Grain News


Registration Now Open For Ag Transportation Summit ... July 30-31 ... Rosemont, IL

Date Posted: April 5, 2013

This article is reprinted by permission from the NGFA Newsletter, V. 65, N. 7, April 4, 2013

Plans are being finalized for the first-ever Agricultural Transportation Summit to be conducted jointly by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soy Transportation Coalition and NGFA on July 30-31 near Chicago.

Registration now is open.

Attendance is limited to 250 persons, so please register early!

The conference, which will be conducted at the Westin O’Hare in Rosemont, Ill., is designed to bring together leaders from agricultural producer organizations, agribusinesses and government to focus on the importance of inland waterway, rail, truck and vessel 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 that serves U.S. agriculture, and to better coordinate strategies for pursuing future enhancements.

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has been invited to keynote the event, which begins at 8 a.m. on July 30 and concludes at noon on July 31.

Federal Surface Transportation Board Chairman Daniel Elliott has been confirmed as the keynote luncheon speaker on July 30, and an industry leader has been invited to keynote the conference on the morning of July 31.

Other topics scheduled to be addressed by panels during the summit include:

Maritime issues, including the condition of the inland waterways system and the need for a sustainable funding mechanism to upgrade the deteriorating and outdated locks and dams on the upper Mississippi and Illinois River System.

The session also will address the status of harbor maintenance and dredging, and the importance of port modernization to U.S. agriculture. Confirmed panelists include Rick Calhoun, senior vice president, grain and oilseed supply chain and president of Cargo Carriers, Cargill Inc., Minneapolis, Minn.; Mike Steenhoek, executive director of the Soy Transportation Coalition, Ankeny, Iowa; and Steve Stockton, director of civil works for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Rail transportation, including the current and future role of rail in transporting grains, oilseeds, processed commodities and farm inputs, competition for rail capacity from other commodity movements, trends in rail infrastructure investment, shipper perspectives on rail service and liability issues, and the outcomes of a study on ways to stimulate rail investment in rural areas.

Confirmed speakers are: Paul Hammes, vice president and general manager, agricultural products, Union Pacific Railroad Co., Omaha, Neb.; Dan Mack, vice president, transportation and terminal operations, CHS, St. Paul, Minn.; and Kendell Keith, TRC Consulting Ltd., Alexandria, Va.

Truck and motor carrier matters, including a focus on truck weight limits, driver shortages and hours of service rules.

Panelists will include representatives from the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Industrial Transportation League and U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Containerized shipping, featuring a panel consisting of Bo DeLong, vice president, The DeLong Co. Inc., Clinton, Wis., as well as representatives from steamship operators and rail carriers.

In addition, the summit is scheduled to include a panel of state department of transportation directors, presentations on the development of transportation infrastructure in Brazil, and a focus on the status of the Panama Canal expansion project.

The NGFA’s Rail Shipper/Receiver Committee will meet on the afternoon of July 31 in conjunction with the conference.

The early bird registration fee is $265 per person if received on or before July 1.

The on-site registration fee is $350 per person.

Hotel reservations may be made online or by calling the Westin O’Hare Hotel in Rosemont, Ill., at 1-888-627-8517.

Use reference code NGD10A to obtain the special conference rate of $179 plus tax.

For more information, call 202-289-0873.

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