ABA National Agricultural Bankers Conference

November 9-12, 2014 • Omaha, NE


Overview  |  Registration/Fees  |  Program  |  Venue  |  Activities  |  Exhibitors and Sponsors

2013 Program (2014 Program Coming Soon)

Sunday, November 10
12:00 pm–6:30 pm Registration Open
1:00 pm–5:00 pm Global Cash Flow, Stress Testing Your Portfolio, Shortcuts to Accrual, and a Whole Lot of Shaking with Dr. David M. Kohl

Robert H. Craven, Director, Center for Farm Financial Management, Professor, Dept. of Applied Economics, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN
David M. Kohl, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech, AgriVisions, LLC, Blacksburg, VA

Want to meet other agricultural banking professionals from around the country who aspire to be top dogs? Looking for some additional ag credit making insight? We are excited to offer a special FREE preconference, hosted by the FINPACK team from the University of Minnesota. Major ag banking topics will include, “See the Whole Picture with Global Cash Flow”, “Shortcuts to Accrual”, and “Stress Testing your Portfolio”. In addition to these awesome learning sessions, Dave Kohl joins the FINPACK team for a “Shake it Up” session where he will add his thoughts on these topics and get all attendees involved.
This is a session that will have takeaways for everyone! See you there!

6:00 pm–7:00 pm Opening Reception

Monday, November 11
7:00 am–5:00 pm Registration Open
7:00 am–8:00 am Continental Breakfast
8:00 am–10:00 am Conference Chairman’s Welcome
Kreg D. Denton, Senior Vice President, First Community Bank, Fancy Farm, KY

Minnesota Bankers Association Welcome
Joe Witt, President & CEO, Minnesota Bankers Association, Eden Prairie, MN

ABA Chairman’s Welcome
Jeff Plagge, ABA Chairman Elect, President & CEO, Northwest Financial Corp, Arnolds Park, IA

Do the Good Times Continue to Roll?
Jason R. Henderson, Associate Dean and Director of Purdue Extension and Brent Gloy, Director of the Center for Commercial Agriculture, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

Purdue University economists Jason Henderson and Brent Gloy were a sensation last year when they talked about the current boom in the farm economy and compared it to the past. They will open the conference this year with additional research including what Henderson is calling the “agricultural wealth effect”. Find out if we are at the turning point in this economy and connect the dots between the past booms in the agricultural economy and the present one. There really is no “new” normal when you consider what is happening today – we have been to this rodeo before.

10:00 am–10:30 am Coffee Break
10:30 am–11:30 am Concurrent Workshop Sessions I
Managing Ag Credit Concentration

Ray E. Smith, President, First National Bank in Philip, Philip, SD
Dan Olson, Vice President, Farmers and Merchants State Bank of Springfield, Springfield, MN
Tim Vanderwal, Ag Loan Officer, The Wanda State Bank, Wanda, MN

Many banks have a high concentration in ag lending. Learn how these highly concentrated ag banks prepare for the worst while enjoying the best of times. Find out about their risk mitigation strategies, how they manage regulators and how they utilize the secondary market. If you have “big” ag on your books, this is a session you will want to attend.

Boom Town Banking in the Bakken

Moderator: Bob Humann, Senior Vice President, Lending Services, Bank of North Dakota, Bismarck, ND
Dale Patten, President, McKenzie County Bank, Watford City, ND

Hear from bankers in the heart of the BAKKEN oil shale talk about the opportunities and challenges to managing it all. Other states in the US may well have shale which holds the oil that will be developed down the road sometime. Find out how lending staff decide which companies to do business with and how to underwrite loans to minimize risk to banks. You’ll learn how banks address concentrations pertaining to oil related industries and the impact it has in the community on housing, schools, healthcare and the like.

