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2021 Schedule

All times are in ET.

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  • Sunday, Nov 14

  • Monday, Nov 15

  • Tuesday, Nov 16

  • Wednesday, Nov 17

Sunday, Nov 14

9:30 am — 11:30 am

Guaranteed Lender Meeting hosted by Farmer Mac Pre-registration required.

12:00 pm — 6:30 pm

Conference Registration Open

1:00 pm — 4:30 pm


Speeding Ahead: Fasten Your Seatbelts, Sponsored by FINPACK & Farmer Mac

FINPACK and Farmer Mac are teaming up again to offer an action packed pre-conference session on Sunday afternoon.  It will focus on where your customers are come November and the prospects for 2022. There will be a discussion of best practices and take homes for managing the risk in this uncharted landscape. Dr. David Kohl will be back with his view from the road.


  • Robert H. Craven, Director, Center for Farm Financial Management, Professor, Dept. of Applied Economics, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN
  • Dale Nordquist, Economist Center for Farm Financial Management, Professor, Dept. of Applied Economics, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN
  • Jackson Takach, Chief Economist and Head of Strategy, Research, and Analytics, Farmer Mac, Washington, DC
  • David M. Kohl, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Agricultural Finance and Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship, Virginia Tech, AgriVisions, LLC, Blacksburg, VA
  • Pauline Van Nurden, Economist, Center for Farm Financial Management, Professor, Dept. of Applied Economics, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN

3:00 pm — 4:00 pm

Spouse/Companion Hospitality Suite Open

5:00 pm — 5:30 pm

Women in Ag Banking Meet & Greet

6:00 pm — 7:00 pm

Grand Opening Reception

Monday, Nov 15

7:00 am — 5:00 pm

Registration Open

7:00 am — 8:00 am

Continental Breakfast

7:00 am — 8:00 am


Sponsored by Abrigo: Increasing the Yield on your Ag Portfolio

Learn how to assign credit risk to ag loans, how to effectively price for the risk embedded in these deals, and how to enhance product features to protect net interest margin for your financial institution. This session will also look at the current ag economy and what is driving loan demand. Sponsored by Abrigo.

  • Rob Newberry, Senior Advisor, Advisory Services

8:00 am - 9:00 am


Conference Chair's Welcome


  • Dave A. Coggins, Executive VP – Chief Banking Officer, Investors Community Bank, Manitowoc, WI

Ohio Bankers League Welcome


  • Michael J. Adelman, President and CEO, Ohio Bankers League, Columbus, OH

ABA Chair Welcome and ABA President & CEO Welcome


  • A. Scott Anderson, ABA Chair and President and Chief Executive Officer, Zions Bank, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Rob Nichols, President and CEO, American Bankers Association, Washington, DC

9:00 am — 10:00 am


Management Lessons Learned from the COVID-19 Pandemic

From the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations of every size and scope have reevaluated how they operate. We have all learned important lessons during this pandemic including how to work remotely, manage our workforce through difficult times, and making tough decisions like when and how to reopen. As we begin to look towards the future, our panel of CEOs will have an open discussion about what working during the pandemic has taught us, best practices going forward, and how as an industry we will need to approach new workplace realities.


  • Rob Nichols (Moderator), President & CEO, American Bankers Association, Washington, DC
  • A. Scott Anderson, ABA Chair and, President and Chief Executive Officer, Zions Bank, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Shan L. Hanes, President/CEO, Heartland Tri-State Bank, Elkhart, KS
  • Nathan Franzen, President, Ag Banking Division, First Dakota National Bank, Yankton, SD

10:00 am — 10:45 am

Coffee Break with Exhibitors

10:45 am — 11:45 am


You Have To Look Back Before You Can Move Forward

Join veteran ABA speaker Mark Gold for a look back at this year’s bull market and how to apply marketing lessons learned to next year’s marketing. Learn what is controlling the markets and how to use that information to improve marketing skills. You can be proactive with your clients and help them do a better job of marketing. Let Mark tell you how. 


  • Mark Gold, Managing Partner, Top Third Ag Marketing, LLC, Chicago, IL  

The Changing Landscape of the Dairy Industry

Hear the latest dairy industry trends that will matter significantly in the years ahead. Learn key on-farm trends and explore important questions related to the demand landscape, both at home and around the world.


  • Phil Plourd, President, Blimling and Associates, Inc., Madison, WI

New Ag Banker Track: Rules of Engagement in Selling

A lender should have rules for deciding whether to pursue a prospect. We call these the rules of engagement. When followed, the rules lead to more favorable outcomes and less time wasted chasing prospects that can never be caught. Learn the three big questions that will help determine whether a prospect qualifies, why a stage-based sales process will help win more business, and how to create your own rules of engagement.


