130 years of banking strength owed to community partnerships, friends and neighbors

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Wednesday, May 26, 2021 ~ Updated 3:43 PM

Meet Donny Deline, fifth generation farmer of one of the larger cotton farms in Southeast Missouri. Most people don’t realize that Missouri is a big cotton producer. Deline says he and his farming partners have a crop rotation plan that consists of corn, soybean and cotton.

It’s a balance between the price of cotton, corn, soy and the ability to grow quality crops in the Bootheel of Missouri.

“When all crop prices are profitable, we stay with a rotation, but when one crop’s price begins to outweigh others, like cotton, we start to put more stock where the profits are,” he said. “There is a greater risk of growing cotton, so that’s why they prefer to plant corn and soybeans when they can, but you go where the profits lead you. We couldn’t do what we do without our partners.”

To grow a high-yielding cotton crop and get it to market, consistent equipment and property upgrades are required. Having enough equipment to cover those acres of cotton can also be a factor in planting decisions and to the ability to make a profit or even keep employees.

“One of the first things you learn as a farmer is how and why a good banking partner can make or break your profit from year to year,” Deline said. “One thing I know from running this farm for the last 24 years is how important partnerships are to success.”

From vendors to employees to banks — they all play a vital role.

“The Bank of Missouri has been a great business partner for years with our farming operations,” Deline said. “They have provided us a full line of production credit. We also have counted on The Bank of Missouri for our real estate and farmland purchases. They’re large enough to handle all of our needs while still having the personal touch and service of a small bank. Basically, you’re getting the best of both worlds.”

Deline’s main partner within the bank is Paul Gard, regional community bank president for a large portion of Southeast Missouri. Gard has 35 years of experience working with farmers.

“Each farming operation is different, but all of them appreciate what a community bank can provide to the growth of their business,” Gard said. “We can do things that the large banks can’t — we are small enough to change our thinking fast and big enough to power through the hard times.”

With 36 branches across Missouri and more than $2.5 billion in assets, The Bank of Missouri is a local success that has taken their legacy of community strength across the state of Missouri.

“Being a community bank means that our success is intertwined with the success of our communities,” Gard said. “We’re a bank made up of neighbors and friends. Our purpose as a community bank is to help others succeed and that’s kept us strong for 130 years.”

Find your own financial partner at your local Bank of Missouri branch at bankofmissouri.com/branches.