ABA National Agricultural Bankers Conference

October 25-28, 2015  •  Kansas City​ Marriott Downtown & Kansas City Convention Center  •  Kansas City, MO

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


Sunday  |  Monday  |  Tuesday  |  Wednesday  |  New Ag Banker Track

Sunday, October 25
12:00 pm–6:30 pm Registration Open
1:00 pm–5:00 pm Pre-Conference Seminar: Credit Impacts of the Commodity Price Rollercoaster – Are you Strapped In?
  • Robert H. Craven, Director, Center for Farm Financial Management, Professor, Dept. of Applied Economics, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN
  • Dale W. Nordquist, Assistant Director, Center for Farm Financial Management, Department of Applied Economics, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN
  • Curt Covington, Senior Vice President, Farmer Mac, Washington, D.C.
  • Jackson Takach, Economist, Farmer Mac, Washington, D.C.​
  • David M. Kohl, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA​
What will the next turn, dip, or roll in the commodity price rollercoaster bring? This action packed pre-conference session will focus on helping you evaluate the impacts on your farm customers with an emphasis on managing risk in your portfolio during these uncertain times. We will take a look at the financial picture for your current customers, look at the impact of this current downturn on a typical community bank, and talk about best practices for helping your customers adjust with a focus on credit management. Dr. David Kohl will join in with his view from the road and his vast experience going back to previous times of financial stress.

The session will have takeaways for everyone, even if you do not use FINPACK or Farmer Mac.
3:00 pm–4:00 pm Spouse/Companion Hospitality Suite Open
6:00 pm–7:00 pm Grand Opening Reception

Monday, October 26
7:00 am–5:00 pm Registration Open
7:00 am–8:00 am Continental Breakfast
8:00 am–10:00 am Opening General Sessions
    • Conference Chairman's Welcome
      Michael Hilderbrand, First Vice President, Gothenburg State Bank, Gothenburg, NE

    • Missouri Bankers Association Welcome
      Max Cook, President & CEO, Missouri Bankers Association, Jefferson City, MO

    • ABA Chairman-Elect Welcome
      R. Daniel Blanton, ABA Chairman-Elect, Chief Executive Officer, Georgia Bank & Trust, Augusta, GA
    10:00 am–10:30 am Coffee Break
    10:30 am–11:30 am Workshop Series I
    • Positioning Your Clients To Embrace Volatility
      Mark Gold, Managing Partner, Top Third Ag Marketing, LLC, Chicago, IL

      Are your clients managing risk, or just speculating? Join 17-year veteran ABA speaker, Mark Gold, and learn what techniques can be utilized by your clients to embrace the volatility in today’s markets. This discussion will focus on futures, options and cash sales to help your clients become better marketers. Learn how taking a unique approach to marketing can help your clients be in position today, so they can take advantage of whatever happens tomorrow. Mark will also present a marketing plan for 2015 and 2016 crops and livestock.

    • How to Engage with your Member of Congress and Make a Difference Back Home
      Moderator: Ed Elfmann, Vice President, Congressional Relations and Political Affairs, American Bankers Association, Washington, D.C.

      Why is it important for you, as a banker, especially an agricultural banker, to engage with your Member of Congress? What are the key issues of the day in D.C.? In this session, you will learn why you need to engage with your Member of Congress at the grassroots level and how that adds value to those working on your behalf in D.C. The session will focus on the issues of the day and how you can effectively bring those issues forward to your Member of Congress.
    • New Ag Banker Track​: Navigating Through Difficult Times – Lessons Worth Learning from the 80s
      B.A. Donalson, Retired Banker, Amarillo, TX
      Tom Langemeier, Bank Iowa, Shenandoah, IA
      Michael D. Bahl, Agricultural Banking Manager, Wells Fargo Bank NA, Owatonna, MN
    11:45 am–1:25 pm Luncheon with Guest Speaker: Managing Weather Risk
    E​ric Snodgrass, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of Atmospheric Sciences​, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL

    Variability in the weather adds significant uncertainty in all aspects of agricultural production. Historically, our approach to dealing with adverse weather was reactionary, but using advanced, modern weather analysis and forecasting techniques can give you the predictive analytic power to better understand your customers risk environment. In this session, our speaker, who is currently researching weather risk involving global agricultural yield projections and land-falling tropical cyclones, will provide the winter 2015-16 forecast as well as a look into the 2016 growing season and how climate change may impact agriculture over the next 50-years.​
    1:30 pm–2:30 pm Workshop Series II
    • Are Your Clients Your Champions or Your Critics?
      Nate Franzen, President/Ag Division, First Dakota National Bank, Yankton, SD
      Shan L. Hanes, President and Chief Executive Officer, First National Bank of Elkhart, Elkhart, KS
      Bradley J. Guse, Vice President, BMO Harris Bank N.A., Marshfield, WI

      How do you set yourself apart from your competition? What will it take to survive and thrive as an Ag Banker in the future? This session we will dive into both the challenges and opportunities of bringing expanded value to your customers. Our panel of experienced ag bankers will share their ideas, best practices and strategies on how to build better relationships with your customers and grow retention in an increasingly competitive environment.

