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Association News - Spring 2007
Major Sessions on Biofuels, Futures Market Performance Highlight NGFA’s 111th Annual Convention Program

WASHINGTON – Major sessions featuring new information on the likely impacts of biofuels expansion on U.S. agriculture and the performance of U.S. futures markets highlight the 111th annual convention program of the National Grain and Feed Association, scheduled for March 18-20 in San Francisco, Calif.

During the three-day event, leaders of the nation’s grain, feed and processing industry also will be focusing on rail and waterway transportation issues, challenges facing animal agriculture production, changes to the licensing agreement governing federally licensed grain warehouses, and important safety and health issues facing grain-handling and feed manufacturing operations.

The NGFA convention, to be conducted at the Westin St. Francis Hotel, will feature major sessions on:

Biofuels Growth and Impacts: This session will feature new information on the projected growth and impacts of the biofuels industry, including projections for the number of ethanol and biofuels plants likely to exist by 2010; their impacts on national and regional agricultural markets, crop prices and relative competitiveness of the U.S. livestock, poultry and export sectors; and implications for the Conservation Reserve Program. The session also will examine potential changes in corn yield trends and changing quality characteristics of corn and distillers dried grains with solubles, the co-product of ethanol production. Confirmed speakers include Dr. Dermot Hayes, agricultural economist, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa; and James Tobin, director of biotechnology business development for Monsanto Co., St. Louis, Mo.

Agricultural Futures Markets and Delivery Issues: A four-person panel will examine current issues confronting U.S. futures markets and those who utilize futures to hedge risk. A major focus will be on the extent and impacts of growing fund and investment capital on futures and cash market performance – one of the hottest topics facing the industry today – and potential changes being considered by the exchanges to address those issues. Confirmed speakers include Michael Dunn, a member of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the regulatory agency that oversees futures markets; and David Lehman, chief economist and managing director of the Chicago Board of Trade. Other panelists will include a grain industry expert and one of the researchers at the University of Illinois involved in its study of CBOT futures market performance.
Earlier in the program, NGFA convention-goers also will hear about new developments at the CBOT from its executive vice president and chief operation officer, Bryan Durkin.

Rail Transportation: Perspectives on the condition of the rail industry, including rail infrastructure and capacity challenges affecting agricultural transportation, will be the focus of Charles W. “Wick” Moorman, chairman, president and chief executive officer of the Norfolk Southern Railway, Norfolk, Va. Moorman also is scheduled to discuss his railroad’s strategy for addressing rail service and fuel-surcharge issues.

In addition, Surface Transportation Board Chairman Charles Nottingham has been invited to address a separate rail open forum scheduled for March 18. That session also will feature Lynn Anderson, senior vice president, marketing, Cedar American Rail Holdings Inc./DM&E and ICE Railroads, Sioux Falls, S.D.

Executive Briefing on Safety and Health Issues: One of the NGFA convention’s open forums will feature a management-level briefing on important safety and health issues facing grain handlers, feed manufacturers and grain processors. Confirmed speakers are Mark Daniels, director of health and safety for CHS, St. Paul, Minn.; and Melissa Bailey, an attorney with the Washington-based law firm of Arent Fox, the NGFA’s outside legal counsel.

Global Capital Markets and Economic Outlook: The widely read and highly regarded Dennis Gartman, editor and publisher of The Gartman Letter, will preview global capital markets and the political and economic issues that will affect them in the coming year.

• NGFA Chairman Ron Olson, vice president, grain operations for General Mills Inc., Minneapolis, will provide a preview of the NGFA’s policy priorities for 2007.

Other speakers invited to address the NGFA’s convention include Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns, a key member of Congress, and a leader of the U.S. poultry industry.

The NGFA’s convention also will feature working sessions of most of the association’s 17 committees addressing the most pressing issues facing grain elevators, commercial feed mills, integrated livestock and poultry operations, and grain processors and millers. Virtually all NGFA committee meetings are open to all convention registrants.

