A Shared Purpose

AgWest Farm Credit is a champion for agriculture. Although the newly merged association was formed just a year ago, collectively, it has over a century of experience under its belt as an agricultural lender across the western United States—ensuring its customers, employees and communities thrive.

AgWest was formed on January 1, 2023 through a merger of Farm Credit West and Northwest Farm Credit Services. Its 22,000 customers consist of ranchers, farmers and agribusinesses, ranging from large operations to young, beginning and small producers. Some of its customers are well-established, multigenerational entities, while others are startup operations hoping to find their footing in the marketplace.

We rely on CoBank to support our customers with larger borrowing needs and we also lend to the bank’s customers. It’s a symbiotic relationship.

“Despite this tremendous change with the merger, our purpose remains consistent,” said Mark Littlefield, president and CEO of AgWest. “Our association would simply not exist without agriculture. As long as we continue to focus on and serve our customers, we will be successful.”

As one of CoBank’s 16 affiliated associations, AgWest receives wholesale funding from CoBank that supports the loans it makes to farmers and ranchers across its seven-state service territory. The two institutions work cohesively to ensure agriculture has dependable access to credit through cycles in the economy and commodity markets.

“We rely on CoBank to support our customers with larger borrowing needs and we also lend to the bank’s customers. It’s a symbiotic relationship. There have been lots of changes as the Farm Credit System navigates through mergers and transitions, and change can be challenging. CoBank has not only improved our relationship along the way, but has embraced the shift alongside us,” Littlefield said.

As it moves into its second year, AgWest is excited to continue evolving its business model—especially embracing new and advanced technology strategies to better serve its members.

“We are committed to maximizing and evolving our customer relationships. It’s important to stay highly engaged and focused—we are their steward,” Littlefield said.

AgWest is particularly excited about its New Producer Grant program, which provides startup funds to agricultural producers in its service territory as they embark on new business ventures. In collaboration with CoBank, AgWest awarded 30 producers $15,000 each in 2023 for their startups, allowing new and innovative ideas to become a reality.

“These new producers have the vision, but not the funds. We are excited to support them during their journey and appreciate CoBank’s partnership. The bank has been on the ground level, taking on the other half of the funding for these grants, while recognizing how important the program is to agriculture and the future of our industry,” Littlefield said.

As a newly formed entity itself, AgWest is excited to continue expanding and growing—sharing its purpose with customers and industry partners for the betterment of agriculture and rural America.

This story was originally published in the CoBank 2023 Annual Report.