The chairwoman of the 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 National Grain and Feed Association kicks off its 116th annual convention on March 18-20 in Charleston, S.C.
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 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 U.S. grains and oilseeds.
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. NGFA members will be interested particularly in provisions that may reform the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) to reduce the idling of productive farmland, as well as reauthorization of the federal crop insurance program.
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. Among other things, the law generally requires facilities registered with FDA under the Bioterrorism Act to analyze hazards “reasonably likely to occur” in their operations and implement preventive controls to minimize the risk of the products they store, handle, manufacture and ship from becoming adulterated or misbranded.
On March 18, the NGFA also 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:
- MF Global Inc. Town Hall Meeting: A panel will explore the continuing saga and aftermath of the MF Global Inc., bankruptcy and its impact on the industry from three distinct perspectives. George Angelich, a bankruptcy attorney from the NGFA’s outside law firm of Arent Fox, New York, N.Y., will provide an update on the status of the claims process for recovering customer funds tied up in the bankruptcy. Meanwhile, Tim Andriesen, managing director of agricultural commodities and alternative investments at the CME Group, Chicago, Ill., will provide an update from the exchange on its activities in the aftermath of the bankruptcy and its review of potential changes that may be needed to better protect customer-segregated funds. And Lori O’Flaherty, chief credit officer with CoBank, Denver, Colo., will provide a perspective on lenders’ confidence in futures markets, as well as prudent risk management practices for lenders and customers.