Cape May, New Jersey
New Jersey-based Lund’s Fisheries has been harvesting fish from the Atlantic Ocean since 1954, but the business has changed a great deal since its early days.
Under the leadership of owner and president Jeff Reichle, Lund’s Fisheries has evolved from a sleepy domestic operation into a world-class fishery that catches, processes and ships mackerel, menhaden, squid and other seafood to markets all over the globe.
A New Concept
“We used to be 100 percent domestic, now we’re 50 percent export,” says Reichle. “Our business used to be 95 percent fresh product that had to be consumed quickly. Now it’s 85 percent frozen product, which means the entire world can be our market.”
Fishing is still a critical part of the business; Lund’s sources fish from a network of both independently owned and family-owned vessels operating out of its seaside headquarters in Cape May and Oxnard, California. But processing, freezing and packaging are even more critical to the company’s bottom line. To that end, Lund’s has invested significantly in processing facilities over the years, including a scallop processing operation launched three years ago. The company now produces a million and a half pounds of scallops a year, with its average inventory growing from $8 million to $30 million in market value.
For financing, Lund’s relies heavily on Farm Credit East, one of CoBank’s affiliated Farm Credit associations. CoBank has partnered with Farm Credit East on a number of transactions for Lund’s.
“Farm Credit is the best financing we’ve ever had,” says Reichle. “Farm Credit just understands the business better. They know that sometimes when you have an off year, it’s not because you’re running a bad business; it’s because Mother Nature hasn’t provided enough to make available what you need. We really appreciate having a lender that knows us and that will stand by us for the long term.”
Bill Lipinski, CEO of Farm Credit East, says the association’s relationship with Lund’s is a perfect example of the Farm Credit value proposition in action.
“The Farm Credit System exists to support businesses like Lund’s Fisheries that supply high-quality food for people all over the world,” Lipinski says. “We’re proud to have played a role in their incredible growth and look forward to their continued success in the future.”