Rabobank celebrated the milestone of 20 years in the Merredin community with its clients last week. The influence the bank has had on the town is evident, with a large number of farmers gathering from across the Wheatbelt for the occasion. The Rabobank RaboTruck was present for the event and was a big attraction. It is a two-trailer truck fitted with a drinks bar, seating area and presentation deck with television screens for expert talks. The truck has travelled all around Australia for major events and has been in WA for the past fortnight. Rabobank Regional manager WA, Steve Kelly was very happy with the turnout, and said it was a great opportunity for Rabobank to give back to the community which had supported them all these years. Rabobank has slowly grown its presence in the Western Australian agricultural community. The bank now includes farm equipment finance, business management programs, an executive development program and a fund managers program. Mr Kelly said the Rabobank difference was being onfarm, and participating in finance conversations around the farm table. "We started to roll out branch networks across Western Australia to get closer to customers," Mr Kelly said. "The support that you were giving us at the time was a really clear signal that you were going to support a lender that was prepared to be close to farmers and close to the ground." A great bank stems from great people, and Mr Kelly was sure to acknowledge the members of the Merredin branch - past and present - who helped lead to its success. In the past 20 years, farming and banking practices have changed immensely, but Rabobank has been able to pivot and be industry leaders. Services introduced throughout the years include succession planning facilitation, to help with farm consolidation and succession. More recently, Rabobank Australia has collaborated with fully-owned subsidiary DLL, described as "global specialists" in equipment finance, to deliver more specialist knowledge to Australian clients. Mr Kelly said being a co-operative enabled the bank to give back to the communities and towns it operated in. Prorgrams are often implemented by the Rabo Client Council - a group of farming clients who volunteer their time implementing programs that contribute to the sustainability of rural and regional communities. The Teacher Farm Experience Program is a perfect example of farmers coming together, with Rabobank, to solve a pressing problem. The Teacher Farm Experience Program aims to increase the knowledge and confidence of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), digital technology and agriculture educators to allow them to incorporate food and fibre production into their teaching programs. Education often determines what career path children take after school, and increasing the amount of teachers who are passionate about agriculture can hopefully increase the amount of children considering the agricultural sector as a pathway when they graduate. The next Teacher Farm Experience Program is in Wongan Hills this September. After receiving increasing feedback from farmers who wanted to "interact with farmers globally", Rabobank established global and domestic study tours. Clients will be meeting grain farmers in the Yorke Peninsula, South Australia and cotton farmers in the Northern Territory this year. "As you can see, we have grown in a very short time, but importantly changed based on the market," Mr Kelly said. "We are very conscious that we don't take that for granted and we really appreciate those coming out and sharing with us a 20 year celebration in your community." Mr Kelly had his fingers crossed for the next six weeks to have a good finish to the season, which will be an even bigger celebration for the Merredin community.