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Our 2020 program is still being developed. Take a look back at our 2019 program to see what kinds of sessions you can expect.

2019 Program

  • Sunday, Nov 10

  • Monday, Nov 11

  • Tuesday, Nov 12

  • Wednesday, Nov 13

Sunday, Nov 10

9:00 am — 11:30 am

Guaranteed Lender Meeting (including USDA-FSA, USDA-RD & SBA)

Hosted by Farmer Mac

12:00 pm — 6:30 pm

Registration Open

1:00 pm — 5:00 pm


We're All in the Same Boat — Are you Paddling, Treading or Bailing Water?

Your customers continue to face stiff economic headwinds. While some are still profiting, most are treading water at best. What can you do as ag lenders to help your customers navigate these challenging times and position your bank to be ready when profitability resurfaces? Dr. David Kohl will be back to share his view from the road.

  • Curt Covington, Executive Vice President and Chief Credit Officer, Farmer Mac, Washington, DC
  • Robert H. Craven, Director, Center for Farm Financial Management, Professor, Dept. of Applied Economics, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN
  • David M. Kohl, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech, AgriVisions, LLC, Blacksburg, VA 
  • Dale W. Nordquist, Associate Director, Center for Farm Financial Management, Department of Applied Economics, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN
  • Jackson Takach, Chief Economist and Head of Strategy, Research, and Analytics, Farmer Mac, Washington, DC

3:00 pm — 4:00 pm

Spouse/Companion Hospitality Suite Open

5:30 pm — 6:00 pm

Emerging Leaders Meet & Greet Reception

6:00 pm — 7:00 pm

Grand Opening Reception

Monday, Nov 11

7:00 am — 5:00 pm

Registration Open

7:00 am — 8:00 am

Continental Breakfast

8:00 am - 10:00 am


Welcome Remarks

Conference Chair's Welcome

  • Heather Malcolm, Vice President, Bank of the Rockies NA, Livingston, MT

Texas Bankers Association Welcome

  • William P. Crutcher, President, Wichita Falls Market, First United Bank

ABA Chairman's Welcome and ABA President & CEO Welcome

  • Laurie Stewart, ABA Chair-Elect, Chairman, President & CEO, Sound Community Bank, Seattle, WA
  • Rob Nichols, President & CEO, American Bankers Association, Washington, DC

General Session: US Agricultural Trade Policy Climate

Former Chief Agricultural Negotiator at the US Trade Representative (USTR) and Deputy Under Secretary at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Darci Vetter leads Edelman's Global Public Affairs Practice and works closely with clients throughout the U.S. Agriculture, Food and Beverage Sectors. She will discuss trends as well as recent trade policy concerns and how they affect US farmers.

  • Ambassador Darci L. Vetter, Global Lead, Public Affairs and Vice Chair, Agriculture, Food and Trade, Edelman, Washington, DC

10:00 am — 10:30 am

Coffee Break

10:30 am — 11:30 am


Helping Your Customers Improve their Business IQ

As our industry transitions to the next generation and with farms getting larger and larger the business complexity is growing. Bankers will find it necessary to move away from collateral/character lending and help our current and future producers improve their understanding of the farm business and thus their business IQ. As we begin to transition to the next generation of farm producers we will create an opportunity to further help develop the concept of the “Ag Business IQ.” The result? A stronger portfolio and a stronger ag industry.

  • Anthony “Tony” Hotchkiss, Executive Vice President, Director of Agricultural Banking, Regions Bank, Clayton, MO
  • Shan L. Hanes, President/CEO, Heartland Tri-State Bank, Elkhart, KS
  • Scott Hauseman, Senior Lender, Fulton Bank, Wyomissing, PA

Rural Investing: SBIC Program Overview

Get an overview of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) program and learn how bank investments into SBICs can qualify for Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) credits and are exempt from the Volker Rule that generally restricts bank investments into private equity. Learn how to uniquely position banking products and services to SBIC portfolio companies hear more about SBA’s collaboration with the US Department of Agriculture’s Rural Business Investment Company (RBIC).

