Grain News

OH Rep. Bob Gibbs to Keynote NGFA 118th Annual Convention in Hilton Head, NC

Date Posted: March 17, 2014

This article is reprinted by permission from the NGFA Newsletter, Volume 66, Number 5, March 7, 2014.

More than 600 leaders of the grain, feed, processing and export industry will get a behind-the-curtain look at Congress from Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-Ohio, when he delivers the keynote address during the NGFA’s 118th annual convention in Hilton Head, S.C., March 30 to April 1.

Because of heavy registrations, the convention headquarters hotel – the Westin Hilton Head Resort – has been sold out.

Hotel reservations now are available by contacting the NGFA’s backup hotel – the Omni Hilton Head Resort Hotel, located about a 10-minute drive from the Westin.

The NGFA will be providing complementary van service between the two hotels for convention registrants.

Gibbs will discuss congressional priorities for the coming year, and offer observations on the passage of the 2014 farm bill and prospects for enactment of major waterways infrastructure legislation during a grand opening breakfast on March 31.

The second-term congressman is a key member of the House Agriculture Committee and chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Water Resources and Environment Committee.

Within the agriculture committee, Gibbs was a leading proponent of a market-oriented farm bill and opposed high target prices linked to actual plantings that potentially would have distorted producer planting decisions and posed a risk of violating U.S. trade commitments under the World Trade Organization.

Meanwhile, as Water Resources Subcommittee chairman, he has helped lead efforts to enact the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) that would authorize new inland waterway infrastructure projects, enhance port and harbor dredging, and reform the operations and expedite project reviews of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The NGFA’s convention, whose theme is “A Tradition of Community…A Future of Growth,” also will feature an address by Howard Minigh, president and chief executive officer of CropLife International, who will provide his organization’s perspectives on innovation in crop biotechnology and how to address market-related challenges for biotech-enhanced events that have not secured foreign market approvals or that express functionally different output traits.

He also will focus on the regulatory and global challenges faced by biotech developers and the grain handling/processing industry.

Regulatory overreach and its implications for the grain, feed and processing industry – as well as efforts to address this challenge – will be the focus of Marc Freedman, executive director of labor law policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Washington, D.C.

NGFA’s convention program also will feature major sessions on futures market customer-protection issues and agricultural sustainability.

Examining futures market issues will be Mark Wetjen (invited), acting chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and Bryan Durkin, chief operating officer of the CME Group.

Meanwhile, a three person-panel will discuss agricultural sustainability initiatives and how they may affect the grain handling, feed manufacturing, grain and oilseed processing, and export sectors in coming years.

A diverse panel will examine sustainability issues from different perspectives – a branded food company, the livestock industry and a major conservation organization

Featured panelists will be Steve Peterson, director of sourcing sustainability for General Mills Inc., Minneapolis, Minn.; Randy Spronk, president of the National Pork Producers Council, Des Moines, Iowa; and Sean McMahon, North American agriculture program director for The Nature Conservancy, Arlington, Va.

In addition, the NGFA convention will feature a major Transportation Open Forum on March 30 focusing on rail and barge transportation issues.

Featured speakers are:

Jack Hellman, president and chief executive officer, Genesee & Wyoming Inc., Darien, Conn., who will share his vision for the company’s fast-growing agricultural business and his perspectives on the rail sector.

Mike Toohey, president and chief executive officer, Waterways Council Inc., Arlington, Va., who will focus on prospects for enacting and funding inland waterway infrastructure projects.

• John Miller, vice president, agricultural products, BNSF Railway, Fort Worth, Texas, who will update NGFA members on the carrier’s infrastructure investment, as well as the causes of its significant service disruptions and steps being taken to address them.

The convention also features a golf tournament to benefit the National Grain and Feed Foundation, established in 1965.

Complete convention program, registration and hotel information is available at or by contacting the NGFA at 202-289-0873.

In addition, you can follow information from the convention on Twitter using the hashtag #ngfaconv14.

See you in Hilton Head!

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