General Sessions


November 1

Policy Landscape: Volatility Prevails

Jim WiesemeyerThursday, November 1, 2018
8:30 am – 9:30 am
Jim Wiesemeyer

Just days ahead of Nov. 6 elections, Jim will talk about the latest forecasts of potential results and what they would mean to policy, markets and other issues. He will also provide an update on a new farm bill and the outlook for President Trump's trade policy and what it means for the U.S. ag sector.

From his office near Washington, DC, Jim Wiesemeyer contributes daily to Pro Farmer’s online website at, providing members with the latest information on agricultural policy and trade developments. He also is a twice-weekly participant in Farm Journal’s Agri-Talk radio program, and serves as a Washington analyst for Pro Farmer and Farm Journal.

Since 1978, Mr. Wiesemeyer has frequently reported on and interviewed senior government officials, including presidents, as well as USDA Secretaries since Earl Butz. He has traveled extensively in his assignments and is a frequent speaker on farm policy and trade issues. Wiesemeyer rejoined Pro Farmer in June of 2017, after serving as their Washington consultant for 19 years while at Informa Economics, and before that an employee of Pro Farmer, then owned by Oster Communications. Mr. Wiesemeyer also is one of the writers for the Agriculture Letter, formerly the Kiplinger Ag Letter, now owned by Farm Journal Media. Mr. Wiesemeyer also was the Washington bureau chief for Futures World News (FWN), formerly owned by Oster Communications. Prior to Pro Farmer, he was a Washington editor with Doane's Agricultural Report and Washington editor and managing editor of the Washington Farmletter.

Succession Planning for Farmers, Ranchers and Family Business Owners

kevinSpafford.jpgThursday, November 1, 2018
9:30 am – 10:30 am
Kevin Spafford, CFP

Most farmers, ranchers, and family business owners don’t want to just walk away from a lifetime of hard work and see their operation falter and fail. Most owners want to pass their farm or agribusiness to the next generation as a growing concern.

 Planning for succession is about not only money, business, or family. It’s about all those things! It’s about making good decisions and planning for the future. A comprehensive plan ensures the owners financial security, creates a smooth ownership transition, defines a workable leadership structure, and minimizes the tax obligations.

 Succession Planning for Farmers, Ranchers, and Family Business Owners is an educational experience that will provide participants with the information necessary to help farming professionals engage in the planning process.

Kevin Spafford, CFP®, is the author of Legacy by Design: Succession Planning for Agribusiness Owners as well as founder of Legacy by Design, a succession planning practice dedicated exclusively to serving the succession planning needs of farmers, ranchers, and agribusiness owners.  Kevin is also the architect of the award-winning Farm Journal Legacy Project (a multimedia public relations campaign to promote succession planning in the ag community); effecting consumer behavior and improving the way family business owners engage in the succession planning process.

Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Appraisal

MarkRLinne.jpgThursday, November 1, 2018
11:00 am – 12:00 pm

What if appraisers could value events that haven’t even happened yet?  It may sound crazy at first blush, but the idea that appraising is relegated to retrospective analysis is an artifact of the profession’s history that is no longer relevant.

Within a span of five years, experts predict that 50% of our interactions will involve the “other” AI (Artificial Intelligence). That’s going to unlock an entirely new workflow for the appraisal profession and an entirely new set of capabilities that will drive the back office to the forefront of business strategy. What is clear is that artificial intelligence and its individual associated technologies will continue to transform how we interact with information and machines. Join Mark for a thought-provoking look at the future of appraisal.

Mark R. Linné, MAI, SRA, Al-GRS, CAE, CDEI, FRICS was selected as the 2012 winner of the Valuation Visionary award by the members of the Collateral Risk Network, made up of the nation's Chief Appraisers, GSE's and key national stakeholders.   Mark is recognized as the nation's leading valuation futurist, as well as an author or co-author of four books, more than 50 articles, keynote speaker, presenter, expert witness, blogger, software developer/ inventor with two patents, columnist, instructor, course developer and serial entrepreneur.  Mark presently serves on the Editorial Review Panel of The Appraisal Journal, and numerous other committees and panels throughout multiple organizations.

