NGFA's President Randy Gordon Addresses Key 2014 Issues
Date Posted: December 17, 2013
National Grain & Feed Association President Randy Gordon discusses the Congressional Outlook (interview conducted in mid-November).
In addition to these issues, what other important issues does NGFA plan to address in 2014?
NGFA is placing a major effort in representing the feed and grain industry in trying to shape the Food and Drug Administration’s final rules implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) – the most fundamental reform of our nation’s food and feed safety laws since the 1930s.
It’s a huge undertaking, with more than eight significant FDA rulemakings underway or soon to be initiated that would establish a new hazard analysis and prevention-based regulatory approach.
In addition, NGFA continues to expend considerable efforts in working with the North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA), producer groups and technology providers to address in a collaborative way marketing-related issues associated with the introduction of new biotech-enhanced traits.
In an effort spearheaded by the American Soybean Association and National Corn Growers Association, this is the first time that biotech providers, producers and the grain handling, feed, processing and export industries have come together to discuss these issues.
Our focus is on addressing market-related disruptions that can arise if a biotech trait that is planted in the United States is not yet approved in U.S. export markets, as well as biotech events that have functionally different output traits that make their presence in food or feed inappropriate above a certain threshold level.
We’ll also have a very active year planned on rail issues, examining potential expansion of NGFA’s unique Rail Arbitration Rules and involvement in several key federal Surface Transportation Board proceedings – including one on competitive switching and one that has not been issued yet on creating a more workable system that shippers can use to challenge grain rail rates that are believed to be unreasonable.
NGFA also plans to invest significant time on agricultural sustainability issues that are becoming increasingly important to domestic and foreign customers of U.S. agricultural products.
And we’re working closely with NAEGA on international trade issues, including the Trans Pacific Partnership and U.S.-EU trade negotiations.
On the education and training front, we’ve just completed a survey of our membership on what it considers to be the most important areas in which the NGFA should invest resources in the coming year.
The topics identified run the gamut, including more education on grain contracting practices, trade rules and arbitration in which the NGFA plays a clear leadership role, to compliance guidance on FDA’s new food and feed safety rules, to safety, health and environmental issues.
The results are being evaluated by our Country Elevator; Feed Manufacturing and Technology; and Safety, Health and Environmental Quality Committees, among others, and I’m really excited about the potential NGFA has to serve these member needs.
In addition, NGFA has just launched a new Committee Apprenticeship Program, in which we’re involving persons who are relatively new in the grain, feed and processing industry to serve as apprentices on NGFA committees where they can learn more about the issues that affect the industry and the strategies NGFA uses to address them.
This was one of the major outcomes of NGFA’s most recent Long-Range Plan, completed in 2012, and has real promise in helping develop some of the best and brightest future talent for our industry.