For 10 years, John Shover, chief executive of First National Bank of Barry, Ill., worried that his agricultural lenders couldn't provide the attention he felt his customers needed. And as the farming and ranching business got more financially complicated, some borrowers showed signs they didn't have the management wherewithal to cope.

Finally, in July he hired Chris Hamilton as "farm representative" for the $69 million-asset bank to assess the operations of existing agriculture loan customers, educate and consult with them, and meet with prospective customers.

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