    • The Road Ahead in Ag: "Don’t Forget What We Know…”
      Doug Johnson, Vice President, Client Account Management, WebEquity Solutions, Omaha, NE​
      Mike Pearson, Host, Market to Market

      There’s been a LOT of “borrower profitability” expectations that have needed to be reset this year, both inside the bank and externally with our customers. Let’s recap this past years renewals and talk about Lessons Learned, and talk about what we anticipate coming in the next few years.

    • Financing Complex Multiple Entity Businesses
      James Neeld, The Katz Law Firm, Overland Park, KS

    • New Ag Banker Track: Know Your Documentation – The Top 10 Things Every Banker Needs to Know
      Meg Killian, Senior Counsel, Wells Fargo Bank, Minneapolis, MN

      All bankers need to explain documentation to their customers while being mindful of what’s important to your customer and the bank. There are so many items contained in the documents where do you look to get the information across to a customer in a clear and concise manner? In this session, learn the top 10 things you need to look for.
    2:30 pm–3:15 pm Refreshment Break and Exhibit Hall Preview
    3:15 pm–5:15 pm General Sessions
    • Economic Outlook
      Michael Swanson, Ph.D., Ag Economist-Senior Vice President, Wells Fargo Bank N.A., Bloomington, MN​

    • The Professor “Prophets”
      David M. Kohl, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
      Barry L. Flinchbaugh, Ph.D., Professor, Agricultural Economics, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS

      The professor prophets will apply their combined century of wisdom and experience to an open forum of the most commonly asked questions by agricultural bankers, producers and industry leaders, moderated by banker leaders. Conference attendees will have an opportunity to submit questions for the professors. Don’t miss this “once in a blue moon” special opportunity to engage with Drs. Flinchbaugh and Kohl, who have interacted with U.S Presidents and the Queen, attended Congress and Parliament, been in every state capitol and traversed the small towns, farms and ranches of America. This informative, enlightening and entertaining session is guaranteed to create thunder on the Plains.
    5:15 pm–6:15 pm Reception with Exhibitors

    Tuesday, October 27
    7:00 am–5:00 pm Registration Open
    7:00 am–8:15 am Continental Breakfast with Exhibitors
    7:15 am–8:25 am
    Outlook Tuesday! (Commodities Session)
    • Farmland Values
      Michael Duffy, Ph.D., Professor of Economics (Emeritus), Iowa State University, Ames, IA

    • Crops
      Darrell Holaday, Advanced Market Concepts, Wamego KS

    • Dairy
      Marin Bozic, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Dairy Foods Marketing Economics, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN

    • Pork
      Christopher A. Hurt, Ph.D., Professor of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
    8:30 am–10:00 am General Sessions
    • ​Using Technology to Diffuse Headwinds and Sustain Profitability in Volatile Times
      John Chambers, US Technology and Agronomy Lead, Monsanto Company, St. Louis, MO

      Through breeding, biotechnology, agronomic practices and emerging technologies, hear how using technologies to maximize yields can lower risk for the farmer and their lending institution. Monsanto, considered by many to be one of the world’s most innovative agriculture companies, is focused on meeting the needs of a growing global population through agriculture by making a balanced meal accessible for families around the world and doing it in a sustainable way. In delivering a system of products that work together to address the challenges farmers face during the season and to help maximize profitability, Monsanto remains in the forefront of technological advancements in agriculture.
    10:00 am–10:30 am Coffee Break with Exhibitors
    10:30 am–11:30 am Workshop Series III
    • From Go-Go to Slow-Go: Are Your Customers Positioned to Navigate Volatile Times?
      Robert H. Craven, Director, Center for Farm Financial Management, Professor, Dept. of Applied Economics, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN

      We have turned the corner on extreme profits and high working capital for most of the ag sector. How long will the working capital last? Who are the most vulnerable producers? Can the Go-Go producers make the transition to the new cost/revenue realities?

    • Whiskey is for Drink’in but Water is for Fight’in About – How Conflicts Over Water Impact Agriculture and the Ag Economy
      Stephen D. Mossman, Mattson Ricketts, Lincoln, NE

      Conflicts over water usage are taking center stage across the nation. While water has always been primarily viewed as a State resource, increasing interstate conflicts over water as well as the ever expanding Federal role in water management means that agricultural operations and the lenders who rely on them will need to focus on how to deal with the most precious of natural resources. This topic will include discussions regarding State and Federal regulation of water, as well as interstate conflicts. In addition, it will discuss advances in technology and how that may help head off conflicts between agriculture uses of water versus municipal and environmental needs.

