Jan 3, 2019

Seminars cover wide field of key topics
Capital Press

By: Mitch Lies

From a national perspective on the impacts of interest rates on rural America to how to save money on energy costs, seminars at the 2019 Northwest Ag Show will investigate a wide range of topics important to Oregon farmers and ranchers.

Robert Owens, director of fixed income strategy at Farmer Mac, will be brought in by Harvest Capital Co. to provide seminar participants a national perspective on “Interest Rates: Outlook and Impacts on Rural America.”

Farmer Mac is the Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corp. and was chartered by the federal government in 1988 to serve as a secondary market for agricultural loans and mortgages.

Owens, a certified public accountant in Virginia who is head of Farmer Mac’s Fixed Income Investor Relations, has been with Farmer Mac since joining the lender in 2004, shortly after receiving his master’s degree in business administration from the University of Maryland.

While at Farmer Mac, he has been a trader on the capital markets desk, issuing short- and long-term debt, rate locking and securitizing agricultural mortgages and entering into derivative transactions.

Owens will speak at 2:30-3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 16.

Also scheduled to speak from Farmer Mac is economist Ryan Kuhns. Kuhns focuses on analyzing the agricultural economic environment for the lender, developing quantitative credit risk models and analytics.

Prior to joining Farmer Mac, Kuhns was an economist with the USDA Economic Research Service, where he forecast farm sector income and researched topics related to agricultural finance.

The Jan. 16 schedule also includes practical tips on how to save energy costs in a session sponsored by Cascade Energy. The session will include information on which Energy Trust of Oregon incentives could apply to your operation in regard to energy system upgrades.

The day’s agenda also includes a session on “Wage, Hour and Civil Rights Laws” by Kristin Bremer Moore, a partner in the Portland law firm Tonkon Torp LLP and chair of the firm’s Labor and Employment Practice Group.

Moore, recognized as one of the Best Lawyers in America for Litigation, Labor and Employment in 2018, represents employers against claims of discrimination, retaliation, wrongful discharge and other labor and employment matters.

Capital Press Managing Editor Carl Sampson kicks off Wednesday’s program with a session on “Current Trends in Agriculture.” He has been with the agricultural newspaper and website 16 years and formerly owned a small farm.

Ag Show seminars also include a session on weather featuring Phil Volker, who served 14 years as senior meteorologist at KOIN-TV, the CBS affiliate in Portland; a session on “Oregon Hazelnut Trends and Opportunities,” featuring Patrick Gabrish, vice president of sales and marketing for the Hazelnut Growers of Oregon; and a full day of sessions from Oregon OSHA on issues such as pesticide storage, on navigating Oregon’s new application exclusion zone, on personal protective equipment and other topics.

Sessions take place Wednesday and Thursday, Jan. 16 and 17, in Cascade Hall at the Oregon State Fair and Expo Center.

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