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Learning, Levity and Libations in Louisville

NGFA’s Country Elevator Conference and Trade Show comes to Louisville, KY, Dec. 3-5.

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"The NGFA is excited to host the 46th annual Country Elevator Conference in Louisville, KY, for the first time,” said Max Fisher, National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) director of economics and government relations. “We’ll once again feature several educational breakout sessions along with keynote speakers in a conference that is designed for everyone on NGFA member companies’ teams, and include ample opportunities for networking, education and vendor visits at the trade show.”

The Country Elevator Conference is the single largest gathering of country elevator personnel, and this year, it will feature expert insights into the global agricultural economy, facility operations, safety, social media usage, and more. It will also host Dr. Blu Putnam, chief economist and managing director at the CME Group, Inc., and Greg Peterson of the Peterson Farm Brothers, for the keynote sessions.

The conference kicks off Sunday Dec. 3, with an open Country Elevator Committee meeting covering issues important to the grain industry. Topics discussed will include:

  • Committee members provide overviews of their region’s crop production, grain quality and marketing conditions
  • Discussion on USDA Grain Warehouse Operations
  • Update on NAFTA negotiations
  • Discussion on rail service and status of Surface Transportation Board rail proceedings
  • Update on Farm Bill developments
  • Overview of Trump administration and congressional action in 2017 and anticipated agendas for 2019

The next day, Monday Dec. 4, the education portion of the conference starts with an Opening General Session which will cover NGFA Priorities for 2018 and a keynote address.

After the opening session, the conference splits into three sets of three breakout sessions including topics like:

  • We Need to Talk: How to Have Difficult Conversations in the Workplace
  • Engaging Customers to Create Mutually Beneficial Outcomes
  • Hashtag Nation: Understanding the Influence of Social Media
  • War Stories from the Grain Fields and Battlefields
  • Alternative Electronic Communication and How it Relates to Grain Trading, NGFA Trade Rules and NGFA Arbitration

The conference wraps up on the morning of Tuesday, Dec. 5 with a keynote by Greg Peterson.

Talk and shop

Networking is integral to any successful trade show, and the CEC is no exception with opportunities to speak with other attendees, sponsors and booth personnel. Meals are eaten on the trade show floor giving attendees a chance to chat over food and drinks, while refreshment breaks after every session allows for post-lecture discussion while grabbing a cup of coffee.

Sunday and Monday close with a reception on the trade show floor, the perfect time to make new connections, reconnect with old and make dinner plans for the upcoming evening.

The trade show closes at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 4, but the networking opportunities continue into the night. Try some of Kentucky’s signature beverage at the Next Gen Barrel Room, from 9:30 to 11 p.m. on Monday after grabbing some dinner in the city.

The CEC is a great way to meet peers in the grain and feed industries, learn about the issues facing the industry and learn skills that will help employees succeed. As the NGFA states on its website, “2017 CEC is the annual meeting for your entire team.” ❚

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