  • Mark Trinkle, Chief Growth Officer, Anthony Cole Training Group, Cincinnati, OH

FSA Guaranteed Loans – Where Do We Go From Here?

Join the Farm Service Agency’s management team for a discussion on current issues and key changes planned for their Guaranteed loan program.  Bring your questions and your suggestions.


  • Zach Ducheneaux, Administrator, Farm Service Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC
  • Steven K. Ford, Senior Loan Officer, Guaranteed Loan Branch, Farm Service Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC
  • Nicole Massey, Senior. Loan Officer, Guaranteed Loans , Farm Service Agency, Washington, DC
  • Timothy Reimer (Tim), Senior Loan Officer, Guaranteed Loan Branch, Farm Service Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC

11:45 am — 11:55 am

Innovation Showcase


  • Jennifer McWilliams, Account Executive, Abrigo
  • Cameron Burford, AQUAOSO Technologies, PBC

11:55 am — 1:25 pm


Agricultural Trade Outlook: Careful What You Wish For, You Might Just Get It

In 2020, bulk commodity net exports in dollars tied for an all-time record thanks to robust Chinese demand and higher grain and oilseed prices. Every other category set new record deficits building a worsening trend for U.S. food and agricultural categories. Has the U.S. lost its competitiveness in everything but grains and oilseeds?  Will that weakness spread to other agricultural commodities?  Hear how producers and agribusinesses can plan their strategies.


  • Michael Swanson, PhD, Senior Vice President, Agricultural Economist & Consultant, Wells Fargo & Company, Minneapolis, MN

1:30 pm — 2:30 pm


Patience & Perseverance: The New Ag Economy and Actions that Can Define Success or Failure

Examine future challenges within the ag economy and actions that can define success or failure both on the farm and in the bank. Hear viewpoints on today’s economy, where we appear to be heading economically, and best practices to consider for sustained viability. Learn what disruptors we need to watch, traits and habits of “gold vs. lead,” and Dr. Kohl’s outlook on the ag economy.


  • Doug Johnson, Director, Sales Management, Moody’s Analytics, Omaha, NE 
  • David M. Kohl, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Agricultural Finance and Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship, Virginia Tech, AgriVisions, LLC, Blacksburg, VA

Alternative Financial Tools – Hedging with Interest Rate Swaps

Interest rate risk is a normal aspect of risk management in agriculture financing and one that can be easily managed with access to long-term fixed rates.  Many banks do not have the ability to offer long-term fixed rates to their customers without taking on more interest rate risk themselves.  The use of interest rate swaps can meet the risk management needs of both the bank and their customers.


  • Conor Ferguson, Financial Institutions – SWAP Desk, Chatham Financial, Littleton, CO
  • David J. Sweeney, CFA CPA, Managing Director-Sales, Chatham Financial, Littleton, CO

Leveraging Technology to Manage Risk

In agriculture, technology is expanding and growing at a rapid rate. In addition to FinTechs and precision agriculture, there are emerging technologies that your bank can use for risk management purposes. In this session, our panelists will discuss emerging technologies that your institution can leverage to reduce risk and help your customers. The panelists will touch on data collection in agriculture, how to better assess climate and market variability, and how technology can be used to help both bankers and producers.


  • Scott Sartor, Partner, CropLine Financial, LLC, Hernando, MS
  • Chris Peacock, CEO, Aquaoso, Denver, CO

New Ag Bankers Track (Emerging Leaders Session): The Digital-Ready Bank Leader: Banking Beyond 2021

Banks in rural and urban markets that were light-years behind the digital curve (and may not have been sure if they needed to ramp up digital engagement) began the digital transformation journey by taking massive steps following the onset of COVID-19 shutdowns across the country.  We pushed consumers and businesses to digital channels because there was literally no other choice in the moment – and there is no closing Pandora’s Box now.  Find out how we can continue to challenge ourselves to think critically about the ways we position ourselves, our teams and our banks for success in the future to drive value in a post-pandemic world.


  • Jackson Hataway, PhD, Executive Vice President – Member Services, Missouri Bankers Association, Jefferson City, MO

2:30 pm — 3:15 pm

Coffee Break with Exhibits

3:15 pm — 4:00 pm


Farming Innovation – A Look Toward the Future

AppHarvest is an applied technology company that develops and operates some of the world’s largest high-tech indoor farms. These farms grow produce that are free from harsh chemicals and pesticides and use up to 90 percent less water than openfield agriculture while producing yields up to 30 times that of traditional farming with no agricultural runoff. Learn about the applications of AppHarvest’s world-class technology, sustainable investment, and vision for the future of indoor farming and agriculture.


  • Johnathan Webb, Founder and CEO, AppHarvest, Morehead, KY

4:00 pm — 5:00 pm


The Wild Side of Weather

Successful production agriculture has many sources of risk, and changing weather conditions and forecasts drive much of the decision-making. Explore the best way to interpret weather forecasts (both short- and long-term) and where to go for the best data and forecasts. This session will also examine longterm trends in weather conditions to determine if there are systematic shifts in temperature and precipitation patterns that affect crop production in the U.S. and abroad.


