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SDBA 2018 Agricultural Credit Conference - Pierre
Ramkota Hotel
920 W Sioux Ave
Pierre, SD 57501

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Wednesday, April 11, 2018, 8:00 AM to Friday, April 13, 2018, 3:00 PM CST
Category: Conferences

SDBA 2018 Agricultural Credit Conference
April 11 - 13, 2018
Ramkota Hotel & Conference Center
Pierre, SD


The South Dakota Bankers Association presents the 2018 Agricultural Credit Conference April 11-13 at the Ramkota Hotel & Conference Center in Pierre, S.D. This conference focuses on the unique needs of ag bankers and the need for quality information and training to better serve their customers. The SDBA has lined up speakers on a variety of timely topics to help ag bankers navigate through challenging times. Experienced and new ag lenders, as well as CEOs, will all benefit from this conference.



Wednesday, April 11, 2018

2:00 - 4:00 PM


Winning Secondary Market Strategies for South Dakota Ag Bankers

Larry Jones, Relationship Manager, and Dan Koesters, Underwriter, Farmer Mac, Washington, D.C.

Learn about Farmer Mac’s ag lender tools available to compete and attract new business. Farmer Mac will also review the current  interest  rate  environment   and dive into some recent South Dakota  loan sale transactions. Register with Farmer Mac to attend this session at

5:30 - 7:00 PM 

Registration/Reception with Exhibitors - Sponsored by Dakota Prairie Bank


Thursday, April 12, 2018

7:30 - 8:00 AM

Registration & Continental Breakfast

8:00 - 9:00 AM

Profitability Through Execution: The Fundamentals

Dr. Mike Swanson, Senior Vice President, Agricultural Economist & Consultant, Wells Fargo & Company, Minneapolis, Minn.

Sponsored by Farmer Mac

If higher prices are not going to bail out farm and ranch operators, what’s the most likely scenario for rebalancing? It will be classic economics at work. First, inputs and lands will have to reset to their real values at the current prices. Second, operators will have to prove their “value added” proposition. Lastly, bankers will go back to working with operators so they can “say what they do, do what they say” and be able to prove it. At Wells Fargo, Dr. Mike Swanson analyzes the impact of energy on agriculture, forecasting for key agricultural commodities, and helps develop credit and risk strategies for the bank’s customers.

9:00 - 10:00 AM

Panel: A Conversation About Conversations

Moderated by John Blanchfield, an experienced panel will address a topic most dread talking about—how  to have difficult conversations with your borrowers. Learn from the panel what has worked and what has not, as well as tips to navigate the proverbial troubled waters.

11:30 - 12:30 PM

Ag Banking in the Push-Pull Farm Economy

John Blanchfield, Ag Banking Advisory Services, Damascus, Md.

For ag bankers, 2018 could be the most challenging year of the great farm economic correction. Finding the best way to negotiate the push-pull farm economy will not be easy, but a focus on improved people skills and on banking fundamentals offer the best opportunities for ag bankers to win in 2018. Presenter John Blanchfield, who has been involved in agricultural banking policy and farm finance for nearly 40 years, is dedicated to helping ag bankers and their customers better understand the intersection of ag policy and the real agricultural economy.

12:30 - 1:15 PM

Networking Lunch/Exhibit Break

1:15 - 2:15 PM

Ag Talks

TED Talks are short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). During AG Talks, Will Walter with the South Dakota Center for Farm/Ranch Management, Matt Morlock with Pheasants Forever and Taya Runyan with the South Dakota Department of Agriculture’s Ag Mediation Program will explain their organizations and what they have to offer.

2:15 - 3:15 PM

Surviving Difficult Markets

Steven Knuth, Founder & CEO, AgWest Commodities, Holdrege, Neb.

Marketing is not getting any easier. Dive into the current obstacles and opportunities that lie in the grain and livestock markets right now and the driving factors behind them. Profitability is the goal—explore how a written marketing plan can help you achieve that with AgWest Commodities Founder and CEO, Steven Knuth. Founding the company in 1999, he set out to build the premier grain marketing service in the Midwest based on integrity, professionalism and the highest level of customer service.

3:15 - 3:30 PM

Networking/Exhibit Break

3:30 - 4:30 PM

Panel: Succession Planning: Building Bridges of Burning Bridges?