The convention also features a golf tournament to benefit the National Grain and Feed Foundation, as well as an “Ag Village” trade show. The convention registration fee is $530 per person for NGFA members, $1,000 for nonmembers and $225 for spouses. Complete convention program and registration information is available on the NGFA’s web site at www.ngfa.org, or by contacting the NGFA at 202-289-0873.

AFIA-Founded coalition scores major win against animal rights and eco-terrorism with passage of landmark federal law

ARLINGTON, VA. – The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) applauded a unanimous approval by the House of Representatives of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA), S. 3880. House action followed approval by the Senate on September 30. The bill now goes to the President who is expected to sign it.

AFIA, a founding member of the Farm Animal Welfare Coalition (FAWC), an ad hoc Washington, DC coalition of the nation’s largest feed, farmer, rancher and biotechnology groups, played a key role in promoting the landmark legislation. FAWC was joined by 175 national, regional and state agricultural and science organizations along with related animal industry groups across the country.

AFIA President Joel Newman congratulated Congress on passage of the legislation, calling it “a tremendous step forward in dealing with one of the nation’s greatest domestic terrorist threats—animal rights and environmental extremism.” Newman said, “AETA was sorely needed to provide law enforcement with additional tools to protect U.S. agriculture and science from violence by radical animal activists.”

The new legislation closes gaps in existing law and holds accountable those who intentionally disrupt or damage agricultural production and injure or intimidate those involved in it.”

Drafted with assistance from federal counterterrorism experts, AETA amends the federal criminal code to deal with increased radical animal rights and eco-terrorist violence. It extends protections for “animal enterprises” (housing and facilities legitimately using animals) to individuals, businesses and agencies, such as farmers, scientists, biomedical and biotechnology industries, research universities, teaching hospitals, financial institutions and other lawful commercial enterprises related to animal use. The legislation provides penalties for intentional economic damage and for causing bodily harm or placing an individual in reasonable fear of death or bodily harm.

Contrary to allegations by animal rights groups opposing the bill, the legislation does not in any way threaten First Amendment rights, and, in fact, explicitly protects all legal assembly, demonstrations and other legal public expression.

Besides agriculture and food production, broad support for the legislation included many organizations contributing to high standards of well being for animals. Among them were organizations representing biomedical research, universities, entertainment, exhibitions, education, clothing and recreation.

For additional information, visit AFIA’s website at www.afia.org.

GEAPS, SATRA Announce Plans for 8 Bin-Rescue Training Courses

MINNEAPOLIS -- GEAPS and the Safety and Technical Rescue Association (SATRA) will offer eight, 32-hour bin-rescue training courses in 2007.

SATRA is a volunteer group operating in several Midwestern states. The group provides search-and-rescue services and training for a wide variety of emergencies, and assists first responders when they need help or special equipment or skills.

The classes, which will be taught by SATRA, will incorporate hands-on training to provide students with an understanding of atmospheric and physical hazards associated with silo entry. The classes will also address proper operational procedures and the use of specialized equipment. A significant emphasis will be placed on safety for both the rescuer and the victim.

The class is physically demanding and involves getting into a confined space and an engulfment situation. Students are required to bring a pair of leather gloves, hard hat, body harness, work boots, work clothes, and course materials, which will be sent to participants four weeks prior to class. The cost is $590 per student.

Registration and administration of the eight courses is being handled by Regulatory Consultants Inc. (RCI), Horton, Kan. For more information, contact Jenny Boeckman at RCI, 800-888-9596, extension 213.

The classes are sheduled for:
April 16-20, at Riceland Foods Inc., Jonesboro, Ark. Registration due by March 16.
May 7-11, at Perdue Farms, Berlin, Md. Registration due by April 7.
May 21-26, at Star of the West Milling Co., Frankenmuth, Mich. Register by April 21.
June 11-15, at Southwest Grain/CHS, Dickinson, N.D. Register by May 11.
July 23-27, at Twomey Co., Yorkwood Facility, Monmouth, Ill. Register by June 23.
Aug. 13-17, at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind. Register by July 13.
Aug. 27-31, at United Farmers Cooperative, Benedict, Neb. Register by July 27.
Sept. 17-21, at Northwest Grain Growers, Walla Walla, Wash. Register by Aug. 17.

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