As Farmers Bank & Trust expands into new communities, so does its wide variety of products and services. The Bank is thrilled to welcome Darren Neal, Agricultural Loan Officer, Senior Vice President, to the team.
Born and raised in Jonesboro, AR, Neal grew up working on a rice and soybean farm. After high school, he served four years in the U.S. Army 101st Airborne Division. He is a graduate of Arkansas State University with a degree in Agricultural Business and Economics. While he started out his career as a crop consultant, Neal said he knew all along his dream was to become an Arkansas State Trooper.
“I really believe that was my life’s calling, so that’s what I did,” Neal said. “I took a pay cut and moved across the state to become a trooper.”
Neal moved to Prescott, AR where he and his wife, Kristi, built a home and started a cattle farm. He worked drug interdiction on the interstate for 10 years before becoming a Sergeant. He retired after 21 years with Troop G serving Southwest Arkansas.
“I had a good career,” Neal said. “But you sacrifice a lot. I really missed out on a lot with my kids.”
Neal’s daughter, Emilee, works as a Loan Assistant at the Farmers Bank & Trust Bryant branch. His son, Carter, currently attends Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia, AR. After retiring with the state, Neal built a four-house pullet farm totaling 100,000 square feet. This operation is no small task, his wife takes on the day-to-day operations and his kids often visit home on the weekends to help.
“It’s seven days a week,” he said. “We’ve got 15,000 chicks just in one house. I can understand my customers because I speak their language. I have been in their shoes. I know there are other options, but we want to set ourselves apart. We want people to do business with us because we’re going to treat them right.”
This opportunity with the Bank is one that Neal believes was divine intervention.
“I believe Farmers Bank & Trust’s core values align with mine,” he said. “They are genuinely in the communities to serve. I’m excited to be able to offer this additional service to our customers.”
Neal’s office is located at the Farmers Bank & Trust Hope Downtown branch at 201 East Third Street in Hope, AR, but he is available to help serve all communities Bank-wide.
“We are extremely pleased and excited to have Darren Neal on the Farmers Bank & Trust team!” Hope Market President Jacob Jones said. “The poultry business has deep roots in Southwest Arkansas, and we are excited to have the ability to offer poultry house financing to our customers. Darren brings a level of experience and unique background that makes him an excellent fit for the Bank.”