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Program | Agricultural Bankers Conference


2023 Program

We’re working on this event’s program. To see the types of session you can expect, check out the 2022 program.

2022 Program

All times are in Central Time.


  • Sunday, Nov 6

  • Monday, Nov 7

  • Tuesday, Nov 8

  • Wednesday, Nov 9

Sunday, Nov 6

12:00 PM - 6:30 PM

Registration Open

1:00 PM - 4:30 PM

Hosted by FINPACK and Farmer Mac

The Price is Right: Do High Prices Equal High Profits

Learn what high prices mean for farm profitability in this cycle. This session will focus on your customers and their financial prospects for 2023 and beyond, with a discussion of best practices and takeaways for managing risk. Dr. David Kohl will also be back with his view from the road.

  • Robert H Craven, Director, Center for Farm Financial  Management Professor, Dept. of Applied Economics
  • David M. Kohl, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus, Agricultural Finance and Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship
  • Dale Nordquist, Economist, Center for Farm Financial Management Professor, Dept. of Applied Economics
  • Jackson Takach, Chief Economist and Head of Strategy, Research and Analysis Farmer Mac
  • Pauline Van Nurden, Economist, Center for Farm Financial Management Professor, Dept. of Applied Economics

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Spouse/Companion Hospitality Suite Open

5:00 PM - 5:30 PM

Women in Ag Banking Meet & Greet Reception

6:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Grand Opening Reception

Monday, Nov 7

7:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Registration Open

7:00 AM - 8:00 AM

Power Breakfast: How to Position Yourself for High-Yielding Ag Loan Growth

With rampant inflation so far in 2022, the war in Ukraine and the continued effects of the pandemic leading to rising production costs, many farm lenders expect high loan demand this year. This presents an opportunity for agriculture-focused financial institutions. In this session, we will discuss how ag-focused financial institutions are reacting to this volatile environment and how to take advantage of it to hit growth objectives.

  • Rob Newberry, Senior Advisor, Advisory Services, Abrigo

7:00 AM - 8:00 AM

Continental Breakfast

8:00 AM - 10:00 AM


Conference Chair’s Welcome

Nebraska Bankers Association Welcome

ABA Chair’s Welcome and ABA President & CEO Welcome

9:00 AM - 9:50 AM


The US Economy in 2023: Growing but Slowing

Gain a better understanding of market conditions, what may lay ahead, and why. Elliott Eisenberg, the always entertaining “Bowtie Economist,” will discuss the latest data about the current and expected condition of the U.S. economy. Hear the most recent statistics on key topics including current economic growth prospects, the likelihood of a recession, inflation, and the path of interest rates.

  • Elliot F. Eisenberg Ph.D., GraphsandLaughs, LLC

10:00 AM - 10:30 AM

Coffee Break

10:30 AM - 11:30 AM

Workshop Series I
(sessions to run concurrent)



Agricultural Leadership Development Programs — Today’s Learners, Tomorrow’s Leaders

Our panel of successful graduates from agricultural and rural leadership programs will share their experiences. For many, participation was a “life-changing experience” and “like obtaining an advanced degree.” Should you or your employees consider participating in one of these programs? Our panel may change your mind and put you on a path to leadership development.

  • Terence Hejny, Ph.D. (Moderator), Director, The Nebraska LEAD Program, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Adam F. Bruning, Loan Officer, Bruning Bank
  • Kevin Haselhorst, Senior Vice President, First Dakota National Bank
  • Nora Turner, VP Loan Operations, Union Bank and Trust
  • Lance Williams, Vice President - South Region & Guide Rock Manager, Cornerstone Bank

Where is the Farm Equipment Industry Headed?

Get an overview of advances in the agricultural equipment industry and outlook for the coming year. Our speakers will provide insight into where the industry is heading and a glimpse into new and exciting technologies emerging in the marketplace.

