(April 8, 3:23 p.m.) Rabo AgriFinance, St. Louis, and Rabobank NA, New York — the U.S. farm and retail financing divisions of Netherlands-based Rabobank Group — has established a new production agriculture advisory board that includes two California produce industry members.

Rabobank formed the board to help gain insight into issues affecting agriculture, said board member Tom Nunes Jr., president of The Nunes Co. Inc., Salinas, Calif.

“We had our first meeting in February to help improve their loan practices,” he said. “I learned a lot about banking, about Rabo, its structure and how they do their loans.”

Milo Ferini Jr. is also a new board member. He is co-founder of and partner in Santa Maria, Calif.-based Betteravia Farms, Bonita Packing Co. and Bonipak Produce Inc.

Nunes said the board includes people from 10 states.

“Everybody had their own concerns about the economy, the subprime mortgages and how that will affect the banking industry,” he said. “Their focus is loaning to ag companies. Rabo is making a big play into California, and they want to continue to grow in the state.”

He said he wanted to be on the board to learn more about the banking industry.

“The more knowledge I can get the better businessman I can become,” he said. “I think I can be a good sounding board for them.”

Bonipak, Nunes execs become Rabobank advisers