New Year Agenda
Still reeling from a slow and hefty harvest, the industry turns to addressing regulatory challenges, growing trade barriers
Happy new year! Is it just me or did 2014 come and go in the blink of an eye? It wasn’t that long ago farmers were plowing their fields and planting the seeds that would become part of the largest-ever U.S. corn and soybean harvest at 18.4 billion bushels produced. And wasn’t everybody in agriculture — including myself — just rippling with fear over the threat of loads of grain piling up with no access to rail?
That situation panned out better than most expected, but I can’t say I’m surprised. With genetic traits and precision agriculture continuing to improve crop yields, more and more elevators are investing in storage and equipment to keep up. For more on how last harvest fared compared to early indicators, see Merchandisers’ Corner on pg. 56, “The December ‘Reveal’.”
But enough of 2014; it’s time to look ahead, which is why I appreciated attending the National Grain & Feed Association’s Country Elevator Conference in December. The 2014 CEC’s educational program was chock-full of advice for grain handlers and merchandisers and predictions for 2015.
As expected, some of the industry’s top challenges involve business-hindering regulations by the EPA, the FDA and OSHA. NGFA’s policy experts assured attendees they’re working with legislators and key stakeholders to reduce the potential impacts these regulations will have on its membership.
Among newer concerns is China’s refusal to accept certain GM traits at its borders and the feeling is trade officials won’t be changing their stance soon. The world’s most populated country is beginning to take on the E.U.-inspired view that GMOs aren’t safe and require more testing — an absurd position for a country to take when its protein demand and consumption are rising daily. But I’m hopeful a resolution will come soon thanks to industry groups that promote Western views on global issues like food security, biotech and stewardship.
I had a wonderful time at CEC, speaking with readers and supporters of Feed & Grain who stopped by our booth or paused to catch up during refreshment breaks. I’m thrilled that our next in-person meeting opportunity is coming so soon with the International Production and Processing Expo in Atlanta.
I hope that you’re attending and will check out our comprehensive IPPE resources both online and in this issue. Turn to pg. 62 or visit ippe.feedandgrain.com for trade show hours, networking event schedules and information about featured exhibitors’ products, equipment and services. And please visit us at booth A2539 to tell us what’s on your agenda for another succesful year in 2015!