Wireless Data Transfer for Agronomic Data

DanFrieberg.jpgThursday, November 1, 2018
11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Dan Frieberg, CEO – Premier Crop Systems

 Wireless data transfer for precision ag data allows for rapid data transfer & sharing information, saving time and speeding results.  Gain an understanding of what agronomic data is and how it can be used to aid in your decision-making process, including understanding all of your options, associated costs, data policies (who owns the data?) and problems that may or may not arise.

Dan Frieberg, President and CEO of Premier Crop Systems grew up on a farm in Iowa.  Dan graduated from Iowa State University and his career includes wholesale fertilizer sales, retail management, serving as CEO of the Iowa Fertilizer & Chemical Association and later the Agribusiness Association of Iowa.  Dan performs business consulting, loves Diet Pepsi and has a good hair day – everyday.

Washington Update

StephenFrerichs.jpgThursday, November 1, 2018
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Stephen Frerichs, AgVantage, LLC

What would happen if Washington politics did not get in the way of decision-making?  Get an update from Stephen on the state of politics in Washington, the federal budget, appropriations as well as an outlook on the impact of the 2018 farm bill, tax reform and trade. 

Stephen Frerichs owns and operates his own consulting company, AgVantage LLC in Alexandria, Virginia.  Stephen specializes in budget, agricultural, credit issues and has over 25 years of agricultural policy experience.  Prior to forming his company, Stephen was the manager of the American Association of Crop Insurers (AACI).  He represented crop insurance companies and agents in Washington D.C.  He actively lobbied both Congress and the Administration. 


Stephen also has extensive experience in the Executive Branch.  Stephen was a senior program examiner and Deputy Branch Chief in the Agriculture Branch with the Office of Management and Budget, Executive Office of the President for nearly eight years.  At OMB, Stephen advised OMB policy officials on agricultural planning, budget, legislation, and regulatory issues.  Stephen holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from St.  Olaf College, MN and a Master’s Degree in agricultural economics from the University of Minnesota.
Sponsored by Halderman Farm Management

Communicating Across Generations

SarahBethAubrey.jpgThursday, November 1, 2018
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Sarah Beth Aubrey

There was a time when people wrote letters – probably in cursive. With the advent of the telephone (remember a landline?) things changed - then came email, texting, instant messaging…so how do you communicate and interact with these different generations in your workplace?  Sara Beth will provide you with 10 tips to communicate effectively, help you understand how different generations want to be approached and raise your awareness of not only the differences, but also the motivations behind these different communication styles.  Be willing to ask, teach and learn in the informative and enlightening presentation.

Sarah Beth Aubrey’s mission is to enhance success and profitability in agriculture and rural communities by building capacity in people. She believes everyone has a unique definition of success and strives to foster that potential whether through one-on-one executive coaching, by facilitating peer groups, or by leading boards through change-based planning initiatives. An entrepreneur since 2003, in 2015 she founded A.C.T., Aubrey Coaching & Training, a performance-based leadership training and executive coaching firm. She was recently awarded the Indianapolis Start-Up Ladies/Women of Skyline Club Transformative Leadership Award for excellence in executive coaching.​
Sponsored by Bayer CropScience

China as the Leading Trade Partner of US Agriculture

WendongZhang.jpgThursday, November 1, 2018
3:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Wendong Zhang, Assistant Professor of Economics, Iowa State University

Given the growing trade tensions with China, this presentation will provide insights on the commonality and differences between US and Chinese agriculture.  Wendong will help you understand the value and significance of China in terms of Chinese trade relations relative to the US.  Wendong will also help you appreciate the population, market size and what how agricultural policies and markets will have a huge impact on the future of trade including the 2020 E10 ethanol mandate and the Belt and Road Initiative.

Wendong Zhang, Assistant Professor of Economics, Iowa State University graduated in 2009 from Fudan University in China with a degree in Environmental Science and International Trade.  He received is MA in Economics and his Ph.D in Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics from Iowa State University.  He has published numerous papers, and his current research focuses on agriculture, land and environmental economics specifically the cost-benefit analysis or private and societal benefits of conventional and alternative agricultural production systems.

November 2

Who Did You Say You Are? Millennials Expectations

Friday, November 2, 2018
8:00 am – 10:00 am
Matt Rush

Have you ever been frustrated with other people, ESPECIALLY those young ones?  Wondered what people were thinking?

