EXITING PRIVATE EQUITY FOR THE FARM BROKERAGE
Today's real estate brokers sell all types of real estate; houses, land, apartments, ranches, and a plethora of others. However, CEO, Neel Gibson, is honing the poultry farm niche. "I grew up on a family dairy operation in South Mississippi and if you had asked, I would have told you I would never have anything to do with farming if I can ever get off this farm," says Neel. Little did he know, God has a funny sense of humor and over time he would end up back where he was meant to be, working with farmers and loving every moment!
"My brother Greg and I didn't plan to be in the commercial poultry sales business," says Neel. At the time, we had different jobs in the real estate business but got together to form a private equity company. Our company operated a large footprint buying and reselling income producing real estate. Don't get me wrong," said Neel, "it was super competitive and a ton of fun but hard when you want to have a family." It wasn’t until a mutual friend needed help selling his poultry farm that Neel considered the idea of starting a brokerage. "We applied the
same competitive advantages we learned in brokering other businesses to the poultry market and it was an instant hit. Using the advice that had been drilled into me by my private equity partners, it was time to focus!" While other brokerages divide their time on a variety of property types for sale, his company focuses all of its resources on the sale of poultry farms. "Never say never," said Gibson. "I cant imagine a more gratifying career than working daily with farmers. And to be honest, it's the most rewarding job I've ever had."
CUSTOMER SERVICE MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE
Like the Gibson brothers, Kimberly's experience didn't stem from the poultry business. Kimberly worked as an Executive Legal Assistant for a boutique law firm out west before trading trial litigation and administration to managing American Poultry Company's multi-state footprint.
"It's a challenging job but you get the reward of working with great people," says Kimberly. "I loved the firm but it's hard to have any life outside the office when you work in trial litigation. It was nothing to work 20 hours strait on a case grab a couple hours of sleep and get right back to the task."
Working with the Gibson brothers has the same work ethic she was used to but the culture is why she chose the position with them. "Our office is truly like a little family, little kids running around and everything sometimes!"
As the associate broker, she gets to oversee the company's day-to-day operations and be personally involved in farm transactions. "As with the law firm I strive to not only meet client expectations but make sure they are exceeded. "
The company has been expanding at an unpresented rate and they are set to double again in 2022. "Luckily, my past has lent me the experience to handle this type of explosive growth and to know what is ultimately driving the company's growth, - relentless customer service." "Any sales agent fresh out of school can contract a farm, but the process after the signatures determines if it will make it to the closing table," says Kim.
"Sometimes I feel like the chicken farmers I speak with on a daily basis; when I get around friends all I want to talk about is poultry. If you name a city, I can tell you which integrators are in the area and what size houses they are requiring."
"I think I may even be becoming an expert in litter since I have that talk with buyers about 10 times a day!"
GLAD I GREW UP FARMING, MARKETING IS ALL ABOUT KNOWING YOUR PRODUCT
Real estate sales, real estate appraiser, investor, consultant, and private equity have all played parts in Greg's past.
“I learned a great deal about customer service and business valuation as an appraiser and salesman, but I truly found my calling in marketing while being a real estate investor,” says Gibson. "Investing is all about trying to maximize returns. The number one cost in investing is the marketing of the assets. If you can turn over 50 deals a year as apposed to 5, you quickly realize time really is money and you can short-cut time with marketing."
Marketing is everything in the farm brokerage business. If the brokerage can get a farmer’s business sold quickly, it typically will save the farmer equity loss in his farm. Most people don’t realize that an older farm can lose $100,000 a year in equity due to the reduction in years a farm can be financed. Every year a buyer has to pay off the purchased price in fewer years which lowers the farm valuation.
Marketing is a difficult process that changes rapidly. It requires a great deal of time to stay on the cutting edge. Greg says he goes about the process the same way he was taught when working in the family dairy business, “Doesn't everyone get up a 4:00 am and work 6 days a week?"
Like farming it's a calling, not a job. Once you realize that you positively impacted someone's life, either helping a farmer retire or helping a family change their occupation to farming, you can never go back. "Don't get me wrong, I have bills like everyone else but I get up early and excited every morning with the opportunity to help my farming community."
Greg's background has played a major role in his life, but hard work and humility are paramount. "As a company, we have been able to achieve unimaginable results, and I give the credit to God and putting in the time!"
Article above from American Poultry Farmer magazine, c/o AmericanPoultryCompany,Inc
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