The agricultural economy and the possibility of volatile times ahead will dominate the conversation at the American Bankers Association’s 2015 National Agricultural Bankers Conference. The conference, now in its 63rd year, will be held at the Kansas City Convention Center in Kansas City, Mo. Oct. 25 -28.

This year’s event, “Position to Transition: How to Navigate Volatile Times,” will shed light on managing risk, working smarter and strengthening customer relationships. Attendees will have access to industry experts, academics and peers willing to share strategies for success.

“For more than 60 years, this conference has brought ag bankers together to educate and motivate them about the challenges and opportunities in rural communities,” said Steve Apodaca, senior vice president of ABA’s Center for Agricultural and Rural banking. “With the uncertainty facing the ag economy, it’s a critical time for ag bankers to unite to better serve our nation’s farmers and ranchers.” 

A new addition to the conference this year is the “New Ag Banker Track,” which features targeted sessions for young bankers with one to seven years of lending experience or professionals transitioning into ag banking from other careers. Sessions include: 

  • Navigating Through Difficult Times: Lessons Worth Learning from the 80s
  • Know Your Documentation: The Top 10 Things Every Banker Needs to Know
  • Making Good Loans: The Fundamentals of Credit Analysis
  • Distressed Agricultural Loans: How Do You Minimize Losses and Survive the Workout

The conference will feature a general session with David Kohl, Ph.D., professor emeritus, agricultural and applied economics, Virginia Tech, and Barry Flinchbaugh, Ph.D., professor, agricultural economics, Kansas State University. The professors will address the most commonly asked questions by agricultural bankers, producers and industry leaders. The session will begin with an outlook of the U.S. agricultural economy by Michael Swanson, Ph.D., ag economist at Wells Fargo Bank.

Other conference highlights include a keynote address on managing weather risk from Eric Snodgrass, director of undergraduate studies, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Attendees will also hear from Nathan Kauffman, assistant vice president and Omaha branch executive of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas.

The conference will close with an inspirational story of turning challenges into opportunities from thirteen time All-Star baseball great, George Brett of the Kansas City Royals.

Experts spanning the agricultural spectrum will lead more than 30 sessions including:

  • Credit Impacts of the Commodity Price Roller Coaster: A free pre-conference seminar looking at key components in analyzing ag credits and current observations;
  • Land Values Outlook: Retired Iowa State Economist Mike Duffy will provide an outlook on land values;
  • Lenders through the Ages:  Bankers Making Bankers Better Bankers: Panelists Sam Miller, managing director, group head, agricultural banking, BMO Harris Bank; Caleb Hopkins, loan officer, Westside State Bank; Dinese Watson, vice president, ag lending, Merchants Bank of Indiana; and Keith Phillips, senior vice president, First Bank and Trust Company will discuss the challenges of working with colleagues of various ages – and stages in their careers – and how to improve communications.

Additional schedule information or to register visit