MINOT, N.D. (KXNET) — Agriculture lenders are an important part of our state’s economy.

They help fund North Dakota farmers.

And to help those lenders, an annual conference is happening now to help them navigate today’s agricultural economy.

North Dakota State University is hosting the 32nd Annual Conference for Agricultural Lenders from October 24 through 27.

Agricultural loan officers, also known as Ag Lenders, help farmers and rural citizens get the funds they need to fund their operations, purchase property, and more.

“Ag Lenders like to get this information so they can help, it helps them work with their clients to get more information on the situation at hand,” said Ron Haugen, the NDSU Extension farm management specialist.

The conference covers a variety of topics including bioenergy, crop and livestock outlook, and tax updates on farm programs.

One of the bioenergy presenters talked about biofuel, and also spoke on the ongoing energy crisis in Europe, which is getting worse as the war between Russia and Ukraine continues.

“Europe has been reliant on Russian energy for 60 years, 65 years, including natural gas,” said David Ripplinger, an associate professor, extension bioproducts, and bioenergy economist at NDSU.

Ripplinger says the European energy crisis is affecting other parts of the world with higher food, fertilizer, and energy prices.

Another presenter spoke about the livestock price situation and outlook.

He says three-fourths of the cow herd in the United States is in drought, which will have short and long-term effects.

“The winter wheat area is low and dry where John came from, out in Oklahoma. And winter wheat is going into dust and none is growing, And typically this time of the year, we would get support on calf prices from that winter wheat because basically free grazing, unlike what we have to background up here by six dollar, 30 cent corn,” said Tim Petry, the extension livestock marketing economist.

Haugen says in recent years, the conference has been held each year in Fargo, Grand Forks, Bismarck, and Minot.

He says this conference is important to have for lenders and some will travel over 100 miles to attend a conference session.

“So we’ve been providing this service for, as I’ve mentioned, 32 years and they appreciate what we do and we like the turnout,” said Haugen.

So far, the conference was held in Grand Forks on Monday and in Minot on Tuesday.

The Outlook Conference for Agricultural Lenders will be in Bismarck on Wednesday and in Fargo on Thursday.