  • Samuel J. Boyd, Jr., Director of Program Development, Office of Investment Innovation, U.S. Small Business Administration, Washington, DC
  • Mark Brodziski, Deputy Administrator, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC
  • Melinda Nelson Jackson, CFA, Executive Vice President, Cadence Bank, Houston, TX
  • John Mickelson, Managing Partner, Midwest Growth Partners, West Des Moines, IA
  • Bud Moore, Managing Partner, Valesco Capital Partners, Dallas, TX
  • Dan Shannon, CEO, Adams Extract and Spice, Gonzales, TX
  • A. Joseph Shepard, Associate Administrator, Office of Investment Innovation, U.S. Small Business Administration, Washington, DC

Bank on Marketing

Join 20 year ABA veteran speaker, Mark Gold, for an informative seminar on how banks and risk managers can help your clients become better at managing risk. Risk managers and ag lenders have to work together in order to keep your clients on the right path towards achieving their goals. This session will discuss the following:

  • How to identify who needs marketing help.
  • What should clients look for in a risk manager?
  • The relationship between the risk manager and the ag lender.

As always, Mark will present current marketing opportunities and strategies that your clients can put in use, as they finish harvesting, and look ahead to next year.

  • Ed Duggan, Senior Risk Management Specialist, Top Third Ag Marketing, LLC, Chicago, IL
  • Dan Smith, Risk Management Specialist, Top Third Ag Marketing, LLC, Chicago, IL

Back to the Future — Sage Advice for YOU from Ag Bankers Who Have Seen It All!

Hear from our panel of veteran ag bankers on the current state of the farm economy, producer sentiment and the road ahead. Buckle your seatbelts as they explore lending strategies that are proven to WORK in uncertain times like these. Learn about their "survive and thrive" strategies for growing the business even in these tough times. Regardless of your generation, return home with concrete ideas to attract new clients, increase competitiveness and grow profits.

  • Curt Covington, Executive Vice President and Chief Credit Officer, Farmer Mac, Washington, DC
  • Ed Coates, Senior Vice President (Retired), NBT Bank, Norwich, NY
  • Tom Stenson, Executive Vice President, Conterra Ag, Washington, DC
  • Dan Everson, Board of Directors, First Dakota National Bank, Yankton, SD

New Ag Banker Track — Are Your Customers Aligned with the Right Partners for Business Success?

Are your customers leveraging their network to its fullest in order to strengthen their strategic business plan? Do they have the right partners when it comes to an accountant, legal services, succession planning, crop insurance and more? Our speaker will discuss the importance of the banker to this team dynamic that surrounds your customer and how the right partners can build success for the producer and the bank.

  • F. Howard Halderman, AFM, President, Halderman Real Estate and Farm Management, Wabash, IN

11:45 am — 1:25 pm


Sponsored by: Global Ag Trends

Stabilizing an Ag Economy Amid Growing Pressures

Large segments of the U.S. farm economy have been mired in a prolonged downturn, but severe financial pressures have been limited in the face of income declines and emergent risks. Five years ago, the impending downturn might have been expected to be more severe by now. This session will identify and describe key stabilizing factors that have mitigated financial stress in U.S. agriculture over the past five years, and how those factors might apply in the next five years.

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

1:30 pm — 2:30 pm


Alternative Proteins: Are they here to stay?

Alternative protein products have been around for decades as an option for consumers who didn’t want to eat animal-derived protein. Historically, none of these products have been able to replace animal proteins on consumers’ plates. As the topic of both plant-based and lab-grown alternative proteins continues to capture both consumer and media interest, join us for the latest look at the alternative proteins market, the regulatory framework governing these products, and how organizations like the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association are working to maintain a fair, even playing field for all protein products to compete.