Selling Ag Up: Inside the Bank

Samuel J. Miller, Managing Director, Group Head Agricultural Banking, BMO Harris Bank, Appleton, WI
Roger E. Sturdevant, Executive Vice President, Bank of the West, Fresno, CA
Neal Crapo, Head of Eastern Food and Agri-Business, Wells Fargo Bank, Charlotte, NC

Ag lending is an important part of commercial lending. However, within the bank, it may not always seem that way. Growing bank ag lending divisions are gaining success in educating the non-ag executives within the bank about what agricultural banking is and what it is not. This session will cover how three of the top ag bankers in large institutions overcome obstacles, defend their departments, and dedicate themselves to the constant education of management about what works in agricultural banking, and designing strategies that win.

The Bigger the Dream, the Bigger the Risk

Mark Gold, CEO, Top Third Ag Marketing, LLC, Chicago, IL

Join 15-year veteran ABA speaker Mark Gold as he attempts to “analyze” farmers’ dreams to help them avoid a nightmare. Find out what you, the agricultural lender, need to help minimize portfolio risk, and maintain strong client relationships. Are the boom years in agriculture about to go bust?

11:45 am–1:25 pm Luncheon with Guest Speaker

Managing Weather Risk in 2014 and Beyond
S. Elwynn Taylor, Ph.D., Professor of Ag Meteorology, Iowa State University, Ames, IA

Dr. Taylor has observed, “Drought is a risk to U.S. agriculture. Risk is manageable and the producer that utilizes historical and forecast weather condition data can compensate for crop loss that may occur.” For more than two decades, Dr. Taylor has investigated how earth, wind, sun, and humidity interact to affect everything from the price of corn to the probability of a sunny vacation in Tahiti.

1:30 pm–2:30 pm Concurrent Workshop Sessions II
The New Century Go-Go Farmer II

Robert H. Craven, Director, Center for Farm, Financial Management, Professor, Dept. of Applied Economics, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN

An increasing number of farm operators are utilizing leverage in a manner that is similar to strategies used in the past. Do these go-go strategies work? What can go wrong? You’ll learn that leverage strategies can work well, but they demand a closer level of lender scrutiny because when go-go farm deals go bad, they can go bad big.

Growing the Next Gen Farm Customer

Moderator: David M. Kohl, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech, AgriVisions, LLC, Blacksburg, VA
Nate Franzen, President/Ag Division, First Dakota, National Bank, Yankton, SD
Bob Humann, Senior Vice President, Lending Services Bank of North Dakota, Bismarck, ND
Brad Schloesser, Dean of Agriculture, Minnesota West Community & Technical College-Jackson and South Central College, North Mankato, MN

What are the opportunities for your bank in helping the next gen farmer get into business? Are there ways you can set your bank apart from the competition? How can you increase the stickiness of the relationship? How can you help your next gen customer dream big? Is it worth your time and the bank’s resources? In addition, you will learn about unique lending programs that enable bankers in some states to structure debt differently in order to give the next gen farmer his or her best shot at success. Hear different ideas on how to structure debt and tools the lender can use to be able to successfully make these loans.

Keeping a Farm in the Family for the Next Generation: Do Your Customers Have a Succession Plan?

Ronald J. Hanson, Ph.D., Neal E. Harlan Professor of Agribusiness, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE

The entire process for mapping out a succession plan to transfer the eventual ownership of a family farm from one generation (parents) to the next generation (their adult children) can be an overwhelming task for many families. Where does this process even begin? Who makes the final decisions? What guidance can the banker provide? This presentation will outline the necessary steps to achieve a successful succession plan that avoids potential misunderstandings between family members. Ideas will be shared to help your customers work through stressful and emotional issues in a positive manner. Strategies to help you counsel your customers through this process will also be outlined.

​Big Dreams, Small Beginnings

Thomas Decock, Farm Loan Service Specialist, Farm Service Agency, St. Paul, MN

Find out what’s new at FSA, including how FSA’s exciting new direct MicroLoan and guaranteed non-traditional lender programs are opening doors for new customers!

2:30 pm–3:15 pm Refreshment Break with Exhibitors
3:15 pm–5:15 pm General Sessions
An Update on the Farm Credit System

Joe Witt, President & CEO, Minnesota Bankers Association, Eden Prairie, MN
Bert Ely, Ely & Company, Alexandria, VA

What would your marketplace look like if you had a $250 billion competitor that was looking at the exact same loans you look at? If you are in agricultural lending, you have such a competitor, the federal Farm Credit System. In 2012 the combined System made $4.5 billion and paid an astonishing 5.12% in combined local, state, and federal taxes. Noted and widely quoted financial analyst, Bert Ely, author of the Farm Credit Watch, and Minnesota Bankers Association President and CEO Joe Witt will discuss the current state of the FCS, what it is focusing on, and where they see it headed in the future.

