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Bill Watson: An Expert’s Take on the Unique Financial Needs of Nursery Growers

Nursery growers have unique needs and challenges when it comes to financing their operations. Bill Watson with UMB Bank shares insights about how growers in the agribusiness industry can work best with their financial partner to achieve long-term success

Defined as those who raise and sell plants, flowers, shrubs, trees, bulbs and sod, nursery growers are in a unique and ever-growing industry. The latest research found that the industry has averaged growth of 3.5% during the past three years to reach nearly $40 billion in revenue, according to the 2020 Nursery & Garden Centers market research report.

While the growth of this industry is evident, there can often be challenges for growers to get the financial services they need from a knowledgeable, trusted financial partner. Why? Because it is not unusual for growers to have a hard time explaining their business and financial needs to their banker. On the flip side, there are very few lenders who are well-versed in the nursery business. To form a successful, long-term partnership, it is important for both the grower and the banker to understand the unique business and financial needs of the industry.

I recently had the chance to sit down with Nursery Management Magazine, a publication dedicated to the growing industry, and share insights about how growers and their bankers can shape and strengthen a beneficial partnership. We had the opportunity to talk about the unique needs of nursery growers, the keys to building a solid relationship, and how open communication can foster a long-term partnership that is successful for both parties.

Some key takeaways from that conversation and for growers who are questioning or reconsidering their banking relationship include:

  1. Don’t be afraid to talk to bankers about how they feel about the industry, even if you are not their customer right now. If a bank isn’t willing to come see you and talk candidly about your industry and needs, they are probably not the right bank for you.
  2. Don’t get in a hurry. Take your time to visit with several banks about their philosophy, what they know about the industry, what they know about growing plants and who their current customers are in the industry.
  3. Don’t shy away from sharing your financial information and objectives with potential lenders. Most likely, you are looking for a new bank because you aren’t getting what you need from your current lender. In order for a new relationship to be successful, communication and sharing has to be a two-way street.
  4. Ask questions. You should feel free to ask a lender the questions you have, whether that is about their business, what they think of your business and balance sheet, and how they can help you. By doing this, you will be one step closer to figuring out the right lender and banking relationship for your operation.

I invite you to read more about this topic in the recent Q&A article from Nursery Management Magazine or visit www.umb.com/agribusiness to learn more.

Our Agribusiness Division serves all areas of agriculture, including producers, processors, suppliers and manufacturers of equipment and goods, throughout a 12-state area. Learn more about how we serve agribusiness or read more articles about ag

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