For more than 24 years as the president and CEO of AgStar Financial Services, Paul DeBriyn has directed the company to serve rural America by providing financing, counsel and other services to those who feed, service and fuel the world.
DeBriyn graduated from Thief River Falls High School in 1973 and received his degree in Agricultural Business Administration from the University of Minnesota in 1977. He began his career at the St. Paul Bank for Cooperatives and in the early 1980s became involved in joint management functions for two additional banks. In 1987, he became president and CEO of the Mankato-based Farm Credit Services of Southeastern Minnesota, which evolved into today’s AgStar.
At the time, the Minnesota agricultural economy—like many others nationally— was in a deep recession, creating an adversarial environment for lenders and their farm clients. Despite these difficult circumstances, DeBriyn built successful relationships with farm organizations and concerned stockholder groups and found common ground from which mutual trust and respect arose.
As a result of his leadership and tireless efforts, DeBriyn took the business from nearly a $30 million deficit in 1987 to a positive position of $745 million in capital today. As one of the largest associations in the Farm Credit System with over 600 employees, AgStar conducts business nationwide with more than 25,000 farmers, agribusinesses and rural residents.
DeBriyn is committed to strengthening connections between agriculture, the rural economy and the health of rural communities. The AgStar Fund for Rural America, created in 2001, has given more than $3 million to grants and scholarships supporting education, essential community facilities, county fairs, rural technology and environmental needs.
In addition to his work at AgStar, DeBriyn volunteers in leadership positions at the Minnesota Agri-Growth Council and the University of Minnesota. In 2010, he concluded ten years of service as a Farmer Mac Board member and also served on various subcommittees on that board. He also has served on the Minnesota Agriculture and Rural Leadership Council.