Get to know Steve Kowalski
August 28, 2023

What are your duties as a loan officer?  
Building relationships is the most important job of being a loan officer. Knowing our farmer-owners’ challenges and opportunities helps me be prepared to provide solutions, whether that means a quick turnaround on an equipment loan, an operating line to manage cashflow or working with partner lenders on larger projects. Building that rapport allows me to make sure that every need of our farmer-owners is being met. In order to do this, I work with our outstanding staff to keep all the necessary documentation completed and moving forward.  

In addition to bringing in new opportunities, I also oversee a portfolio of loans in my territory (Central Area, Mideast Area, Mountain Area, Western Area and southern Missouri). This mean that I am in touch with producers regularly about payments, payoffs and setting up farm visits for collateral checks.  

What was your first paying job?
Growing up in rural Illinois, the first job I had was corn detasselling in the summers.  
What is the most exciting part of being a loan officer?  
I really enjoy working with dairy producers and visiting them on their farms. I get to see a lot of operations with different approaches to dairying. I like hearing their stories as to how they got started and how they got to where they are today. There is a feeling of satisfaction helping our farmer-owners. 
How did you get started at DFA?
I was hired as a Loan Officer in 2012 to work remotely and help cover the Central Area. At the time, I was working within the financial sector for banks in the Kansas City area and was looking to leave traditional banking while staying within the financial sector. Within a couple years, I was tasked with growing our presence in the Mideast Area. 
What three items would you take to a deserted island?
My smoker, a knife and a reverse osmosis filtration system.  

What is your favorite part of working with DFA members?   
I enjoy hearing their story, how they started in dairy and the steps taken to get to where they are today. I love being on the farm walking around asking questions and gaining knowledge of each farm as they are all so vastly different.  
What inspired you to work in the dairy industry?  
Growing up in a small farming community in Illinois, we frequently visited relatives and friends and helped them on their farms during the summer months. I enjoyed those times growing up spending time with friends and family. I can’t say specifically that I was inspired to work within the dairy industry; however, when I came across this role and learned more about dairy, I grew more curious. I wanted to step aside from traditional banking, and this was an avenue that intrigued me. I had worked for super community banks and a smaller rural focused (agricultural) bank and was looking for a change.  
What is your favorite dairy product?  
Ice cream, of course.