  • Matt Daley, President, GEA Farm Technologies

If You Want To Be Resilient Avoid The Killer D’s: Drought, Discipline, and Debt

Join Mark Gold, 2020 ABA Blanchfield Award recipient and 23-year ag lender speaker, for a breakout session discussing Drought, Discipline, and Debt. The killer D’s are responsible for more farms failures than any other causes, with the exception of poor marketing. This year has been a challenge for most farmers, but successful farming can be achieved by facing the issues head-on and knowing how to avoid the pitfalls. This session is designed for you to bring back valuable insights to your farm clients.

  • Mark Gold, Founder and Lead Strategist, Top Third Ag Marketing

New Ag Banker Track: 10 Things Your Customer Will Not Tell You

As an ag banker, you must pay close attention and ask the right questions. Like solving a mystery, some borrowers will give up information freely while others need a little push to give answers. In this session, you’ll discover the best questions to ask borrowers.

  • Nathan Frazen, President, Ag Banking Division, First Dakota National Bank
  • Sam Miller, Managing Director, Agricultural Banking, BMO Harris Bank

11:45 AM - 1:25 PM

Luncheon with Guest Speaker
Sponsored by ABA Endorsed Solutions

Our speaker, who leads Union Pacific Railroad’s marketing and sales efforts for coal, grain, grain products, wind and fertilizer, will share insights on the dynamic environment of rail transportation today, with a focus on building a sustainable future. 

  • Laura A. Heisterkamp Assistant Vice President, Bulk Marketing & Sales Union Pacific Railroad

12:20 PM - 12:30 PM

Innovations Showcase

Each industry provider has five minutes to highlight the benefits of their solutions — without the small talk. Featuring Abrigo, AQUAOSO Technologies PBC and Esri.

Sponsored by AQUAOSO Technologies PBC, Abrigo, & ESRI

12:40 PM - 1:25 PM

Today’s Rail Transportation: Focused on a Sustainable Future

With her focus on leading marketing and sales efforts for coal, grain, grain products, wind, and fertilizer for Union Pacific Railroad, our speaker will share her insights on the dynamic environment of rail transportation today with a focus on building a sustainable future.

  • Laura A. Heisterkamp, Assistant Vice President – Bulk M & S, Union Pacific Railroad

1:30 PM - 2:30 PM


Conversation with the Regulators

In this interactive session, hear what our panel of regulators have to say about agricultural lending now and in the future — and bring your questions! 

  • Joseph A. Hoge, Commercial Credit Lead Expert Midsize & Community Bank Supervision (MCBS), Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
  • John R. Jilovec, Deputy Regional Director, Division of Risk Management Supervision, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation 

USDA-Rural Development session:
How to Stimulate Rural Growth in a Post Pandemic Environment?

USDA will share its latest programs to help rural America grow its economy, combat COVID-19, address climate change and advance equity. A program participant will offer their experience with USDA RD financing and program-specific special initiatives aimed at improving the nationwide food supply chain and facilitating the infusion of federal capital in essential rural projects. 

  • Mark Brodziski, RBCS Assistant Administrator, U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Chad Parker, CF Deputy Administrator, U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Charles Stephens, WEP Assistant Administrator, U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Felica Norton, Senior Vice President, Government Lending Loan Coordinator West Town Bank & Trust
  • A. Riddick Skinner, Executive Vice President, Government Lending West Town Bank & Trust

Our Ag Outlook and Tipping Points to Watch For

Join Dr. David Kohl and Dough Johnson from Moody’s Analytics as they discuss the ag outlook and tipping points that could set us back to very difficult times. The discussion will cover the current state of the ag economy, what you need to focus on, how to help producers think about longer-term strategy, and methods to create a strong “value-added partnership” between lender and producer. You’ll leave this session with action items to take home to your bank.

  • Doug Johnson, Director – Ag Strategist, Moody’s Analytics
  • David M. Kohl, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Agricultural Finance and Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship

Emerging Leaders - New Ag Banker Track: Emerging Stronger: Refuel, Refresh, Recharge

Organizational leaders have been navigating uncertain times for over a year and many changes have occurred at an accelerated pace. As a result, leaders and employees may be reporting feelings of emotional and physical exhaustion, increased negativity, and decreased productivity, which may all be signs of burnout. The refreshing, interactive session utilizes engaging exercises to provide solutions for avoiding, recognizing, and overcoming burnout.