Does Farm Policy Still Matter?

Barry L. Flinchbaugh, Ph.D., Professor, Agricultural Economics, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS

The most widely respected practitioner of farm policy in a generation will address the topic, “Does Farm Policy Still Matter”? Dr. Flinchbaugh has devoted his entire working career to the study of federal farm policy and has left an indelible impression on the farm policy that has come out of Washington for many decades. This year the Grand Old Man of Farm Policy will talk about the future direction of federal farm policy. Does farm policy still matter? Has 80 years of policy “cured” farming’s dependence on federal support? What is left to fight over in light of future federal austerity? Sure to be a conference highlight as Professor Flinchbaugh takes the stage once again to set the record straight.

5:15 pm–6:15 pm Reception with Exhibitors

Tuesday, November 12
7:00 am–4:30 pm Registration Open
7:00 am–8:15 am Continential Breakfast with Exhibitors
7:15 am–8:25 am Outlook Tuesday Commodity Sessions

Gary D. Schnitkey, Professor, Agricultural and Consumer
Economics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL

Land Values
Michael Duffy, Ph.D., Professor of Economics, Iowa State University, Ames, IA,
Dale Aupperle, ARM, ARA, Heartland Ag Group, Ltd., Forsyth, IL

Matthew A. Diersen, Ph.D., Wheat Growers Scholar in Agribusiness Management, Professor, Department of Economics, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD

Crop Inputs
Michael R. Rahm, Vice President, Market and Strategic Analysis, The Mosaic Company, Plymouth, MN

Our ever popular Tuesday morning round up of economic outlook for the most important commodities in agriculture today! Have a coffee and “graze" the sessions for the most up to date economic outlook --- this is information you will need for the 2012 lending season.

8:30 am–10:00 am General Session
“You Can’t Dream Big Enough”

Orion Samuelson, Author

Orion Samuelson is the best-known farm broadcaster in the country. Orion Samuelson has been heard over Chicago’s WGN since 1960 providing the Midwest farmer with agricultural news and information. Samuelson is heard over a syndicate of 260 stations airing his National Farm Report daily and with Samuelson Sez, a weekly series allowing Samuelson to offer opinions and observations on the agricultural community. Since 1975, he has produced and hosted U.S. Farm Report, a weekly television program seen on 190 Midwest stations. In this session, The “Big O” will talk about his career, his passion for agriculture, and the many people he has gotten to know as the Voice of American Agriculture.

Bruning Award Presentation

10:00 am–10:30 am Coffee Break
10:30 am–11:30 am Workshop Sessions III
There is More Debt Out There Than You Think

Allen Featherstone, Ph.D., Professor, Agricultural Economics, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS

The February 2013 Economist had this to say about our presenter, “Some hopeful people…argue that farm debt has not soared as it did in previous farm booms. Others point out that the picture is patchier. Allen Featherstone… has studied farms within the Kansas Farm Management Association. He found that in 2010 the average debt-to-asset ratio was higher than it was in 1979. If commodity prices take a dive downwards, the future for some farmers will be far less golden”. Ever since Professor Featherstone released his research he has been widely quoted and widely seen as the holder of the opposing (negative) view on the farm balance sheet. This session is an opportunity for you to better understand what Dr. Featherstone is talking about.

Sharpen Your Credit Analysis Skills

Elizabeth Yeager, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Agricultural Economics, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

Please welcome Professor Yeager from Purdue to her very first National Agricultural Bankers Conference. She brings a wealth of insight to the credit analysis process and will help you tighten up your flabby credit analysis skills set.

Stress Testing Your Portfolio. Is It Important? How?