  • Danielle Beck, Senior Director - Government Affairs, National Cattleman's Beef Association, Washington, DC

USDA Loan Guarantees - A Lender's Perspective

Discover the Power of Partnership with USDA and get the lender’s perspective with best practices, acquired knowledge, and program logistics that will help any bank expand their rural business and loan portfolio while increasing earnings. Gain first-hand wisdom on how to improve profits with USDA’s Business & Industry (B&I), Community Facilities (CF), and Waste & Environmental Programs (WEP) Loan Guarantees. Create a new partnership and inspire growth and innovation at your bank by expanding access to funds in rural America with USDA Rural Development Loan Guarantees.

  • Mark Brodziski, Deputy Administrator, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC
  • Joe Geisler, Vice-President, Guaranteed Lending, Ameristate Bank, Atoka, OK
  • Jasna Filipovic, VP, Renewable Energy & Specialty Finance, Celtic Bank, Salt Lake City, UT
  • Edna Primrose, Assistant Administrator for Water and Environmental Programs, USDA Rural Development, Rural Utilities Service, Washington, DC

Convergence of the Big Three in Agriculture: Ag Economy, Ag Technology & Ag Experience

Hear what the top three challenges are in agriculture today. The continuing “Grinder” cycle impact, what’s coming for new ag technology, and the “Changing of the Guard” - (experience transitioning on the farm and within the bank). What will it take to survive, thrive and remain relevant in the future for both the producer and the banker? You’ll hear both the challenges and opportunities for ag lenders and producers alike, and learn the answers to the top questions from our key research.

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

Ag Portfolio Management: Juggling Tough Conversations with a Goal for Positive Loan Growth

Ag lenders continue to have tough conversations with their customers around issues like how they can stay viable with tighter margins and smaller equity positions while lenders are being asked to amplify their portfolios for positive loan growth. Learn tips to help manage this juggling act. Hear some of the changes that can be made in financial and operation management to sustain viability, and explore ways to have beneficial dialog with your customers and grow you loan portfolio.

  • Bradley J. Guse, Senior Vice President - Agribusiness Banking, BMO Harris Bank N.A., Marshfield, WI
  • Bruce W. McCarley, President-Krum Banking Center, First United Bank, Krum, TX
  • Ty Wells, President, Montana Livestock AgCredit, Helena, MT

New Ag Banker Track — Developing a Quality Credit Package

Very few credits come with zero risk to your bank. This session will provide guidance on developing a quality credit package that will clearly and accurately reflect the creditworthiness of the loan and borrower. It will also explore risk factors and steps that can be taken to mitigate those risks. Learn best practices that can help you present your loan with confidence and credibility - and get an APPROVAL!

  • Kevin Haselhorst, Senior Regional Credit Officer - Agribusiness, First Dakota National Bank, Yankton, SD
  • Ronnie James, Senior Regional Credit Officer — Agribusiness, First Citizens (Bank), Greenville, NC

2:30 pm — 3:15 pm

Refreshment Break with Exhibitors

3:15 pm — 5:00 pm


Ag Bankers Survey: A National Outlook

The ABA and Farmer Mac Agricultural Lender Survey is a joint effort to look at the agricultural economy and market forces from the unique perspective of ag lenders representing institutions of all sizes across the country. These insights are particularly valuable given the current volatility of the ag economy and the increased trade policy uncertainty. Join this session to learn about the industry’s expectations for farm income, land sales, delinquency rates, and other important issues.

  • Jackson Takach, Economist and Head of Strategy, Research, and Analytics, Farmer Mac, Washington, DC
  • Jim Chessen, Chief Economist, American Bankers Association, Washington, DC

Ten 1% Gains or One 10% Gain? - How Technology Fits Into Today’s Ag Market

The low hanging/broad acre fruit has been picked from many farming operations. The next incremental growth opportunities will be farm specific and will utilize technology to solve problems and implement new practices previously difficult to scale up.

