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Program | Agricultural Bankers Conference


2021 Schedule

All times are in ET.

  • 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

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
  • Zachary Carpenter, Chief Business Officer, 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

4:30 pm — 5:00 pm

Women in Ag Banking Meet & Greet Reception

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

In this session you will 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. We will also quickly look at the current ag economy and what is driving current loan demand.

  • Rob Newberry, Senior Advisor, Advisory Services

8:00 am - 10:00 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 Chairman's Welcome and ABA President & CEO Welcome


  • A. Scott Anderson, ABA Chair-Elect 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


Lessons Learned from Managing Through 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-Elect and, President and Chief Executive Officer, Zions Bank, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Shan L. Hanes, President and CEO, Heartland Tri-State Bank, Elkhart, KS

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 discussion looking back on this year’s bull market. What marketing lessons can we learn from this year, and how can we apply it to next year’s marketing.  Learn what is controlling the markets, and how we can use that information to improve marketing skills. You can be proactive with your clients and help them do a better job of marketing by providing them with some basic information. Join Mark and find out 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

Have you ever thought about what it should take a lender to decide to pursue a prospect?  If not, you are not alone. A lender should have rules for this.  We call these the rules of engagement.  The rules when followed lead to more favorable outcomes and less time wasted chasing prospects that can never be caught.  In this workshop, you will learn:

  • Three questions salespeople must ask themselves to determine if a prospect qualifies 
  • Why following a stage-based sales process will help win more business
  • How to create the rules of engagement for your company’s "closeable opportunity" and more


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

11:45 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

Our speakers will discuss the potential 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 some practices that 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

Refreshment Break with Exhibits

3:15 pm — 4:00 pm


Farming Innovation – A Look Toward the Future

Learn how AppHarvest, an applied technology company develops and operates some of the world’s largest high-tech indoor farms.  Designed to grow harsh chemical pesticide-free produce using up to 90 percent less water than open-field agriculture while producing yields up to 30 times that of traditional farming with no agricultural runoff. Hear this Founder and CEO discuss 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

3:15 pm — 5:00 pm


The Wild Side of Weather


  • 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 — 4:30 pm

Registration Open

7:00 am — 8:15 am

Continental Breakfast With Exhibitors

7:30 am — 8:10 am
and repeated
8:20 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

    General Session

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

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


    • 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

    Refreshment 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


    • 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 

    12:00 pm — 1:25 pm


    An Insightful Look at the Future of Agriculture

    • 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

    The jolts that shook the U.S. economy in 2020 have many farmers looking to their community banks to deliver bold solutions as they look to address concerns about access to working capital, future income levels, and the impact of uncertainty over trade and tariffs. Agricultural lenders across the country are tasked with shepherding America’s farmers and ranchers through these uncertain times, while also cultivating the important relationships they have with these producers.

    Building on a recently published ABA white paper, this session examines how the secondary market is helping bankers rise to these challenges. Hear first-hand accounts from a panel of lenders as they provide a glimpse into how banks are delivering benefits to their customers by strategically harnessing what the secondary market has to offer.


    • 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

    2:30 pm — 3:15 pm

    Refreshment 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. Kristi Piehl is a storyteller, former journalist and founder of the award-winning PR agency, Media Minefield. 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

    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!


    • Bonnie Ayars, Ayars Family Farm, Mechanicsburg, OH

    8:00 am — 10:15 am


    The Blanchfield Award

    The Championship DNA for Bankers and Producers

    Dr. Kohl is back for his 44th year of addressing this conference.  His decades as an educator, business owner, and facilitator have allowed him to work with many outstanding individuals, groups, businesses, and banks that possess “Championship DNA.” Dr. Kohl will set the stage with the economic and business trends that will separate the average and good from the great.

    He will share the perspectives and wisdom that often permeate businesses and individuals who are outstanding performers over a period of time. Whether it's your customer, lender, or bank, these nuggets of wisdom can impact your business and personal life, and will be one of the highlights of the closing day of the conference.


    • 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?

    Our speaker will share his experience with multiple supply chain issues that have impacted Tyson’s business over the last 20 months.  This “new normal” continues to impact many industries and created 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

    Prepare to experience one of the most inspiring speakers you have ever heard. Travis Mills, retired U.S. Army Staff Sergeant, Quadruple Amputee and New York Times Best Selling Author of “Tough As They Come” and Founder – Travis Mills Foundation will leave you feeling even more motivated to live your best life. If you are looking for a sob story, you will not find one here.  Travis’s story of resilience and the way he uses humor to share how he endured a grueling rehabilitation program following a blast from an IED on his third tour in Afghanistan and recovered now shares a fulfilling life with his wife and kids. The subject of the NETFLIX movie, “Travis-A Soldier’s Story” Travis has dedicated his life to giving back to the veteran community any way he can. Travis redefines human capability and the remarkable power attitude has upon outcome.

    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.