FRESNO, Calif. - Agricultural lending in central California's San Joaquin Valley, with its more than 250 crops, from cotton to nuts to vegetables, has been a whole new world to a farm lender originally from Iowa.

"The diversity is just amazing here, compared to other agriculture areas in the country," said Tom Stenson, senior vice president of Fresno-based Valliwide Bank, who heads the company's agribusiness group. "The only limiting factor is water."

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