When Russ Thacker visits farms near Gering, Neb., he may be doing more than due diligence on an agricultural loan. He may be looking for inspiration.

Mr. Thacker, manager of First National Bank of North Platte's Gering branch, is a cowboy poet who writes about the American West.

"The whole thing is to preserve history, the day-to-day things that we have out here," he said.

Mr. Thacker's poems appear every other week in a local newspaper, and he performs at local and regional events, including the state fair, Cattlemen's Association gatherings, and Rotary Club meetings. He also does readings for First National's Frontier 55 Club for seniors.

It is fun for him, he said, and great exposure for the bank.

"One of the things about ag lending is you have to know the customer's business to lend to him," he said. "By doing this poetry, people know I'm a cattleman to the bone and I understand."

Mr. Thacker, who owns a 160-acre cattle ranch near Gering, gets most of his poetic inspiration from other ranchers, but his banking experiences have also contributed.

His poem "New Age Cowboy" describes his difficulty evaluating loans for exotic-crop farmers-those who want to raise pot-bellied pigs, ostriches, or llamas:

"To survive we need to diversify

But how will I qualify?

These critters called exotic

Made me worried and neurotic."

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.