AG Industry Specialists

Our Commitment to the Agriculture Industry

Don Farmer

Don Farmer is an Agricultural Banking Specialist based in Chemical Bank’s  Fremont office.  He focuses mainly on Oceana, Newaygo, Muskegon, Kent, and Ottawa counties. 

Don joined Chemical Bank in 2010 with 25 years of lending experience.  Don started his lending career in the Thumb in 1984 working with cash crop farmers in the Akron and Caro area.  He came to West Michigan and Fremont in 1988 where he has worked with all types of agricultural producers and agribusinesses. Don’s main emphasis in West Michigan has been dairy, beef, vegetable, grain, and some fruit farmers.  He has also worked with a variety of agribusinesses over that time. 

Don is a graduate of Central Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and an emphasis in Management.   

Don Farmer
Chemical Bank
Vice President
Commercial Loans
211 W. Main St. , Fremont, MI 49412
Office Tel: (231) 924-5600
Bank Cell: (231) 282-1129
Fax: (231) 924-9960


Tim Merker

Tim Merker is an Agricultural Banking Specialist based in Chemical Bank’s St. Joseph Office. He has over 30 years of Agricultural Banking experience, 20 of which are with Chemical Bank.

Tim has experience in all types of Agriculture found across Michigan and has expertise in specialty crops and Agribusiness in addition to traditional farm commodities. He focuses his efforts in Southwest Michigan, where he deals with producers in the dairy, livestock, grain, orchards, small fruits, produce, greenhouse and ornamentals industries.

Tim has a Bachelor of Science degree in Crop and Soil Science from Michigan State University.

Tim Merker
Chemical Bank
Commercial Loans - St. Joseph & Benton Harbor
720 Pleasant Street, St. Joseph, MI 49085
Office Tel: (269) 934-1060
Bank Cell: (269) 330-2583
Fax: (269) 983-3051


Rob Shell

Robert (Rob) Shell is an Agricultural Banking Specialist based in Chemical Bank’s Marshall Main office. He is responsible for managing, developing and underwriting commercial banking relationships within Marshall, Albion, Coldwater and surrounding areas.

Rob joined Chemical Bank in 2011 and has over 24 years of financial experience with an emphasis on agricultural lending including row crops, dairy, beef, swine and specialty crops.  He grew up on a grain and livestock farm in Indiana, which he still owns with his siblings.

Rob is a graduate of Purdue University and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ag Economics.

Robert G. Shell
Vice President
Commercial Lender
115 West Drive South, Marshall, MI  49068
Office Tel: (269) 781-6880
Bank Cell: (269) 832-6001
Fax:  (269) 781-6884


J. Dean Smith is an Agricultural Banking Specialist based in the Agricultural heartland of Michigan’s thumb. Dean has offices located in Bad Axe and Harbor Beach. His unique background includes owning and operating a large farm near Pigeon for 20 years, hosting a television program called Michigan Farm and Garden Show for 20 years , holding the position of Drain Commissioner for 7 years and serving on several Agricultural Boards and Committees. In 1999 Dean sold his portion of farm equipment to his brothers and began his professional career.

In 2007, Dean began his banking career at Chemical Bank. To date Dean has established and maintains relationships with dairy, livestock, cash crop and specialty farmers. A large co-operative elevator is also part of the mix along with several farm suppliers. Dean’s agricultural background gives him an added dimension in his understanding of the commercial agricultural operations and the needs of Michigan’s farmers.

Like other Chemical Bank farm specialists, Dean believes in adding value to his customers banking experiences. Dean also believes that building lasting relationships produces lasting relationships with his customer base.

Dean is a graduate of Michigan State University and holds a degree in Agricultural Crop and Soil Sciences and Finance.

J. Dean Smith
Chemical Bank
Commercial Loans - Bad Axe & Harbor Beach
704 N. Van Dyke Road, Bad Axe, MI 48413
Office Tel (989) 269-9963
Bank Cell: (989) 415-8284
Fax: (989) 269-7732

Walter has been involved in commercial lending for over 23 years, and has been with Chemical Bank since 2007 as the Community President for the Bay Area. Having grown up on a small farm in the Thumb, Walter began his banking career in the same vicinity where he was involved in production agriculture and agribusiness financing.

In the early – mid 1990’s, he was involved in financing many of the large dairies that moved into Southwestern Michigan. Following this, Walter’s responsibilities grew as he became the senior lender in charge of agricultural financing for Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois, which also included managing a portfolio of 17 grain elevators and various dairy and livestock operations.

Walter works to add value to our Ag relationships by providing his customers with a better understanding of all aspects of their cash flow and overall financial performance.

Walter has a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management and Accounting from the University of Michigan, and a Masters of Business Administration in Finance from Central Michigan University.

Walter Szostak
Chemical Bank
Community President, Senior Lender
213 Center Avenue, Bay City, MI 48708
Office Tel: (989) 894-9804
Bank Cell: (989) 671-7290
Fax: (989) 894-9858

Ed Wilson

Ed Wilson is an Agricultural Banking Specialist based in Chemical Bank’s Kalamazoo Office. Ed has been with Chemical Bank since 2006, and has been a commercial lender for over 30 years. He has spent most of his career lending to agricultural customers in Michigan.

Ed works with growers of various crops, as well as implement dealers and serves Southwest Michigan, with a focus in Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties.

Ed has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Economics from Michigan State University.

Ed Wilson
Chemical Bank
Commercial Loans, Kalamazoo
211 E. Water Street, Suite 100, Kalamazoo, MI 49007
Office Tel: (269) 324-7228
Bank Cell: (269) 744-1847
Fax: (269) 552-4099


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