Jeff Gruetzmacher profileNo Place But Up! That’s the title of the presentation to be given by Lance Fox at our April 10-11 WBA Agricultural Bankers Conference in Wisconsin Dells. Lance, a veterinarian by trade, will talk about his experiences climbing Mount Everest in the Himalayas, and how he and his group overcame their own egos, physical, and mental challenges to climb the world’s biggest mountain. He went to Everest not to conquer the mountain, but instead, to conquer a dream.

The presentation is a fitting cap for this year’s conference, as many of us feel like there is literally “no place to go but up” in agricultural markets. Having prices being stuck in the doldrums for years now, there seems to be an increasing sense of helplessness amongst ourselves and with our farm customers.

This year’s conference will highlight the U.S. economy, grain markets, and some tough topics such as bankruptcy, valuing collateral, and tuning up our defensive stands.

While we know there is some serious discussion to be had in today’s environment, we all need to contemplate other’s life experiences, like Lance Fox, to know that there is a future in agricultural for banks and for our customers. Knowing how to overcome some of those adversities or make alternative decisions are important things to do.

I look forward to seeing you in two weeks at the conference!

Jeff Gruetzmacher is senior vice president with Royal Bank in Lancaster and the current Vice Chair of the WBA Ag Section Board of Directors.