Ag Transpo Summit Focuses on Expanding Demand
Conference to be held in Arlington, VA, this July
“Connecting Growing Supply with Growing Demand” will be the theme and focus of the third Agricultural Transportation Summit conference to be conducted on July 25-26 at the Westin Crystal City Hotel in Arlington, VA.
Jointly hosted by the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) and Soy Transportation Coalition (STC), and sponsored in part by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service, this year’s conference will occur at a particularly pivotal time as the U.S. transportation network is challenged to move increasing volumes of agricultural products and other freight.
The summit will bring together leaders from agricultural producer and commodity organizations, agribusinesses, Congress and government agencies to focus on the importance of rail, inland waterways, ports and truck transportation to the competitiveness and profitability of U.S. agriculture.
Another goal of the summit is to galvanize stakeholders to proactively promote modernization of the U.S. transportation infrastructure and to develop and coordinate strategies for pursuing future enhancements. The conference will begin Wednesday, July 25, and conclude on Thursday, July 26.
“U.S. farmers continue to demonstrate an ability to feed a growing and hungry planet,” says STC Chairman Gerry Hayden, a soybean, corn, wheat and cattle producer from Calhoun, KY. “To remain profitable, however, we must not only produce what customers demand but also be able to transport it to them in a cost effective, reliable manner. Several aspects of our transportation system are under some stress in that regard, and those challenges must be addressed for U.S. agriculture to remain competitive.”
NGFA Chairman Eric Wilkey, president of Arizona Grain Inc., Casa Grande, AZ, adds each transportation mode is facing challenges that need to be addressed collaboratively.
“Over the past year, the lack of predictable, reliable rail service has affected shippers and receivers adversely in several regions, leading to plant shutdowns or slowdowns in several instances. Also looming is the continued challenge of rehabilitating the locks and dams on the inland waterways system that are well beyond their 50-year life span. There are also challenges facing the motor carrier industry, whether it be the condition of our roads and bridges, costly regulatory requirements or access to drivers in a tight labor market.”
NGFA and STC emphasized the importance of agricultural shippers and receivers, and agricultural producers, as well as representatives of the transportation sector, attending this year’s event.
“It’s important that agricultural stakeholders, transportation providers from all three modes and government come together to ensure that the U.S. transportation system remains a key competitive advantage for U.S. agriculture,” NGFA and STC say.