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Bremer Bank recognized as a top agricultural lender

Bremer Bank has been identified as one of the nation's leaders in financing the needs of the agriculture industry.

U.S. banks are the major provider of credit to this industry, with almost $130 billion in farm loans extended as of year-end 2011.

In a recent report by the American Bankers Association, Bremer Bank was listed as the 14th largest ag lender in the country this year, based on volume.

Other local lenders also made the list, with Choice Financial coming in at 57, State Bank at 73 and First State from Arthur at 98.

In 2011, Bremer made $837 million in ag loans to farm clients in North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

"Bremer's founder was committed to sustaining the health and vitality of rural communities," said Tim Birkeland, Market Manager of Bremer Bank in Perham. "Meeting the financial service needs of our ag clients is one of the most important ways we can continue to carry out his vision."

Small loans make up a majority of the nation's farm and ranch lending, with nearly $67 billion in small and micro-small farm and ranch loans on the books at the end of 2011.

Moreover, the U.S. banking industry is a major source of credit to small farmers. The banking industry reported holding approximately $66.8 billion in small farm loans, with $20.9 billion in micro-small farm loans, at the end of 2011. The number of outstanding small farm loans totaled almost $1.1 million, with the vast majority - almost 781,000 loans - under $100,000. 

The agricultural sector continues to outperform the broader national economy and the Department of Agriculture credits the strength of high commodity prices and good harvests to that strong performance.