Have you ever thought that people behaved randomly and unpredictably?

If so, you are not alone. Many people have experienced similar thoughts and feelings. We have been there ourselves, but we found a way to make sense of the “people puzzles” in our lives. Through this impactful seminar, Human Behavior expert, Matt Rush, brings his 15 years of experience to answer the question, “Who Did You Say You Are?”

When you understand who you are, you will be able to:

  • Reduce stress
  • Minimize conflict
  • Build trust
  • Raise morale
  • Reinforce/restore relationships
  • Enhance communication
  • Maximize team performance

Brian Tracy says,
Your ability to communicate with others will account for fully 85% of your success in your business and in your life

Matt Rush says,
You can do more, be more and have more than you ever thought possible, you just have to be willing to get over yourself to get there.
From the time Matt was in the 8th grade he knew his life’s ambition was to help others become more than they ever thought possible.  Since then, his speeches, seminars and coaching have inspired thousands of people.

Matt has served as the former CEO of the New Mexico Farm Bureau and past president of the Ethos Leadership Group.  He has also previously served on the American Farm Bureau’s Foundation for Agriculture Board of Directors and the Berean Children’s Home Board of Directors.  Rush is passionate about his values, helping others and is dedicated to the development of a strong, successful future for our current and upcoming generation.
Sponsored by LG Seeds

US Economy in High Gear: But Ag Stuck in Neutral

NathanKauffman.jpgFriday, November 2, 2018
10:15 am – 11:45 am
Nathan Kauffman, Vice President and Omaha Brand Executive – Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City

Despite a strengthening U.S. economy, the agricultural sector has been mired in a prolonged downturn alongside persistently low commodity prices, elevated input costs, and ongoing concerns related to trade prospects. Financial stress has continued to build for some producers amid the stagnation and profit opportunities have remained limited. Maintaining sufficient liquidity in the midst of cash flow shortages has remained a top priority for producers and lenders as interest rates have also begun to rise at a modest pace. This session will discuss recent economic factors that are driving the outlook for the U.S. farm sector, implications for farm finances, and key risks to monitor in the months ahead.

Nathan Kauffman is vice president and Omaha Branch executive with the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and is the Kansas City Fed’s lead expert in agricultural economics. He is a leading voice on the agricultural economy throughout the seven states of the Tenth Federal Reserve District and the broader Federal Reserve System. Nathan oversees several Bank and Federal Reserve efforts to track agricultural economic and financial conditions and hosts the Kansas City Fed’s annual Agricultural Symposium. He also speaks regularly on the agricultural economy to industry audiences and the news media, including providing testimonies at both U.S. Senate and U.S. House Agriculture Committee hearings.

In his role as the Bank’s lead economist and representative in the state of Nebraska, Nathan provides strategic direction and oversight for the Omaha Branch, regional research, and economic outreach throughout the state. He serves as a local connection to the nation’s central bank and is responsible for briefing the Kansas City Fed’s president – a member of the Federal Open Market Committee – on regional economic and business activity.

Nathan joined the Federal Reserve in 2012. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Iowa State University. Prior to receiving his Ph.D., Nathan spent three years in Bosnia and Herzegovina coordinating agricultural economic development projects.

Thank You to
Our 2018
Sponsors and Exhibitors

Bayer CropScience
LG Seeds
Arizona Chapter
LIA Administrators and Insurance Services
Farm Credit
Northeast Chapter
Rabo AgriFinance LLC
Acre Value
Beck's Hybrids
California Chapter
Crown Appraisals
Farm Credit West
Farmers National Company
Halderman Farm Management
Hertz Farm Management
Idaho-Utah Chapter
Illinois Chapter
Indigo AG
Iowa Chapter
Kansas Chapter
Kentucky Chapter
Land Pro Farm Management
Land Value Solutions
Michigan Chapter
Mid-South Chapter
Mid States Farm Management
Minnesota Chapter
Nebraska Chapter
North Carolina Chapter
Oklahoma Chapter
Oregon Chapter
South Dakota Chapter
Texas Chapter
Real Quantum
Wyffels Hybrids
AgriData, Inc
Farmland Finder
Lindsay Corporation
Peoples Company
Terrace AG
Valley Irrigation