Business to Business
July 10, 2014

Lending expertise, forward-thinking yield juicy results for grower

Innovative produce growers like California’s Fowler Packing find success in teaming with Wells Fargo’s experienced agriculture team.

Research suggested there might be a market for easy-to-peel mandarins, so Fowler Packing Company of Fresno, Calif., took the plunge and planted the trees. Now the fruit’s popularity in the U.S. has soared.

Mindi Weber of Wells Fargo’s Agriculture lending group says that is typical of the company: Fowler Packing, one of the largest growers and suppliers of fresh produce in the state, takes “a different approach,” she says. “They look at what else they can grow that no one else is growing. They do a lot of market research before they plant a crop or make any changes.”

Fowler Packing is run by four Parnagian brothers, and Wells Fargo’s food and agribusiness group is an unofficial member of the family, having worked with the company since 1993.

Dennis Parnagian says, “Nobody comes close to Wells Fargo. They understand the business and the specialty crops and conditions here that make farming different than it is in the Midwest. I’m blown away by the people, the way they work, and the company’s procedures. Wells Fargo is very accommodating and so customer-centric.”

Wells Fargo is the No. 1 agriculture lender among all commercial banks and the No. 1 crop insurer.

Agriculture is also steeped in Wells Fargo history. In 1888, Wells Fargo was among the first express companies to ship fresh fruits and vegetables in refrigerated train cars. By 1918, Wells Fargo owned 175 refrigerated boxcars to ship produce across the U.S.

Brothers Randy (left), Phillip, Dennis, and Kenny Parnagian were photographed with Mindi for the 2013 Wells Fargo Annual Report. Wells Fargo is the No. 1 agriculture lender