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ABA National Agricultural Bankers Conference

November 11-14, 2018 • Hilton Omaha & CenturyLink Center • Omaha, Nebraska​

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Program 

The program schedule for the 2018 ABA Ag Bankers Conference is still being developed. Sign up below to receive program updates straight your inbox!


Sunday, November 11, 2018
​8:00 am – 11:30 am Farm Service Agency Guaranteed Lender Meeting
Hosted by Farmer Mac
12:00 pm – 6:30 pm Registration Open
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm Pre-Conference Seminar
Sinkholes, Landslides, Volcano​es: How Can Your Customers Survive an Evolving Landscape?
​​FINPACK and Farmer Mac are teaming up again to offer an action-packed pre-conference session on Sunday afternoon. This year, they will focus on identifying where your customers are with continued tight margins and the impact on community banks. There will be a discussion of best practices and take-homes for managing the risk in this evolving landscape. Dr. David Kohl will be back with his view from the road. 
  • Robert H. Craven, Director, Center for Farm Financial Management and Professor, Dept. of Applied Economics, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN
  • Dale W. Nordquist, Assistant Director, Center for Farm Financial Management and Dept. of Applied Economics, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN
  • Curt Covington, SVP, Farmer Mac, Washington, DC
  • Jackson Takach, Economist, Farmer Mac, Washington, DC
  • David M. Kohl, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
3:00 pm – 4:00 pm Spouse/Companion Hospitality Suite Open
6:00 pm – 7:00 pm Grand Opening Reception

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Monday, November 12, 2018
7:00 am – 5:00 pm Registration Open
7:00 am – 8:00 am Continental Breakfast
​8:00 am – 10:00 am 
OPENING GENERAL SESSION
10:00 am – 10:30 am Coffee Break
10:30 am – 11:30 am Workshop Series I

Helping Your Clients Evolve into Better Marketers
Have you ever wondered why farmers don't do a better job or marketing? This session will cover strategies on how farmers can market their grain to improve their bottom line. Come ready to receive updates on current marketing suggestions and tactics and learn what ag lenders can do to help farmers become better marketers.
  • Mark Gold, Managing Partner, Top Third Ag Marketing, LLC, Chicago, IL
​10:30 am – 11:30 am  New Ag Banker Track

The Changing Landscape of Producers and Bankers  Lessons Learned
Our panel of bankers will share their experiences of living through multiple ag cycles and their philosophy on how to build successful relationships with their customers.  You’ll hear lessons learned from surviving the Farm Crisis of the 80s to what trends and traits to look out for now and into the future, and how to build value in your brand.
  • Samuel J. Miller, Managing Director, Group Head, Agricultural Banking, BMO Harris Bank National Association, Appleton, WI 
  • Keith Knudsen, President & CEO, Security Bank, Laurel, NE
11:45 am – 1:25 pm
Luncheon with Guest Speaker
1:30 pm – 2:30 pm Workshop Series II

​Prescription for the Next Cycle in Agriculture
What are the time-tested tools, techniques and new additions that are appropriate for an economic cycle when the margins are thin and volatility is high? What will be the focus of this year's renewal season? Join Dr. Kohl and Doug Johnson for their annual house call at this year's Moody's Analytic's breakout session, They will be pulling no punches concerning lending and customer practices that result in either the high or low road of profitability and long-term viability in the industry. 
  • Doug Johnson, Director, Sales Management, Moody's Analytics, Omaha, NE
  • David M. Kohl, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Agircultural and Applied Economics, Blacksburg, VA
​1:30 pm – 2:30 pm New Ag Banker Track

OMG! Navigating Social Media Through Policy and Practice
From text messages to Twitter, your customers and employees are communicating using various social media platforms 
– with or without your knowledge. Can (or should) you conduct bank business via these platforms? The panel will discuss the pros, cons and best practices related to social media use in banking and detail the importance of social media policies to help ensure compliance. 
  • Kelli Lieurance, Partner, Baird Holm, Omaha, NE
  • Caleb Hopkins, Chief Lending Officer, Westside State Bank, Westside, IA
  • Heather Malcolm, Vice President, Bank of the Rockies NA, Livingston, MT
2:30 pm – 3:15 pm Refreshment Break and Exhibit Hall Preview
3:15 pm – 5:15 pm GENERAL SESSION

The Future of Ag Banking
This session will include an interactive panel discussion of the top issues facing ag bankers and the industry.  Representatives from institutions of all sizes and panel members of varying years of experience with address issues such as meeting the financing needs of a changing ag customer base, gaining a competitive edge – how can you differentiate your bank from the bank down the street as well as non-bank lenders. What role will an ever evolving technological landscape play in the business of ag banking? Hear best practices and strategies you’ll be able to implement when you return to the bank.
  • ​Jeff L. Plagge ​(Moderator), President & CEO, Northwest Financial Corp., Arnolds Park, IA 
5:15 pm – 6:15 pm Reception with Exhibitors

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Tuesday, November 13, 2018
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)

Beef
  • Christopher B. Swift, Swift Trading Company, Nashville, TN
Dairy
  • Kathleen Noble, Senior Economist and Research Specialist, Blimling & Associates, Inc., Madison, WI
Grains
  • Steve Gregory, President, Allendale, McHenry, IL
​​Livestock/Pork
  • Christopher A. Hurt (Pork)
    Professor, Agricultural Economics, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
New! Super Commodity Session: Permanent Plantings, Rice and Cotton 
  • John R. C. Robinson, Professor and Extension Economist, Agricultural Economics, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
8:30 am – 10:00 am GENERAL SESSION

