John Koraleski, acting president and CEO of Union Pacific Railroad, offered an overview of the investment the railroad has put back into infrastructure serving agriculture in six key regions in an attempt to stay ahead of the capacity curve, noting the rail’s commitment to agriculture as “an important part of the franchise.”
NGFA also bid farewell to its long-standing president Kendell W. Keith, whom after 25 years has retired.
Additional speakers: Terry Barr, director of CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Group, delivered an update on the economic state of agriculture, which he reported has a bright future considering global demand for animal protein and the strength of export markets. Marc Freedman, executive director of Labor Law Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, discussed the reach of regulation and what “the fourth house” of the government is doing to lessen the blow to agribusiness.
General Industry Session
Bunge’s CEO Soren Schroder opened the general industry session with a technical overview of Bunge’s projections for growth forecasts for the year ahead and the future.
“By 2020, global trade will be 500 million metric tons,” Schroder said. “Most of the growth has been and will continue to be in China and Asia.” Part of the challenge, he noted, will be maintaining and growing “what we have and not falling behind” as farming is profitable anywhere and there’s plenty of competition. While domestic markets are not growing fast, increased yields are important in fueling global export markets.
Additional speakers: Michael Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods, USDA, spoke about the FDA’s Implementation of FSMA and the implications for grain, feed and trade. Rounding out the conference, Eric Conn, head of OSHA practice with Epstein Becker Green, tackled the recent OSHA trend of heavy enforcement of violations and presented tips for what to do during an OSHA inspection.
NGFA members can access the presentations at NGFA.org.