Iowan John McNutt is an agricultural banker's dream come true: He's stuck it out with the same bank for 21 years. In fact, the banking relationship probably goes back much further, said Mr. McNutt, who runs Elmira Farms, a midsize producer near Iowa City that raises about 3,300 hogs a year. His family has farmed the land since before the turn of the century, he said. Mr. McNutt believes a solid, long-term relationship with a bank committed to agriculture lending is worth more than a few basis points shaved off a line of credit. Mr. McNutt, on the board of directors of the National Pork Producers Council, recently discussed with American Banker the pitfalls both farmers and bankers encounter in the give-and-take world of agricultural finance.

Q.: What would make you leave a bank?

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