Global Financial Markets and Impacts on Ag

US and European economies are strengthening, triggering higher inflation expectations and shifts in global financial markets. US interest rates are expected to rise, which is typically bad for Ag as the dollar strengthens. But, if the EU rates rise faster than US rates, the dollar could fall, which is good for Ag. It may not be your typical cycle, so farmers need to follow financial markets closely to determine if commodity price movemnets are due to market shifts (supply and demand) or financial movements. If commodity prices rise, it is real or is it fool's good?
  • ​Jason Henderson, Ph.D., Associate Dean and Director of Extension, College of Agriculture, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
10:00 am – 10:30 am Coffee Break with Exhibitors
10:30 am – 11:30 am Workshop Series III 

Top Farmers: How Do They Do It? 
For producers in the FINBIN database, 2017 marked the fifth year of low median net farm income. Yet, rhe 20% of producers are continuing to do very well. How many producers stay in the top 20% every year? In this session, we will look at the numbers from FINBIN and the results of a survey that has been conducted with the Minnesota producers in the database.
  • ​Robert H. Craven, Director, Center for Farm Financial Management, Professor, Dept. of Applied Economics, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota
Land Values Outlook  
With land comprising over 80% of balance sheet assets for agriculture, understanding trends in land values is important for both bankers and producers. Interest rates, commodity prices, and trade economics are influencing today's land values. Join two leading land brokers who will give their views on current and future land prices.
  • ​Randy Dickhut, ​AFM, Senior Vice President, Real Estate Operations, Farmers National Co., Omaha, NE
  • Rex (R.D.) Schrader, II, President, CAI, Schrader Real Estate and Auction Co., Inc., Columbia City, IN 
​10:30  am  – 11:30 am New Ag Banker Track 

If Experiencing Repayments Problems, then Cut Costs... But Which Ones? 
During periods of low commodity prices and the financial stress that can result, a common remedy suggested to producers is simply to "cut costs." However, the effectiveness of cutting costs is not uniform across all costs associated with operating an agribusiness. Data for comparative ratios can help identify costs that would be candidates for reduction. In this session, we'll evaluate the effectiveness of changing selected variables and fixed costs.
  • Freddie L. Barnard, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Agricultural Economics, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 
11:45 am – 1:25 pm Luncheon with Guest Speaker
1:30 pm – 2:30 pm Workshop Series IV

Agricultural Biological Weapons
Learn about biological threats that, if introduced into the United States, could severely impact U.S. agriculture. Examples of threats to plants and livestock production will be discussed. Research at Kansas State University's Biosecurity Research Institute will be used to illustrate the potential impact of these threats and countermeasures that may be used to protect U.S. agriculture. 
  • ​Dr. Stephen Higgs, Director, Bioseucrity Research Institute, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas
Behavioral Tools to Protect Balance Sheets
Learn new ways producers can insure their inputs and improve gross margin performance. Understanding cost structures is important and creating the right mindset is key. We'll discuss new ways to drive on-farm improvement while helping the banking partner sleep at night.
  • Grant Kosior, President & CEO, Global Ag Risk Solutions, Canada 
The Next Generation of Ag Bankers is HERE!
Meet the new faces of successful ag banking: young, energetic and full of cutting-edge ideas. This session will explore using winning strategies the "Next Gen" are using now to attract new farmers and ranchers to their institutions. Our banker panel will share the tools they use to keep their customers loyal and grow their ag lending portfolios. Regardless of your generation, return home with concrete ideas to increase competitiveness and grow profits within your ag lending department.
  • ​Patrick Kerrigan, Director, Business Development, Farmer Mac, Washington, DC
​1:30 pm – 2:30 pm  New Ag Banker Track 

Clause and Effect: Proper Covenant Structure in Loan Documentation
Loan documents contain various types of covenants and agreements by the borrower. This session will outline the importance, purpose and use of properly-drafted loan covenants, including financial covenants.
  • ​Steven C. Turner, Baird Holm LLP, Omaha, NE 
2:30 pm – 3:00 pm Refreshment Break with Exhibitors
3:00 pm – 5:15 pm GENERAL SESSION
5:15 pm – 6:15 pm Farewell Reception with Exhibitors

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Wednesday, November 14, 2018
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 Banking Leadership Breakfast

Own It: Being a Woman in Banking
Being a woman in banking isn't easy. Hear how a 5th generation family farmer and 3rd generation banker has navigated the waters of the male-dominated industry of banking while working as an advocate for women in banking through her blog, "The Girl Banker".
  • Natalie Bartholomew, "The Girl Banker", Bentonville, AR
8:00 am  – 10:15 am GENERAL SESSION 

Mega Shifts in the Agricultural Landscape
​The agricultural economic cycle is creating seismic shifts in the landscape in which agricultural producers and lenders operate. What will be the ten defining paradigms that will shape the future of agribusiness and lending between now and 2030? How will these changes impact the methods of analyzing risk and opportunity, as well as the methods of working with individual customers and the overall agricultural portfolio? The future will place a premium on intellectual capital, i.e. management and leadership skills, which will be critical to maintain success and long-term viability. Dr. Kohl is back in the Heartland to provide his insight based on engagement and interaction with thought leaders around the globe. 
  • David M. Kohl, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
10:15 am – 10:30 am Coffee Break
10:30 am – 11:30 am CLOSING GENERAL SESSION
11:30 am Conference Adjourns

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