The process of planning to transfer ownership of a farming/ranching operation can be more than daunting. This panel will discuss the challenges  faced in developing a successful succession plan and how to overcome these obstacles. How can you be fair to all parties involved? Can you keep emotions out of the equation? When is the right time to start this process? These and other pertinent questions will be answered by our experienced group of panelists.

5:00 PM

Heavy Hors d'oeuvres Reception


Friday, April 13, 2018

7:30 - 8:15 AM

Breakfast Buffet

Mike Jaspers, South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture, Pierre

Sponsored by the Graduate School of Banking at Wisconsin

Mike Jaspers has a strong background in agriculture and in government. He owns and operates a corn, soybean, alfalfa and cattle production operation in Hutchinson, McCook and Marshall counties. He also spent seven years in agricultural retail management, working with grain, agronomy, specialty crops and precision ag technologies. Jaspers served as a state legislator from 1997-2004 and the state’s director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Office from 2007-2008.

8:30 - 9:30 AM

A Legislative and Political Update from Washington, D.C.

Ed Elfmann, Senior Vice President, Agricultural & Rural Banking Policy, American Bankers Association (ABA), Washington, D.C.

Ed Elfmann will update attendees on what is going on in D.C.—issues surrounding  the upcoming Farm Bill, USDA loan programs, and other legislative issues that involve banking and lending in agriculture. Elfmann is the ABA’s head of policy on agricultural and rural credit and lending issues. He also works on swaps and derivatives policy, financial services and appropriations for the ABA.

9:30 - 10:30 AM

Managing Weather Risk in Agriculture

Eric Snodgrass, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of Atmospheric Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Ill.

Sponsored by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines

Eric Snodgrass will discuss how weather has influenced crop production in the Corn Belt for the last 70 years, changes in technology and how weather prediction has evolved. Learn how to use the tools meteorologists use to predict both short-term (two week) and long-term (month-plus) weather conditions and the influence these predictions have on commodity prices. Snodgrass is the co-founder of Global Weather and Climate Logistics, LLC., a private company that provides logistical guidance and solutions to weather sensitive financial institutions. Recently, his company merged with Agrible Inc.

10:30 - 10:45 AM

Break to Check Out of Rooms

10:45 - 11:15 AM

Sen. Mike Rounds Q&A

11:15 - 12:15 PM

Panel: Buy Land, They’re Not Making It Anymore—Mark Twain

This panel will engage in a conversation regarding agricultural land value trends. Learn about factors influencing farm/ ranch land values and how this could impact your ability to finance customers.

12:15 - 1:30 PM

Lunch & Wrap Up Presentation: I’m Farming and I Grow It: An AgVocating Success Story

Nathan Peterson and Kendal Peterson, Peterson Farm Bros, Assaria, Kan.

Join Nathan and Kendal of Peterson  Farm Bros for a story that’s entertaining, inspirational and motivational for people of all ages, farmers or not. The story includes how they got started making videos, where all they’ve taken them, the power of communicating through social media, and the lessons they’ve learned in advocating for agriculture online.

1:30 PM

Conference Adjourns


Registration Fees

Includes the program, breaks, luncheons and handouts.

Full Conference:    $535/member or $585/non-member
Thursday Only:      $405/member or $435/non-member
Friday Only:            $305/member or $340/non-member
After April 4 Add:   $30/member or $50/non-member
On-Site Add:           $40/member or $60/non-member

Cancellation Policy: 100% refund if canceled one week prior to the event. 75% refund if canceled 3 to 6 days prior. No refund for cancellations two days before the event. Substitutions are allowed at any time.

Hotel Information

Ramkota Hotel & Conference Center
920 West Sioux Ave.
Pierre, S.D. 57501
Phone: 605.224.6877

A block of rooms has been reserved at the Ramkota Hotel. Request a room from the SDBA block for the conference rate of $97.99 per night. The block will be released March 11.


Contact the SDBA’s Halley Lee at 800.726.7322, 605.224.1653 or

Vendor Information

To sign up as an exhibitor or vendor, either register online, or download the fillable PDF form and send to us.

Contact: Halley Lee - 800.726.7322 or