  • Matthew Foes, Consultant & Farmer, Sheffield, IL
  • Steve Pitstick, Pitstick Farms, Maple Park, IL

5:00 pm — 6:00 pm

Reception with Exhibitors

Tuesday, Nov 12

7:00 am — 4:30 pm

Registration Open

7:00 am — 8:15 am

Continental Breakfast with Exhibitors

7:15 am — 8:25 am

OUTLOOK TUESDAY! (Commodities Sessions)


  • Ken Jordan, Owner Operator, Jordan Cattle Auction, San Saba & Mason, Texas

Other Livestock/Pork/Poultry

  • David Anderson, PhD, Professor and Extension Economist, Agricultural Economics, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX


  • Ryan Yonkman, Vice President, Rice Dairy, Chicago, IL


  • Mike Hacker, President, Strategic Grain Hedge, LLC, Markle, IN

Super Commodity Session: Rice, Cotton & Timber

  • (Rice) Michael A. Deliberto, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Farm Management and Agricultural Policy, Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, Baton Rouge, LA
  • (Cotton) John R. C. Robinson, Professor and Extension Economist, Agricultural Economics, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
  • (Timber) Kevin Bergquist, SVP, Sector Manager, Forest Products, Food & Agribusiness Industry Advisors, Wells Fargo Bank, Portland, OR

8:30 am — 10:00 am


Building Resilience in U.S. Farm Profits

As farmers struggle through another year of lean profits, how can they build resilience in their farming operation? Working lean is the solution for some. Diversification is the solution for others. Both striving to boost productivity in a changing market environment. This session will explore the forces shaping agricultural demand and the implications for agricultural finance.

  • Jason Henderson, Ph.D., Associate Dean and Director of Extension, College of Agriculture, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

The Bruning Award Presentation

10:00 am — 10:30 am

Refreshment Break with Exhibitors

10:30 am — 11:30 am


Market Trends for Land Values

Farmland values across the US vary widely and often reflect the current income potential of that region. This session will provide insight on the current farmland market trends for values and rental in the Midwest and Great Plains. Focus will be on the recent past and predicted future trends as we head into 2020 for farmland collateral values and the income potential for landowners.

  • F. Howard Halderman, AFM, President, Halderman Real Estate and Farm Management, Wabash, IN
  • George Clift, ALC, Clift Land Brokers, Amarillo, TX

FSA Guaranteed Loan Program: A Great Partner for Your Agricultural Portfolio

USDA Farm Service Agency’s Guaranteed Farm Loan Programs help family farmers and ranchers obtain access to commercial credit from USDA-approved lenders to finance their agricultural operation. By providing a guarantee of up to 95% against possible loss to the lender, FSA provides a safety net which allows financial institutions to reach customers that they might otherwise be unable to assist.

Last year, FSA guaranteed over $3 billion in loans that helped thousands of farmers and ranchers as well as lenders. Join us for an interactive session with fellow lenders and FSA representatives to explore real scenarios where FSA guaranteed loans have benefited both customers and banks. Come learn about FSA guarantees and how you can partner with FSA!

  • Matthew T. Henderson, Senior Loan Officer, USDA, Farm Service Agency
  • Matthew Boston, Welch State Bank, Welch, OK
  • Larry K. Daniel, Farm Loan Manager, Harmon County FSA, Hollis, OK
  • Roel Garza, Farm Loan Chief, USDA, Farm Service Agency, College Station, TX
  • Gregg McCoury, Vice President/LPO Manager, Farmers State Bank, Franklin, TX

The Numbers and Beyond: Traits of Successful Farms

For producers in the FINBIN database, 2018 marked the lowest median net farm income in over 20 years. Yet, the top 20% of producers continue to do well. We ask, do producers stay in the top 20% every year? In this session we will look at the numbers from FINBIN and survey results from producers in the database.

