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GreenStone Farm Credit Services Powering the Engine of Agriculture

Monday, June 5, 2017  
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Being among the best at what you do is always filled with challenges. To listen to GreenStone Farm Credit Services CEO, Dave Armstrong, the secret to success isn’t all that complex.

“When you have a competitive product, do what you say you’re going to do when you say you are going to do it, business is pretty simple,” said Armstrong, during his keynote presentation to the Lansing Economic Club on Thursday, March 30.

Armstrong’s philosophy has obviously worked well for East Lansing-based GreenStone, which now stands as the seventh largest agricultural lender in the country, with $8 billion in assets. GreenStone serves 24,000 customers in Michigan and northeast Wisconsin from 36 locations. Armstrong said the 500 employees at the company deserve the credit for the company’s continued success.

“Life and business are team sports,” said Armstrong.

GreenStone serves the agriculture industry, which is the second largest industry in Michigan with an estimated economic impact of $101 billion, generating approximately 923,000 jobs in the state. In the Ingham, Eaton and Clinton county area alone, agriculture provides an estimated $513 million economic impact.

Armstrong told the crowd that agriculture faces several challenges including the continued decline in farm income, which is expected to drop nine percent in 2017. Technology and innovation are also making a major impact on the industry with recent developments such as GPS steered driverless tractors, automated greenhouse planters and drones for aerial mapping. The downside of technology — higher costs are forcing farmers to sell their operations, meaning fewer farms servicing in the industry.

“The only way you can pay for a $550,000 John Deere tractor is to run it over more acres,” said Armstrong.

Despite those challenges, Armstrong said the future of agriculture in Michigan is bright. The state currently produces 300 individual commodities, which is second in the nation only to California.

Click here to download the June issue of FOCUS.

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