  • Melissa Furman, MS, DBA, Owner/Consultant, Career Potential, LLC

2:30 PM - 3:15 PM

Coffee Break with Exhibitors

3:15 PM - 4:00 PM


What is a Non-Fungible Token, and How Will It Change Agriculture in the Future?

Non-Fungible Tokens, or NFTs, are a digital asset that’s becoming a growing part of agriculture. A panel of NFT experts will help you understand the growing world of NFTs, how they are currently being used within ag, and what possible uses we may see in the future.

  • Edwin (Ed) Elfmann (Moderator), American Bankers Association
  • Rob Jennings, Chief Executive Officer, CattleProof, LLC
  • Luis Macias, CEO and Co-Founder, GrainChain.io
  • Joshua Toews, COO and Co-Founder, NGF Global and the NGF Connect Platform

4:00 PM - 4:15 PM


ABA/Farmer Mac Ag Lender Survey Results

Join ABA and Farmer Mac as we discuss the results of the 2022 ABA/Farmer Mac Agricultural Lender Survey. Learn what bankers are saying about the state of ag banking and get insights from our experts. 

  • Sayee Srinivasan, Chief Economist, American Bankers Association
  • Jackson Takach, Chief Economist and Head of Strategy, Research and Analysis, Farmer Mac

4:15 PM - 5:00 PM

Viewpoints from Movers and Shakers — New Ag Lenders Panel

Learn from what young ag lenders see as their challenges and opportunities in the ag industry. Hear their viewpoints on why they stay, what they need to succeed, how their concerns should keep you up at night as leaders in your banks, and where they see industry trends headed in the future. Listen closely as they define their passion for ag and list five key things that are important to young ag lenders who will have a major impact on your organization in the future and your legacy within the bank.

  • Doug Johnson (Co-Moderator), Director – Ag Strategist, Moody’s Analytics
  • Dinese L. Watson (Co-Moderator), Senior Vice President, Ag Lending Department Mgr., Merchants Bank of Indiana
  • Rachel Holland, Senior Vice President & Ag Loan Officer, United Bank
  • Caleb Hopkins, Chief Lending Officer, Westside State Bank
  • Dakota Shepard, Ag Loan Officer, Merchants Bank of Indiana

5:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Reception with Exhibitors
Sponsored by Acres

Tuesday, Nov 8

7:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Registration Open

7:00 AM - 8:15 AM

Continental Breakfast

7:30 AM - 8:10 AM &
8:20 AM - 9:00 AM

Outlook Tuesday! (Commodities) Sessions

Pull up a seat to hear from the top economic forecasters in the country on specific agricultural commodities. We will repeat each commodity session so you’ll be able to attend at least two out of the four sessions offered.  

Each session will be 40 minutes long so our speakers will be giving you the most up-to-date economic outlook and information right up front.  So don’t be late!

1. Beef

  • Bernt Nelson, Economist, Government Affairs American Farm Bureau Federation

2. Dairy

  • Dan Base, President, AgResource Company

3. Grains

  • Steve Georgy, President, Allendale, Inc.

4. Pork

  • Lee Schulz, Associate Professor, Department of Economics Iowa State University

9:00 AM - 10:15 AM


9:00 AM - 9:50 AM

Bracing Against Economic Crosswinds

The U.S. economy has faced a series of crosswinds throughout 2022 that have altered the path of growth and prospects for the year ahead. This session will discuss the nature of economic forces shaping the path for agriculture, businesses, and consumers, as well as how to brace for changes in 2023.

  • Nate Kauffman, Omaha Branch, Executive Vice President and Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City

9:50 AM - 10:15 AM

The Bruning Award Presentation

10:15 AM - 11:00 AM

Coffee Break with Exhibitors

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM


Protecting Your Loan Portfolio in Stressed Times

Learn how to communicate with borrowers, prospective borrowers, and other lenders as interest rates increase, ROI decreases, and stress in the ag sector rises. Gain a thorough understanding of how to transfer assets between generations, how to refinance assets subject to SBA liens from EIDL, opportunities to help ag borrowers, and collection of loans utilizing Chapter 12 bankruptcy.