Kreg D. Denton, Senior Vice President, First Community Bank, Fancy Farm, KY
Delynn Barton, Executive Vice President, State Bank of Southern Utah, Cedar City, UT
Mike Firestine, SVP and Senior Agricultural Loan Officer, Fulton Bank, Lebanon, PA
Jim Schipper, Superintendent of Banking, Iowa Division of Banking, Des Moines, IA

Stress testing in these volatile times has become the fashionable term for credit risk managers and their examiners. A distinguished panel of agricultural bankers from around the country will join with the Superintendent of Banking for the Iowa Division of Banking to discuss this topic. Do quality stress testing techniques have to be complicated in order to be effective? How does one perform an adequate stress test? Did any of the panelists learn something they did not know before conducting a stress test on their portfolio? How did our panelists meet the demands of management and their regulators while constructing a stress test for their agricultural loan portfolio? Join our panelists as we delve deeper into these questions and more.

Producers and Bankers – Finding the Appropriate Level of Reporting

Steve Thorson, Partner, CliftonLarsonAllen, LLP, Austin, MN

Bankers have a need to support their credit decisions with financial reports. They need to understand the reporting that will satisfy their needs and they also need to understand what level of reporting is possible for the borrower to deliver. Our speaker will address the various service levels of accounting assistance and reporting available from a CPA. He will also discuss the appropriateness of those service levels for the particular circumstances of the banker as well as the financial and accounting capabilities of the borrower.

11:45 am–1:25 pm Luncheon with Guest Speaker

Feeding and Fueling a Growing World

Joe Taets, SVP and President of Agricultural Services, Archer Daniels Midland Co., Decatur, IL

Find out what role American agriculture plays in feeding and fueling a growing world. The speaker will share his insightful view of how global agriculture can expand to meet the food, feed, fuel and fiber needs of a growing global population. Participants will gain greater insight into where agriculture is heading from a different perspective. The key take away from this session will be that innovative ideas can work, investments and new partnerships need to be developed, and how the ag banking industry can play a role.

1:30 pm–2:30 pm Workshop Sessions IV
​It’s 4th and 7: Do you have a play for a rising rate environment?

Marvin Kimm, Senior Vice President, Pioneer Bank, Mapleton, MN
Alan Forristall, Market President, Midland States Bank, Princeton, IL
Bill Medley, National Sales Manager, Agrifinancial Services, Louisville, KY

Establishing a strong field position now will give you the most options when the economy makes unexpected future turns. A well-designed game plan will make a difference. A good offense can be the best defense in today’s ag lending environment. Learn from Farmer Mac staff and its coaches’ panel of three veteran bankers for a play-by-play description using key elements of Farmer Mac’s playbook to assist your bank and its customers. While Farmer Mac allows you to “go long” in rates to farmers and ranchers, you’ll learn from this panel about the advantages in store for your bank as well. It’s Farmer Mac’s 25th anniversary. Come learn why we continue to set records.

Growing the Next Gen Ag Banker

Ronald J. Hanson, Ph.D., Neal E. Harlan Professor of Agribusiness, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE
Curt Covington, Senior Vice President/Senior Risk Manager, Bank of the West, Fresno, CA
Deborah K. Gates, CAE, Administrative Vice President, South Dakota Bankers Association, Pierre, SD

Good ag bankers are becoming a scarce item these days. It is becoming more and more difficult to find qualified lenders in the industry and training within institutions is often limited. This panel with discuss resources that are available to help train up the next gen ag bankers, and why banks should pay more attention to training young, interested bankers who might not be from the traditional “aggie camp” for future success of the institution in the ag lending space.

What is Global Cash Flow and Why is it Important?

Wynn Richardson, Extension Economist, Center for Farm Financial Management, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN
Michael Bonnett, Vice President, Sr. Manager, Ag. Credit Center, BMO Harris Bank, Brookfield, WI

The phrase “Global Cash Flow” has become a popular term used increasingly by banks, their customers, and the regulators. What is everyone talking about? The ability for individuals, business owners, and banks to truly understand how all competing demands on a borrower’s cash can be met is crucial to successful lending. Learn more about the concept and hear how global cash flow can identify weak links between multiple entities and how this type of analysis works in the real world.

