The chairwoman of the US Senate Agriculture Committee, top executives from the grain and rail industries, and the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) top food and feed safety official will headline the program when the US National Grain and Feed Association kicks off its 116th annual convention today in Charleston, South Carolina, USA.
During the three-day event, industry leaders also will focus on the aftermath of the MF Global Inc. bankruptcy, including initial policy recommendations from the NGFA’s MF Global Task Force on ways to enhance protection of customer funds.
More than 675 industry members and guests have preregistered to attend the convention, which will be conducted at the Charleston Place Hotel, Charleston, S.C.
Established in 1896, the NGFA consists of more than 1,000-member companies from all sectors of the grain elevator, feed and feed ingredient, integrated livestock and poultry, grain processing, biofuels and exporting business that operate about 7,000 facilities nationwide and handle more than 70 percent of all US grains and oilseeds.
2012 Farm Bill
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., will keynote the NGFA’s convention on March 19, and is expected to provide an update on the committee’s plans to begin drafting a 2012 farm bill.
Immediately following, the top official at the Union Pacific Railroad – Acting President and Chief Executive Officer Jack Koraleski – will deliver a major address on rail policy issues and efforts to give customers a competitive advantage.
On March 20, the NGFA’s convention program will be headlined by a keynote industry address by Soren Schroder, president and chief executive officer with Bunge North America Inc., St. Louis, Mo. His address will focus on growth and demand in global trade.
Also headlining the program on March 20 will be Michael Taylor, FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods, Rockville, Md., who will preview the agency’s proposed regulations expected to be issued soon to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act that will affect grain elevators, feed manufacturers, grain processors and exporters.
On March 18, the NGFA will conduct a special workshop to assist industry in complying with the expected requirements under FSMA, featuring presentations by Matt Frederking, director of regulatory affairs and operations at Ralco Nutrition Inc., Marshall, Minn., and NGFA Director of Feed Services David Fairfield, Atlantic, Iowa. Two other featured open forums will be conducted on the afternoon of March 18:
Other NGFA convention program topics and speakers on March 19-20 include:
- An economic outlook for 2012, featuring Terry Barr, director of the Knowledge Exchange Group at CoBank, Denver, Colo.
- A discussion of the burdens imposed on business by federal government overregulation, including examples relevant to the grain, feed and grain processing sectors, by Marc Freedman, director of labour law policy at the US Chamber of Commerce, Washington, D.C.
- A management perspective on mitigating safety and health risks for employees in the workplace, featuring Eric Conn, head of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
- Addresses by NGFA Chairman Hal Reed, chief operating officer for The Andersons, Maumee, Ohio, and former President Kendell W. Keith, Alexandria, Va. Keith will provide perspectives from his 31 years with the NGFA’s staff, 25 years of which he served as the association’s president.
The convention also features a golf tournament to benefit the National Grain and Feed Foundation, established in 1965 to pursue research and education initiatives to benefit the grain, feed and grain processing industry. An “Ag Village” trade show also will take place.