  • Joseph A. Peiffer, Shareholder, Ag & Business Legal Strategies

FSA Guaranteed Loan Program: An Opportunity for Partnership and Growth

Join the Farm Service Agency leadership for an interactive session to learn how FSA Guaranteed Loans can help lenders expand their agricultural portfolio and mutually serve agricultural producers. Be sure to bring your ideas and suggestions as we also will discuss ongoing efforts to modernize and improve the program.

  • Zach Ducheneaux, Administrator Farm Service Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Matthew Henderson, Guaranteed Loan Making Branch, U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency
  • Lisa Liska, Farm Loan Specialist - Nebraska FSA,  U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Lana Musil, Branch President, First State Bank Nebraska

Hold Your Horses — How Long Will the Pasture Stay Green?

For producers in the FINBIN database, 2021 marked the best net farm income since 2012. What are the expectations for 2022 and beyond? What should you focus on with your customers? In this session, we’ll look at the numbers from over 3,300 farming operations in FINBIN.

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

New Ag Banker Track: Credit Analysis

Learn the importance of credit analysis tools, from how they affect a bank’s relationship-management risk to how they benefit customers and ensure resiliency of the banking relationship. Discover 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

12:00 PM - 1:25 PM

Lunch w/ Guest Speaker

Discovering the Hidden Opportunities for Banks to Build Communities

Rural America stands at a crossroads. Several key indicators provide concern for the future. Hear how some rural and community banks are coming together to play an active and passive role in improving the overall health of the rural economy. Learn key factors you and your bank need to know, and ways to harness leadership and assets that can buck current trends to create a better future for ag communities.

  • Andrew McCrea, Farmer, Rancher and Radio Host “American Countryside”

1:30 PM- 2:30 PM


The Growth Challenge: Strategies to Drive Results

The most successful financial institutions understand that team alignment within in a bank drives results. During this session, examine strategies that will help you differentiate yourself as a lender and differentiate your bank as a financial partner. From digital and traditional marketing initiatives to service as influence, leave with an action plan to grow your portfolio and improve your bank’s profitability.

  • Sean Payant, Ph.D., Chief Strategy Officer, Haberfeld

Regenerative Agriculture & the New Circular Economy for Rural America

Explore existing and newly discovered regenerative agriculture processes that can reduce or eliminate reliance on synthetic fertilizers. These innovations could potentially deglobalize soil nutrition and the associated cash flows and provide new opportunities for a circular economy in rural America — this session will discuss how rural financial institutions can assist in catalyzing this change.

  • Robert K. Herrington, Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer, PrairieFood™

The Next Generation of Ag Bankers Tackle a Changing Ag Economy

Learn what tools the “Next Gen” of ag lenders is using to attract new farmers and ranchers to their institutions in an environment of volatile interest rates, commodity prices, and input costs. Listen to our banker panel explain how they keep customers loyal while growing their ag lending portfolio. Both veteran and new ag bankers will return home with ideas to increase competitiveness and grow profits.

  • Bill Miller (Moderator), Business Development Manager, Farmer Mac
  • Katie Irk, Director of Marketing & Communications, CGB AgriFinancial
  • Nick Luchsinger, First Dakota National Bank, Loan Production Officer
  • Nick Malecek, Ag Banker, Minnwest Bank

New Ag Banker Track:  Crucial Conversations Using Emotional Intelligence

This session will cover the critical components of how to effectively conduct difficult conversations with customers. Get practical ways to control emotions, overcome communication barriers, and hold effective conversations that achieve desired outcomes.

