While we will be meeting virtually, we are all likely used to this now that over a year has passed. The outlook for the 2021 WBA Agricultural Bankers Conference once again has a great line up of presenters. You can find the full agenda online.

Dr. David Kohl will kick things off with topics of Covid-19 impact, global trends, supply-demand, consumer behavior, and challenges of ag stimulus packages. Dr Kohl always has a heartbeat of what is going on in the United States and with worldwide trends.

Dennis Frame will discuss Wisconsin water quality and what local farmers are doing to improve the water quality, sediment loss and nutrient loss. I have worked closely with Dennis and he has a real passion of the environmental impact of farmers' practices. He has helped some of the farmer-led groups to find ideas to help themselves with better farming practices.

ABA's Ed Elfmann will give us updates from Washington on upcoming changes and challenges when it comes to Agricultural adjustments to policy and trade.

Dr. Mark Stephenson will discuss where they Ag economy is heading and where it has been, including analysis of the last few years and comparing to where we are headed.

Eric Snodgrass will share how weather technology can help predict the growing season and weather factors from drought to flood. The growing season is becoming longer in most cases, and of course there's impacts on trade from other countries potential growing seasons.

To wrap up the virtual conference, Dr. Kohl, Sam Miller, and Lynn Paulson will host an open “question and answer” session where attendees can turn on their web cameras and unmute to join the conversation! They all have many years of experience and will share their thoughts and assist with your concerns.

In addition to the sessions that will be presented live, and also recorded for later access, conference exhibitors and sponsors are providing additional on-demand sessions that can be viewed at any time between the start of the conference and April 30. 

We all hope for good things to happen in the Ag sector, including weather, health, commodity prices, and fair trade. Your Ag Section Membership and support is as important as ever during these times. When we start a few membership year on June 1, 2021, please remember to renew your membership for June 1, 2021 - May 31, 2022 and keep our Ag Bankers Section strong.

I wish you all well, and I'll look forward to "seeing you" on April 7.

Chris Schneider is vice president, senior agricultural banking officer with Investors Community Bank in Manitowoc. He also serves as the current Vice Chair of the WBA Agricultural Bankers Section and will become our next Chair on June 1, 2021.