  • Eric Snodgrass, Principal Atmospheric Scientist, Nutrien Ag Solutions, Champaign, IL

5:00 pm — 6:00 pm

Reception with Exhibitors

Tuesday, Nov 16

7:00 am — 5:00 pm

Registration Open

7:00 am — 8:15 am

Continental Breakfast With Exhibitors

7:30 am — 8:10 am
and repeated
8:10 am — 9:00 am



    • Duane Lenz, General Manager, Cattle-Fax, Centennial, CO


    • Dan Basse, President, AgResource Company, Chicago, IL


    • Steve Georgy, President, Allendale, Inc. McHenry, IL

    Land Values

    • Todd H. Kuethe, Associate Professor, Schrader Chair in Farmland Economics, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

    9:00 am — 10:15 am


    More Money, More Money, More Money: How Does Monetary Policy and Inflation Impact U.S. Agriculture?

    Inflation and interest rates have historically affected profitability and asset values in U.S. agriculture. This session will discuss the impacts of monetary policy on U.S. ag, from monetary policy trends to the prospects for inflation going forward and the financial implications.


    • Jason Henderson, PhD, Director of Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service, Senior Associate Dean of Purdue College of Agriculture, and Assistant Vice President of Engagement, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 

    The Bruning Award Presentation

    10:15 am — 11:00 am

    Coffee Break with Exhibitors

    11:00 am — 12:00 pm


    Fast Forward: What a Difference a Year Makes

    For producers in the FINBIN database, 2020 marked the best net farm income since 2012. The challenge is a signification portion was made up of government payments. What do the 2020 numbers look like? What are the expectations for 2021 and what you should be looking our for in your producers? In this session we will look at the numbers from FINBIN a summary of over 3,500 farming operations.


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

    Harvesting Your Company’s Full Potential: How Employing and Empowering Women Creates Ultimate Achievement for Everyone

    Women business leaders and lenders play a key role in moving the industry forward. Hear about the impact of women on decision-making, relationship building, and the future of ag banking. Learn strategies to broaden your team to grow your business culture and take success to the next level.


    • Mary Jayne Crocker, EVP Chief Operating Officer, Bridgewater Bank, Eden Prairie, MN
    • Dinese L. Watson, Vice President, Ag Lending Department Manager, Merchants Bank of Indiana, Lynn, IN

    New Ag Banker Track: Credit Analysis 

    Learn the importance of credit analysis tools and their impact for the bank and customer as they strive to have a strong relationship with their financial partner.  Gain insight about the resources available to ag bankers as they manage the risk profile of each relationship.


    • Anthony “Tony” Hotchkiss, Executive Vice President, Director of Agricultural Banking, Regions Bank, Clayton, MO

    Regulator’s Panel: Regulations and Their Impact on Agricultural and Rural Banks

    Representatives from the OCC and FDIC will offer their views on the implementation of recent regulations and the impact on banking, specifically agricultural and rural lending now and in the future.


    • Edwin “Ed” Elfmann, (Mod.), Senior Vice President, Agriculture and Rural Banking Policy, American Bankers Association, Washington, DC
    • Jason Joy, Risk and Operations Officer, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency – Midsize and Community Bank Supervision, Central District, Chicago, IL 
    • Christopher J. Newbury, CFA, Deputy Regional Director, Division of Risk Management Supervision, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Chicago, IL

    12:00 pm — 1:25 pm


    An Insightful Look at the Future of Agriculture

    Get the latest on what’s going on in food production, consumer preference, world demand, technological advances in genetics, efficiency, environmental stewardship, and much more.


    • Rob Dongoski, Partner, Global Food and Agribusiness Industry Leader, Ernst and Young LLP, Chicago, IL

    1:30 pm — 2:30 pm


    New Ag Bankers Track:  Things to Know When Your Client Approaches Mediation

    This session will help you identify key issues important to the borrower so that resolution can be reached.  It will also address the acknowledgement of emotions that accompany the financially challenged farm borrower.


    • Joseph Peiffer, Founder, Ag & Business Legal Strategies, Cedar Rapids, IA

    Evaluating Green Energy Opportunities

    The energy industry is undergoing a transition from fossil-based production and consumption toward less carbon intensive sources.  Enhanced manure management solutions that harvest the energy content to produce power and/or vehicle fuel in the form of renewable natural gas or “RNG” are playing a meaningful role in this transition.  This session will discuss the economics and deal structures being utilized to optimize the financial impact of these opportunities.