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

How to See Opportunities Rather Than Burdens Under the Tax Code

Taxes are a cost – but they do not have to be all burden! Taxes can lead to an opportunity to strengthen business relationships and create value when leveraging required reporting into useful decision tools. Hear some existing and changing portions of the tax code that can provide:

  • Value and opportunities for ag bankers to build stronger relationships with customers who are likely to grow in business volume and value
  • Flexibility to ag producers in the middle of today’s challenging markets; and relief during transition to new structures
  • Insights for developing more value in relationships with your farming and ranching clients
  • Sam Funk, PhD, Director, Agriculture Analytics & Research-Senior Economist, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, West Des Moines, IA

New Ag Banker Track Session — Lender Liability: How to Recognize and Manage Risk

With the ag economy tightening, lender liability risks inevitably increase. In this interactive session, we will discuss:

  • Tips on structuring loans with sound collateral evaluations
  • Recognizing when a lender risks exerting excessive control over the ag borrower’s business
  • Traps to avoid when working with a distressed borrower
  • Tricia DeLeon, Partner, Holland & Knight, Dallas, TX

11:45 am — 1:25 pm


Global Markets in Transition: 2020 Outlook

Global trade is responding to supply chain uncertainty. Central banks are struggling to create inflation. Rising global debt has increased economic fragility. And, at the same time, agriculture faces a broad array of challenges from trade, to rates, to weather. In this presentation, our speaker will provide a global overview of capital markets and macroeconomic themes, with an emphasis on how these will impact the agricultural community.

  • Bluford Putnam, Managing Director & Chief Economist, CME Group, Chicago, IL

1:30 pm — 2:30 pm


Collateral Fraud - Navigating Risk in Agricultural Lending

Hear an investigator’s view of ag lending pitfalls that can risk your collateral or what you believe is your collateral? Learn what 25 years of felony agriculture and banking investigations have revealed including potential weaknesses in lending practices, collateral identification, location and documentation. Understanding risk assessment, producer commerce, your customers and the “con” are critical to survival as successful ag lenders. The largest losses investigated have revolved around those trusted.

  • Scott Williamson, Executive Director, Law Enforcement and Theft Prevention, Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, Ft. Worth, TX

A Conversation with Regulators

Join our panel of regulators from the OCC, FDIC and State agency and hear their views on agricultural lending now and in the future. This session is meant to be interactive so bring your questions.

  • Nathan Heizer, Assistant Regional Director , Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Dallas, TX
  • Hub Thompson, Deputy Comptroller, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Fort Worth Field Office, North Richland Hills, TX
  • David Reed, Regional Director, Lubbock Region, Texas Department of Banking, Lubbock, TX

Understanding Crop Insurance (and avoiding lending pitfalls through misunderstanding…)

Join this fast-paced trip through how crop insurance works…This open forum style session will whirl you through how the guarantees are set and decode exactly how those numbers can be used by lenders. We will also showcase a few pitfalls to avoid and illustrate options available to truly secure loans using both Federal and private crop insurance programs. Come prepared to ask any question you may have!

  • Lee Friesen, Special Products Sales Manager-Production Cost Insurance, Diversified Crop Insurance Services, Olivet, SD

Succession Planning – Why Do I Need to Worry About Whether My Borrower has a Plan?

This session will answer many questions related to:

  • Separation of Risks
  • What you need to know if your borrower gets sued - how can you lose?
  • Estate taxes - Are there still taxes to pay? Benefits of estate tax system and more.
  • James H. McCullough, Palmos, Russ, McCullough & Russ, LLP, Hearne, TX

New Ag Banker Track — Surviving Agricultural Problem Loans and Bankruptcy Cases — The Top Ten Things You Should Know

This session provides an overview of various issues bankers should be aware of when facing a problem agricultural loan. You’ll learn strategies you can employ to maximize recovery in the shortest period of time and with the least cost and expense. Lean about unique loan structure issues and problems associated with dealing with a workout of agricultural loans or bankruptcy cases. You’ll walk away with the top ten things you should know.

