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Shelby Smith

Shelby Smith is an Associate for Rutledge Investment Company.

He grew up in Memphis and graduated from Memphis University School in 2009.  Shelby then graduated from Mississippi State University in 2013 with a finance degree.  He returned to Memphis to accept a job as an analyst for First Tennessee Bank in their commercial lending division.  In 2015, he was hired to be the lending and brokerage associate for Rutledge Investment Company.  Shelby is active in all phases of the farm real estate business primarily focusing on loan origination, underwriting, and real estate brokerage.  He is a licensed real estate broker in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas.


Shelby’s interests include hunting, fishing, dog training, and cooking.  Shelby and his wife, Chelsi, got married in April 2015.

Rebecca Phillips

Rebecca Phillips is Chief Appraiser at Rutledge Investment Company and is a State Certified General Appraiser in Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Missouri.

Business Career

Upon graduation from the University of Memphis in 2005, Rebecca became an appraisal trainee under Jim Rutledge, MAI.  In 2009, she earned her State Certified General Appraiser license.  She is presently working toward the ARA designation from the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers.

Rebecca is a native Memphian and has family roots in Arkansas cotton farming.

Stephen Ranier

Stephen Rainer is a Vice President of Rutledge Investment Company. He grew up in Memphis in a farm oriented family. After graduating from Mississippi State University in 1987 with a degree in Agricultural Economics and Real Estate, he returned to Memphis.

Business Career

Stephen worked for a Memphis based Cotton Company grading and shipping cotton to textile mills. In 1991, he joined his father at Rainer Farm Mortgage Co., a regional agricultural mortgage banking firm and loan originator for the Prudential Insurance Company of America, Citigroup Investments and several other institutional lenders. Stephen has been employed at Rutledge Investment Company since 2000 when Rainer Farm Mortgage Co. merged with Rutledge Investment Company.

Stephen is active in all phases of the farm real estate business. His primary focus is loan origination, underwriting, consultation and real estate brokerage. He is a licensed real estate broker in Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana and has had extensive education in real estate.


Stephen enjoys hunting, fishing, flying and spending time with his family. He and his wife Debra have two children.

Gwin Smith

Gwin Smith is President, Owner, and Co-Founder of Rutledge Investment Company. He grew up working in a farm family in Cleveland, Mississippi in the heart of the Mississippi Delta.

Business Career

Since graduating from Mississippi State University in 1985 with a Master’s Degree in Agricultural Economics and an undergraduate degree in Business Administration, he has lived in Memphis and worked in the agricultural real estate business. Starting out as a real estate appraiser in 1985, he and Jim Rutledge cofounded Rutledge Investment Company in 1989 as a regional agricultural mortgage banking firm that also originates and services loans throughout the Mid-South.

Gwin is active in all phases of the farm real estate business. His primary focus is loan origination and real estate brokerage. As a licensed real estate agent and has had extensive education in real estate and real estate appraisal. He has farming interests in Bolivar, Tunica and Yalobusha Counties, Mississippi and Cross and Crittenden County, Arkansas.


With his wife Crissy and their three children, the family enjoys hunting, fishing, and the outdoors. Crissy is a residential real estate agent and their family leads an active life in Memphis.


Sales of farm and recreational property in the mid-south appear to be recession proof. While the rest of the country underwent a severe real estate decline especially in the housing market starting in 2007, farm sales have remained strong, according to Gwin Smith with Rutledge Investment Company.

Rutledge Investment Company, based in Memphis, serves a five state region that includes Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Louisiana and Tennessee. “We are breaking records. For the fourth year in a row, RIC and its subsidiaries will have a record year in both sales and loans in 2014,” according to Smith.

Here’s a breakdown of the numbers:

  • 2014 – by end of the year we will have closed $140,000,000 in loan and real estate sales transactions ($70.3 million real estate sales and $69.7 million in loans)
  • 2013 – $104,132,733.00 in loan and real estate sales transactions
  • 2012 – $83,189,074 in loan and real estate sales transactions
  • 2011 – $116,961,428 in loan and real estate sales transactions

What is behind the record breaking sales? Smith says strong farm incomes and low interest rates have kept land values strong. He also credits the upturn to increased demand from funds and South American investors. According to Smith, “Land buyers have greatly outnumbered those who are willing to sell, creating a continued demand and keeping prices strong for top quality properties.” People are very focused on hard assets versus paper.


Proper drying and storage add value to corn crop

“It enables us to be able to harvest our crops and dry our crops and store our crops indefinitely,” said Tommy Young, a corn grower based in Tuckerman, Ark., who has been using on-farm storage for more than 30 years.

The ability to speed up the harvest also allows growers to avoid losses caused by weather, according to Jason Kelley, a UA Extension agronomist for wheat and feed grains. Several years ago, with a hurricane threatening, one producer with on-farm storage harvested around the clock and was nearly done by the time neighboring growers got started, Kelley said.

Having a way to store their own grain also allows growers to hold out for higher prices because during the fall harvest, prices often drop as elevators become flush with large quantities of grain, Stiles said. Growers can also defer their tax liability on the grain by holding on to it rather than selling.

On-farm storage also allows growers to sell directly to buyers. In Arkansas, the poultry industry in a large consumer of corn and offers attractive prices and a year-round market for producers, Stiles said.


Rich Shumate, University of Arkansas | Delta Farm Press – Corn growers across Arkansas are increasingly taking matters into their own hands, erecting on-farm storage facilities to help them more efficiently market and harvest their product, rather than relying on commercial grain elevators.

Over the past decade, growers in Arkansas have increased their on-farm storage by about 70 million bushels, or about 52 percent, according to Scott Stiles, an Extension economist with the University Of Arkansas System Division Of Agriculture.

With many growers across the state shifting from cotton to corn production, “that sharp rise is consistent with the 141 percent increase in corn acreage seen over the same time period,” Stiles said.

Kris Baker is one of the growers who moved into on-site storage at his farm in Sherrill in Jefferson County, Ark.

“If you’re going to stay in the business of raising corn, you’re going to need on-farm storage,” he said. “It’s really helped us out in the efficiency of our harvest.”

By storing their grain themselves, growers don’t have to transport their crops as far and can get it out of the field more quickly. They can also dry the corn themselves, which allows them to harvest earlier at higher moisture levels without paying drying charges assessed by commercial grain brokers.