Willow & Co: 15 Years of Southeast Missouri Farming
On a cool autumn morning, William Hunter climbs into his tractor and sets off. He knew from a young age that he would grow into this seat – a seat that symbolically once belonged to his grandfather. Knowing his sister Laura Collins is at his side in the business venture, Will’s able to focus on the land in front of him. The siblings breathed new life into this farm. And thanks to them, Willow & Co. is a thriving agricultural achievement in Southeast Missouri.
A grandfather’s legacy
In 1938, W.P. Hunter cleared 40-acre tracts in Bell City to grow cotton with his brother. Over time, W.P. unified the farm and quickly expanded his operation, adding a cotton gin, a fertilizer warehouse, a general store and grain storage. Nearly 40 years later, W.P closed the doors to the cotton gin for the last time.
In 1999, Will, W.P.’s grandson, arrived after graduating college and began farming 160 acres. With the goal of honoring W.P. and paying homage to his legacy, Will buckled down, determined see the land prosper. In 2003, Laura joined Will in reestablishing their inheritance. Over the years, their strong partnership lead to impressive decisions, yielding profits and operation expansion.
“18 seasons ago, I chose First State Bank & Trust for their people and structure. FSBT is a part of our operation year-round – that’s why they stand out as a lending partner.”
In the time they’ve had the farm, the siblings have seen tremendous growth. They started with 2,200 acres, and they are now at 6,450. They’ve expanded their crops to include cotton, rice, soybeans and corn in Stoddard, Scott and New Madrid counties. They have no downtime, running the operation 12 months out of the year and providing resources for a variety of uses globally.
“First State Bank & Trust representatives and loan officers are readily available. We invite them out on the farm a couple times a year. They’ll come out and ride with us and check things out. They’ll even meet us on the field during busy season if we need to go through paperwork.”
The heartland – the bootheel especially – generates a lot of commodities and materials for the entire world. Willow & Co. is a large part of that. Join us in congratulating them on 15 years of farming success. We’re proud to be their partner as they continue growing within the agricultural industry.
“We have a phenomenal relationship with First State Bank & Trust. From day one, it’s been a great partnership. FSBT has great interest rates, but we were really chose them as a lending partner because of the people.”