Dreaming Big Beyond U.S. Borders

Nate Franzen (Mod.), President/Ag Division, First Dakota National Bank, Yankton, SD
Ajai Nair, AgriFin, Program Coordinator, The World Bank, Washington, DC
Maria Pagura, AgriFin Head Knowledge and Networks Program The World Bank, Washington, D.C.
Roy Parizat, AgriFin Project Manager, The World Bank, Washington, D.C.
Kashif Thanvi, GM and Head of Rural Finance, Habib Bank Limited (HBL) Pakistan

The World Bank is dreaming big in its effort to end extreme poverty by 2030. A major part of realizing this dream is enhancing agriculture in developing countries. And a key means of achieving those goals is developing a vibrant agricultural banking sector within these countries. Learn about AgriFin, a special World Bank initiative, and its effort to assist commercial banks in developing countries expand their agriculture finance expertise and operations. Find out how you can contribute your knowledge and insights to AgriFin's efforts.

2:30 pm–3:00 pm Refreshment Break with Exhibitors
3:00 pm–4:00 pm General Session
Communicating Agriculture’s Message

Moderator: Tom Bengtson, Northwestern Financial Review, Minneapolis, MN
Chris Clayton, Ag Policy Editor, DTN/The Progressive Farmer, Omaha, NE
Charlene Finck, Senior Vice President, Farm Journal Media, Mexico, MO
Thomas Gahm, Senior Vice President, FLM, Wayzata, MN
Mark Gale, CEO, Charleston/Orwig, Hartland, WI 

Everyone who attends the conference this year helps in some way to link agriculture to a world that is increasingly suspicious about what exactly happens down on the farm these days. We have assembled a panel of communicators who are helping agriculture tell its story to an increasingly urbanized audience. Food, fuel and fiber production is a complex business these days and we have asked our panelists to tell us if the way agriculture communicates with the world today is keeping up with that complexity.

5:00 pm–6:00 pm Reception with Exhibitors

Wednesday, November 13
7:00 am–11:00 am Registration Open
7:00 am–8:00 am Continential Breakfast
8:00 am–10:15 am General Sessions
Global Economic Outlook

Michael Swanson, Ph.D., Ag Economist-Senior Vice President, Wells Fargo Bank N.A., Bloomington, MN

Dr. Michael Swanson, a nationally known agricultural economist and financial consultant has been with Wells Fargo since 2000. He is widely quoted, widely published, and is a high demand speaker who can bring economic details into sharp focus. Dr. Swanson, famous for telling audiences, “Everything is connected, we just can’t see how” and “Nothing Moves in a Straight Line” helps to wrap up the conference this year with his insightful and entertaining observations on the global economy.

Even Your Nightmares Can Be Turned into Dreams

David M. Kohl, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Virginia Tech, AgriVisions, LLC, Blacksburg, VA

The “retired” professor is now traveling more than ever. The guy at the Hertz counter in Omaha knows Dave Kohl. The Holiday Inn Express in Walla Walla has a Dave Kohl Suite. TSA has a special Dave Kohl only line at major airports. Dave Kohl has 1.25 million hits on Google. Dave Kohl was considered for the Dos Equis commercials but he was too busy. And on and on. Returning for his uncountable consecutive time we welcome Dr. David M. Kohl back to Minneapolis. This year we asked Dr. Kohl to answer this simple question: “Where are we headed, and when will we get there?"

10:15 am–10:30 am Coffee Break
10:30 am–11:30 am Closing General Session

No Place but UP!

Lance S. Fox, Author, New London, WI

Since climbing Mt. Everest in 2009, Lance Fox has shared his story of adventure with over 20,000 people and has inspired many to identify their own “Everest,” that dream that lives in all of us. He shares the importance of dreaming and pursuing your goals with passion. Fox believes that while everyone will face challenges large and small, triumph will come from how you cope with it and ultimately what you learn from it. Fox will share amazing photos of his journey to the world’s highest point and the importance of staying focused on the goals ahead. This session will be a conference highlight!

11:30 am Conference Adjourns

*Note: program subject to change.


Program Questions? Please contact Cynthia Watkins for more information.