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Former Commodity Trader Headlines MU Ag Lending Symposium

Bolivar native talks policy, energy and biofuels.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Agricultural lenders can discuss today’s farm outlook with leading bankers, economists and agency heads June 6-7 at the University of Missouri’s annual Emerging Issues in Agricultural Lending Symposium.

The symposium will cover farm financial conditions and strategies for borrowers and lenders in today’s difficult agricultural economy, says MU Extension agricultural economist Joe Horner.

Bolivar native Matt Roberts, an expert in commodity markets, energy issues and biofuels, kicks off the event June 6 at 8 a.m. He also gives an afternoon session on how and why to teach borrowers about the lending process.

According to Horner, Roberts will explain in simple and entertaining terms how the economy is doing and what it means to ag lenders. He’ll cover interest rates, exchange rates, income growth and how policy decisions will or won’t affect the economy. He also discusses winners and losers in recent trade decisions.

Before becoming a public speaker, Roberts was a commodity broker, entrepreneur and professor at Ohio State. He is a frequent contributor to AgDay TV.

Other speakers and topics:

  • Dan Gieseke, Missouri loan chief, USDA Farm Service Agency, on farm financial stress.
  • Kevin Kliesen, business economist, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, on agricultural credit conditions.
  • Robert Bock, chief credit officer at FCS Financial, on options for financially challenged borrowers.
  • • Randy Blach, president of CattleFax, on the cattle and protein market situation.
  • David Warfield, partner in the Thompson Coburn law firm, on trends, laws and procedures for bankruptcies.
  • Scott Gerlt, program leader for MU’s Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) and Scott Brown, director of strategic partnerships for MU’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, on the 2018 farm bill and FAPRI’s baseline projections.
  • Bob Garino, Missouri state statistician with USDA, gives insights from the 2017 Census of Agriculture.
  • Jennifer Hoggatt, Water Resources Center director for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR), discusses future water availability and demand.

The morning session on June 7 will be a series of short talks featuring Eric Bailey, MU Extension beef nutritionist, on growing and finishing beef indoors in Missouri; Phillip Lancaster, professor at Missouri State University, compares cattle inside vs. outside; Lauren Cartwright, agricultural economist with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, tells about EQIP financing; and Jim Plassmeyer, environmental specialist with Missouri DNR, tells about Soil and Water Conservation District cost-share programs.

The event will be held at the Memorial Student Union on the MU campus in Columbia. For details or to register, go to