  • Steven C. Turner, Baird Holm LLP, Omaha, NE

2:30 pm — 3:00 pm

Refreshment Break with Exhibitors

3:15 pm — 5:00 pm


Update from ABA Ag & Rural Bankers Committee

  • Shan L. Hanes, President/CEO, Heartland Tri-State Bank, Elkhart, KS

Industrial Hemp — What Bankers Need to Know

With the inclusion of Industrial Hemp in the 2018 Farm Bill, bankers must understand what the legalization means for them and their farm clients. This session will bring together experts to discuss:

  • The science of Hemp and what bankers must understand about Hemp production.
  • How is Hemp processed and who are/will be the market makers for Hemp?
  • What the legislative and policy issues are - resolved and/or unresolved?
  • Patrick Atagi, Moderator, Chair, Board of Directors, National Industrial Hemp Council, Washington, DC
  • Steve Bevan, President and Executive Chair, GenCanna Global, Inc, Winchester, KY
  • Tony Brannon, PhD, Dean, Hutson School of Agriculture, Murray State University, Murray, KY
  • Michael Bowman, Co-Founder, First Crop, Pasadena, CA

5:00 pm — 6:00 pm

Farewell Reception with Exhibitors

Sponsored by Farmer Mac

Wednesday, Nov 13

7:00 am — 11:00 am

Registration Open

7:00 am — 8:00 am

Continental Breakfast

7:00 am — 8:00 am


Living the Anti-Average Lifestyle

Cultivating a life and legacy of epic impact.

Explore why communication is code for leadership and how to communicate with more than courage and impact, no matter the people, the place or the topic. Learn how to create and leverage your own personal leadership brand and discuss why it matters, even if you never want to be a “boss.” You can refine skills needed to align the best resources, systems, tools and talents around you and your big goals.

  • Sarah J. Bohnenkamp, Parker, CO

8:00 am — 10:15 am


The Blanchfield Award

Managing Expectations Side-by-Side

The decade of 2020 to 2030 will see more challenges, but also more opportunities in agriculture than the last seven decades. The struggles of the 1980’s farm crisis played havoc on average to below average production managers. This current elongated economic down cycle will reward proactive producers, lenders and those in the agribusiness community who have a high business and financial IQ as they work in side-by-side relationships with one another. Numerous variables and factors will shape the fortunes of the agricultural and ag lending communities both in the short and long run. What will be the tools, techniques and principles that can energize your strategic and day-to-day operations? Dr. Dave is back to close down another decade of working side-by-side with professionals in many facets of agriculture, as they manage expectations in an economic environment with a surprise around every corner.

  • David M. Kohl, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech, AgriVisions, LLC, Blacksburg, VA

Imagine the Future - What Ag Bankers Need to Know Now!

Artificial intelligence, blockchain, the near ability to use apps to run the world from your pocket/purse—the future is already here! Are you currently exploiting new technologies as an ag banker? In this high-energy talk, Crystal will show you what to do NOW to help your customers get ahead of the curve. Don't get left behind!


  • Identify the significant ways in which technology is changing human beings (like your clients) and how this shift will require new communication methods
  • Understand generational differences in technology preferences and adaptation
  • Discover how artificial intelligence, robotics and blockchain are shifting farming and ranching
  • Uncover the trends you should know about NOW to get ahead of the curve and thrive 15+ years from now!
  • Crystal Washington, Tech Strategist & Futurist, Houston, TX

10:15 am — 10:30 am

Coffee Break

10:30 am — 11:30 am


The Hero Effect

As a branding and culture expert, Kevin Brown is on a mission to help people and organizations embrace a powerful philosophy that separates world-class organizations and high performance people from everybody else. He is passionate about helping people expand their vision, develop and their potential and grow their results. As a father of an autistic child, Kevin knows first-hand how principles of true success reach beyond the boardroom and into the lives of real people facing challenges every day. His presentation inspires and challenges people to show up every day and make a positive difference at work and in life.

  • Kevin Brown, Author, The HERO Effect

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.

Keep Me Informed

Get updates on the Agricultural Bankers Conference as we develop this year's program. Contact Cynthia Watkins if you have any questions.