    • Michael J. Land, Senior Managing Director, Energy & Infrastructure Group, Baker Tilly Capital, LLC, Madison, WI

    Cultivating Customers – Strategies for Growing Your Producer Relationships

    Farmers are looking to community banks to deliver bold solutions to address their concerns about access to working capital and about trade and tariff uncertainty. Building on a recently published ABA whitepaper, this session examines how Farmer Mac helps banks serve farmers, ranchers, and rural communities by increasing the availability and affordability of credit, among other strategies.


    • Shan L. Hanes, President & CEO, Heartland Tri-State Bank, Elkhart, KS  
    • Heather Malcolm, Vice President of Agricultural Lending, Bank of the Rockies, Livingston, MT
    • Jackson Takach, Chief Economist, Farmer Mac, Washington, DC
    • Patrick Kerrigan (Moderator), Vice President – Business Development, Farmer Mac, Washington, DC

    What’s Next? How to Stimulate Rural Growth in a Post Pandemic Environment?

    The Biden-Harris Administration has committed to several priorities to assist in the growth of rural America namely combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, addressing climate change, and advancing equity in rural America.  This funding priority supports USDA’s commitment to helping traditionally underserved and economically challenged rural areas and the Biden-Harris Administration’s mission to help the people of rural America build back better.

    With thee pillars as a foundation, RD has continued to develop innovative ways to meet these goals and positively impact the economy in rural America. During this session, we will discuss some of our latest programs across Rural Development and how they can be used in order to address these major pillars.

    • Mark Brodziski, Assistant Administrator – Rural Business & Cooperative Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC 
    • Charles Stephens, Assistant Administrator – Water & Environmental Programs, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC 
    • Jacki Ponti-Lazaruk, Chief Innovation Officer, Rural Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC 20250
    • Aaron R. Morris, Director of Guaranteed Lending, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture

    2:30 pm — 3:15 pm

    Coffee Break with Exhibitors

    3:15 pm — 4:30 pm


    Update from Chair – ABA Ag and Rural Bankers Committee 

    • Michael J. Yackley, Branch President, Bank West, Inc. Onida, SD 

    Digital Marketing Tips & Tricks:  Telling Your Bank’s Story

    We all have a story, and sharing those stories is how we form meaningful connections with our bank customers, colleagues, and communities. You will leave Kristi’s session with tangible tips and actionable ideas to unlock the power and profit of your bank’s story to help you reach your goals!

    • Kristi Piehl, Founder & CEO, Media Minefield, Minneapolis, MN

    4:30 pm — 5:30 pm

    Farmer Mac Reception with Exhibitors

    Wednesday, Nov 17

    7:00 am — 11:00 am

    Registration Open

    7:00 am — 8:00 am

    Continental Breakfast

    7:00 am — 8:00 am


    True Grit…Defining, Developing, and Sustaining “It” from the Inside Out!

    Join us for an empowering opportunity to network, share experiences, and learn lessons on leadership and true grit. Bonnie Ayars is a dairy cattle breeder, teacher, coach, and agriculture advocate from Mechanicsburg, Ohio. Ayars and her husband, John, bred and developed Guernsey herds with the Land of Living prefix and then added the partnership of New View Swiss with more prize-winning cows at their farm. Ayars has been a teacher and dairy program specialist for 48 years at Ohio State University, and she works with 4-H dairy programs.


    • Bonnie Ayars, Ayars Family Farm, Mechanicsburg, OH

    8:00 am — 10:15 am


    The Blanchfield Award

    The Championship DNA for Bankers and Producers

    In his 44th year addressing this conference, Dr. Kohl will examine the economic and business trends that separate the average and good performers from the great. He will share perspectives and wisdom from businesses and individuals who are outstanding performers, or those with “championship DNA.


    • David M. Kohl, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Agricultural Finance and Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship, Virginia Tech, AgriVisions, LLC, Blacksburg, VA

    The New Normal for Global Supply Chains?

    Hear about the multiple supply chain issues that have affected Tyson’s business over the past 20 months and how the company has adjusted. Explore how this “new normal” continues to affect ag and other industries, creating the need for new approaches to risk management processes and mitigation planning.


    • Thomas Schaffer, Senior Director – Procurement Business & Supplier Engagement, Tyson Foods, Inc., Springdale, AR

    10:15 am — 10:30 am

    Coffee Break

    10:30 am — 11:30 am


    Never Give Up – Never Quit

    Get inspired by Travis’ tale of sacrifice, resilience, and family. He will share how he and his wife live their motto, “Never Give Up – Never Quit.”


    • Travis Mills, Motivational Speaker, Retired U.S. Army Staff Sergeant, Quadruple Amputee, "New York Times" Best-Selling Author, Founder – Travis Mills Foundation

    11:30 am

    Conference Adjourns

    This program is subject to change. Please bookmark this page to check for continuing updates. Read ABA Conference and School Policies to help answer additional questions.