  • Mike Poskey, President & CEO, ZERORISK HR

2:30 PM- 3:15 PM

Coffee Break with Exhibitors

3:15 PM - 5:00 PM


3:15 PM - 3:30 PM

Update from Outgoing Chair – ABA Ag and Rural Bankers Committee

  • Dave Coggins, Senior Vice President – Ag Banking, Nicolet National Bank

3:30 PM - 4:15 PM

Mental Health Issues – What to look for

There are many stresses for farm families in rural America such as the effects of the Pandemic, financial viability, farm succession issues and some inherent isolation and lack of accessible resources to address mental health concerns. Learn about suicide and mental health in the agricultural community and signs to look for.

  • Tony Coder, Executive Director, Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation Chair, American Association of Suicidology

4:15 PM- 5:00 PM

SPARK — Why I Am Proud to Be an Ag Banker

SPARK is your chance to enjoy short heartfelt stories from fellow ag bankers that will surely ignite your inner leader and inspire you in your career. These thoughtful exchanges will highlight why many of your colleagues across the country are proud to be ag bankers and why it’s important to celebrate resiliency in ag.

  • Fidela Irigoyen, Senior Vice President/Wells Fargo Agribusiness, Food & Hospitality Market Executive - Ag West
  • Heather Malcolm, Vice President, Bank of the Rockies
  • Keith Phillips, Senior Vice President, The First Bank and Trust Company
  • Jason R. Smith, Market President, F&M Bank
  • Jason VanLanduit, Vice President - Senior Loan Officer, Central Bank Illinois
  • Moderator: Dinese L. Watson, Senior Vice President, Ag Lending Department Manager Merchants Bank of Indiana

5:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Reception with Exhibitors
Sponsored by Farmer Mac

Wednesday, Nov 9

7:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Registration Open

7:00 AM - 8:00 AM

Continental Breakfast

7:00 AM - 8:00 AM

Women in Ag Breakfast

As a woman in Ag, balancing the demands of work and everything else can sometimes feel like an uphill battle. Britany Wondercheck, better known as the “Farm Girl Next Door,” is no stranger to the balancing act. She co-founded Marble Technologies, runs Farm Girl Next Door, and helps her husband with their farm and Pioneer seed dealership. Britany will share her experiences as an entrepreneur and woman in ag, inspiring you to pursue your passions even if you feel like you can’t add to your plate.

  • Britany Wondercheck, Farm Girl Next Door LLC

8:00 AM - 10:15 AM


8:00 AM - 8:15 AM

The Blanchfield Award

8:15 AM - 9:15 AM

Building Resiliency and Agility: Lessons from the Past for the Future

Resiliency and agility go hand in hand in navigating economic shockwaves. Dr. David Kohl will be back for his 45th year with insights, wisdom, and perspectives that will draw upon six decades of institutional knowledge from working with producers, bankers, stakeholders, and thought leaders in the agriculture industry. He will discuss strategies, actions, and tactics that will be useful for your producers and banks serving agricultural and rural communities.

  • David M. Kohl, Ph.D.Professor Emeritus, Agricultural Finance and Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship Virginia Tech AgriVisions, LLC

9:15 AM - 10:15 AM

Midterm Elections Over, Now What?

Jim Wiesemeyer, a Washington analyst covering agricultural policy and trade developments for Pro Farmer and Farm Journal, will give his take on what’s ahead after the midterm elections this fall. 

  • Jim Wiesemeyer, Washington Policy Analyst, Pro Farmer and Farm Journal

10:15 AM - 10:30 AM

Coffee Break

10:30 AM - 11:30 AM

Closing General Session

The Art of Resilience – Make Your Life a Masterpiece

With vision, clarity, and compassion, Allison teaches audiences the potent life lessons that she learned on each step of her path after she was severely burned in a fire and faced seemingly insurmountable odds. Her riveting keynote boosts confidence and well-being and offers a balm of hope as Allison intimately shares the nuances of how to respond to difficult circumstances and maintain personal command and integrity despite life’s disruptions. With genuine encouragement and support, you’ll receive a new perspective from which to see the world and walk away with effective methods to handle challenges and move towards dreams and goals with courage, purpose, and the strength of an open heart.

  • Alison Massari, San Francisco, CA

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.