secure their first loan to lease farmland and purchase the equipment needed to start J&P Organics, their family-run farm and delivery service. And as the appeal for their produce bested even the wildest expectations of the family, it became clear they would need more land and more horsepower. Since Cal Coastal had expertise originating USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) guaranteed loans and had access to a product like USDA Guaranteed Loan Purchase, offered by their lending partner Farmer Mac, they were able to provide the additional financing JP and Pablo needed to grow the family business.
Over the years, Cal Coastal has increased the scope of its geographic lending from the Central Coast of California to statewide in part by leveraging their partnerships with FSA and Farmer Mac. Farmer Mac’s USDA Guaranteed Loan Purchase solution enables lenders with limited capital sources to sell the guarantees, which, in turn, frees up the liquidity they rely on to make more loans and offer more competitive rates and terms to the farmers who need them the most.
“As a nonprofit organization with limited capital, we have utilized Farmer Mac’s USDA Guaranteed Loan Purchase solution for more than 20 years to improve our liquidity so we can make more farm loans to folks like the Perezes,” said Jose Guerra, Ag Loan Officer at Cal Coastal.
“Our mission of lending to enterprises that lack access to capital aligns perfectly with Farmer Mac’s, and that makes our partnership even more rewarding,” added Cal Coastal President Karl Zalazowski. Farmer Mac was created to lower the cost of credit and deliver capital for the benefit of American agriculture and rural communities. For more than a quarter-century, Farmer Mac has been a vital partner helping America’s rural lenders meet the evolving needs of their customers, bringing the financial strength of the nation’s premier secondary market for agriculture right to their customers’ farms. Lenders of all sizes use Farmer Mac’s broad portfolio of loan products to offer more financial choices to their rural customers, helping them keep pace with today’s capital-intensive agricultural industry.
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At Farmer Mac, we’ve watched Cal Coastal’s farm lending grow and we’re honored to be a part of it.
“Our partnership with Cal Coastal has developed to the point where they are practically family to us,” explained Patrick Kerrigan, Farmer Mac‘s Director of Business Development. “We celebrate each others’ milestones, and we also collaborate on solutions to the challenges we face. We appreciate their mission and share their passion for ag lending, and our team will always go the extra mile to serve their needs.” JP and his family have worked hard to make J&P Organics successful, but he acknowledges how lucky they are to share in that success together. He noted, “We have three generations living and working on our farm. One person could never accomplish so much—it takes all of us working together as a unit, as a family. The sense of satisfaction we all derive from our work and togetherness is immeasurable.”
At Farmer Mac, we’ve watched Cal Coastal’s farm lending grow and we’re honored to be a part of it. It’s one more fruitful partnership in a story of many.