About Us

Ag Lending Group is the nation’s premier non-bank lender specializing in farm mortgage loans. We will review your financials, learn about your farm and then find the best loan available to meet your needs.

Richard Cook

Richard Cook

Managing Director

  • Richard H. Cook founded Ag Lending Group LLC in 2015 to formalize the way that he had being doing agricultural advisory work regarding real estate and finance since the 1970’s. Ag Lending Group makes mortgage loans and does advisory work across North America. Richard is a CPA and got his first experience within the farming industry when working at Price Waterhouse, auditing the financial statements of the two largest sugar producers in Louisiana. Now, after more than 45 years in agriculture, Richard has a keen ability to determine the exact financial solution for clients in all areas of the industry. Richard has worked as both CFO & a CEO of large, integrated agricultural businesses. He was a partner in developing large acreages of pistachio’s, almonds, wine grapes and olives. His company also grew cotton, tomatoes, lettuce sugar cane & melon in several states in North America and in Australia. During the course of his career in agricultural finance and farming, Richard has developed an instinctive capacity to readily determine what solution is most effective for a client. Richard is equally successful when working with the largest national banks, local community banks, with the leading insurance company lenders and with loans funded through the secondary markets. Richard works effectively on all projects. He does consulting, loan advisory work and loan restructuring work. Clients always find Richard to be thoughtful and insightful.

Madison Durkin

Vice President

  • Madison was raised in Central California surrounded by agriculture. She fell in love with agriculture at an early age and is thrilled she is able to work with farmers daily. Madison graduated from Santa Clara University before moving to Phoenix and starting a family. You will work with Madison day in and day out until your loan is closed. She handles all account management for Ag Lending Group and enjoys getting to annually visit clients for farm audits.

Our History

  • Just before graduating from College Richard was recruited by Price Waterhouse (PW&Co), a leading international CPA firm. Assignments at PW&Co ranged from Gulf Oil to sugar businesses located in South Louisiana. When one of the sugar businesses, owned by a public company, negotiated to purchase a farming business in California, Richard was sent to the West Coast to review the financial records of the acquisition target.
  • 1972
    Richard was subsequently hired by the California farm owners that he met when his client acquired some of the businesses owned by the farmers. Richard was initially Controller and later became a partner/CFO with members of the family. Within a matter of a few years the reconfigured business became the largest farm company in America. Richard (1) helped negotiate financings and joint ventures with insurance companies, (2) designed the first Ag Mortgage for vineyards planted on leasehold property, among other things. He led the effort to purchase two fully integrated sugar businesses in Louisiana, merged and operated them as CEO for many years and then sold the business to a public company in 1992. Forty years of working in Ag Finance, mostly as a borrower, followed by ten years of financial advisory work for clients/borrowers gives Richard a unique position to advise and assist borrowers.
  • 1996
    After exiting active agricultural investments Richard did advisory work for others involved in agriculture, including a grower/packer/marketer of fresh fruit in Central California. Richard also provided strategic and financial advisory work for an owner of a manufacturer of critical parts used in semi-conductor vacuum chambers, located in the bay area. Included in the work was negotiation of a recapitalization of the business, becoming CEO during which time the business grew from $15 to $100 Million in sales and negotiating a sale to Bechtel Industries in 2000.
  • 2016
    Richard became the Managing Director of Ag Lending Group LLC, a company formed by his wife and daughter Madison. Richard and Madison originate mortgages for farmers across the United States. Though their roots are in California Agriculture, they are proud to be working with and helping farmers who grow a variety of commodities across the United States.