    • New Ag Banker Track: Making Good Loans: Fundamentals of Credit Analysis
      Freddie L. Barnard, Ph.D., Professor, Agricultural Economics, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

      This session will discuss and explore the “nuts and bolts” of credit analysis. Its focus will include some of the fundamentals of credit analysis techniques and tools, such as accrual-adjusted income statements, various ratios and comparative data sources, repayment capacity measures, withdrawals for family living and much more.
    11:45 am–1:30 pm Luncheon with Guest Speaker
    Sponsored by Farmer Mac

    Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City
    Nathan Kauffman, Assistant Vice President and Omaha Branch Executive, Omaha Branch, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Omaha, NE
    1:30 pm–2:30 pm Workshop Series IV
    • Competing for Loans in Turbulent Times
      Moderator: Patrick Kerrigan, Senior Vice President, Farmer Mac, Washington, D.C.

      In today’s unpredictable environment, banks of all sizes are successfully competing against the aggressive challenges of local competitors with the help of Farmer Mac.  In this workshop, our panel of discerning bankers will focus on strategies and tactics they use not only to retain their best farm customers, but to actively attract new customers as well. Don’t let today’s changing ag landscape hold you back from growing profits and gaining market share. Return home with new ideas for your ag lending team.​

    • The Farm CPA and Revitalizing New Farm Financial Standards
      Paul Neiffer, CPA, Principal, Agribusiness, CliftonLarsonAllen, Yakima, WA

      Paul Neiffer, Farm CPA Today blog writer and current President of the Farm Financial Standards Council will discuss impending tax reform and how it may dramatically affect your farm client’s operations. Paul will be joined by other council members to update you on current education efforts of the Council including the “Ag Finance Boot Camp” and other important information on financial guidelines that you’ll need to know to prepare for transitioning requirements ahead in tax reform.

    • New Ag Banker Track​: Distressed Agricultural Loans – How Do You Minimize Losses and Survive the Workout?
      Steven C. Turner, Baird Holm LLP, Omaha, NE

      This program will focus on the issues for lenders involved in troubled agricultural loans or bankruptcy cases. Distressed agricultural loans present unique business and legal issues. Our speaker is one of the leading practitioners of secured financing law for agricultural and agribusiness transactions in the country. He will present practical solutions and methods to maximize returns/minimize losses and “survive” the workout and or bankruptcy process. Sometimes good deals go bad. Find out what factors to look out for to minimize the impact on your bank if it happens to you.​
    2:30 pm–3:00 pm Refreshment Break with Exhibitors
    3:00 pm–5:15 pm General Sessions
    • Lenders Through the Ages: Bankers Making Bankers Better Bankers
      Moderator: David M. Kohl, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
      Caleb Hopkins, Loan Officer, Westside State Bank, Halbur, IA  
      Dinese L. Watson, Vice President, Ag Lending, Merchants Bank of Indiana, Lynn, IN
      Samuel J. Miller, Managing Director, Group Head, Agricultural Banking, BMO Harris Bank, Appleton, WI
    5:15 pm–6:15 pm Farewell Reception with Exhibitors

    Wednesday, October 28
    7:00 am–11:00 am Registration Open
    7:00 am–8:00 am Continental Breakfast
    8:00 am–10:15 am General Sessions
    • Bridging the Generational Divide – Communicating in a Transitioning Business Culture
      Sarah Gibson, Accent Learning and Consulting LLC, Stoughton, WI

      By the end of 2015, almost half of America’s full-time workforce will be 33 years old or younger. Join us as we explore how our generational differences impact communication preferences and work styles with an emphasis on how we can use our differences to unite us as a more effective work team. Specifically, we’ll focus on how to:
      • Connect most effectively with customers of all generations
      • Understand and relate to other generations in your office
      • Use unique generational strengths to build your businesses
    • “Houston, Do We Have Economic Problems?”
      David M. Kohl, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

      If you were expecting Tom Hanks to appear at this year’s Ag Bankers Conference in the heartland of Kansas, you will likely be disappointed. The session title, a famous line modified from the movie Apollo 13 is very appropriate given the current agricultural and ag lending environment.  Where will problems occur? How much of a problem is on the horizon? Only time will tell. Like the use of duct tape in Apollo 13, every problem creates opportunity for innovation. A new group of agricultural producers and bankers are transitioning into the industry. What innovative solutions will they bring to this challenging environment? Dr. Dave is no Tom Hanks, but one who can bring decades of wisdom and experience to the meeting of the minds in the middle of America as we embark upon the post-super cycle economic environment.
    10:15 am–10:30 am Coffee Break
    10:30 am–11:30 am Closing General Session
    George Brett, Kansas City Royals Vice President-Baseball Operations​

    Thirteen time All-Star, George Brett is the Kansas City Royals all-time leader in every offensive category except stolen bases. Inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame in July of 1999, Brett received 98% of the votes on the first ballot, making him the fourth-highest vote-getter in history among inductees. Currently serving as the Royals Vice President-Baseball Operations, Brett will share his inspiring story of turning challenges into opportunities and leaving his mark on America’s favorite past-time worthy of the record books.
    11:30 am Conference Adjourns

    *Program subject to change.

    Program Questions? Please contact Cynthia Watkins for more information.