For more than 100 years, the NGFA has been a voice of the industry and supporting its members with its arbitration system, training and other member benefits.Arbitration System
The NGFA is a full-service organization whose programs, services and products protect and enhance members’ businesses.
Leadership on Policy Issues
More than 300 top managers and industry experts serve on NGFA committees that identify and act on industry issues and concerns. Through these committees, the industry achieves consensus on policy, pursues mutual goals and resolves shared problems.
Issues in which the NGFA exerts a predominant leadership role include:
- Agricultural Policy: The NGFA urges Congress and the federal government to adopt policies that foster beneficial agricultural growth and reliance upon competitive markets. The NGFA opposes discredited acreage-idling and supply control programs that encourage foreign production, result in lost U.S. market share and undermine U.S. global competitiveness. The NGFA also urges changes to the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) to target truly environmentally sensitive land and enhance water quality.
- Risk Management/Futures Markets: The NGFA is the leading advocate of policies designed to ensure futures markets meet the needs of commercial hedgers of grains, oilseeds and grain products. The NGFA works extensively with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and U.S. futures exchanges to promote efficient price discovery and risk management.
- Transportation: The NGFA is the leading agribusiness group influencing national rail and barge policy. It advocates marketplace freedoms for all modes of transportation, with proper safeguards to protect grain shippers/receivers, agricultural producers and the public when adequate competition does not exist. The NGFA also offers unique rail arbitration and mediation services to resolve disputes between grain, feed and processing companies, and railroads that are NGFA members. The NGFA also advocates improvements to the U.S. inland waterways system and ports to preserve and enhance its role in cost-competitive transport of grain and grain products.
- Grain Storage and Merchandising: The NGFA represents the interest of commercial grain-handling facilities in advocating effective, reasonable and cost-competitive warehouse laws and regulations that protect depositors, while fostering efficient storage and marketing of grains and grain products. As such, the NGFA strongly supports the U.S. Warehouse Act as a competitive alternative to State Grain Warehouse Laws.
- Food/Feed Safety: The NGFA advocates science- and risk-based policies that further enhance existing private-sector product safety and quality-assurance programs that have contributed to making the U.S. food and feed supply the safest and most abundant in the world.
- Feed and Animal Agriculture: The NGFA in 1994 developed the first industry trade association Model Feed Quality Assurance Program, and subsequently has led efforts to encourage adoption of product-safety and quality-assurance principles through educational workshops, videos and web-based distance learning programs. The NGFA plays a leadership role with Congress, the Food and Drug Administration and State Feed Regulatory Agencies in advocating prudent science- and risk-based approaches to feed and feed ingredient product safety. It also interacts with international bodies on feed and feed ingredient regulatory issues.
- International Trade: The NGFA advocates U.S. policies that increase access to foreign markets and enhance the competitiveness of U.S. agricultural exports. The NGFA strongly supports aggressive pursuit of free-trade principles under the World Trade Organization, as well as bilateral and regional free-trade agreements that foster the goals of global trade liberalization.
- Biotechnology: The NGFA supports agricultural biotechnology and other scientific advancements that promote an adequate, safe and high-quality food and feed supply. As a key element of this support, the NGFA believes biotech-enhanced traits should be commercialized only after achieving broad, deep consumer acceptance, as well as authorizations from important U.S. export markets, to enable the industry to meet customer preferences and maintain access to global markets. The NGFA advocates prudent government policies and oversight to guard against the presence of unauthorized or restricted-use biotech-enhanced traits in the commodity stream. It also advocates a responsible and commercially achievable tolerance for the accidental presence of biotech-enhanced traits in commodity shipments.
- Grain Inspection and Quality: The NGFA is involved extensively in grain, grain inspection and quality issues considered by Congress and federal agencies. It works to preserve the U.S. grain-handling system’s reputation as a responsible, reliable and price-competitive supplier of the wide range of qualities sought by domestic and foreign customers.
- Trade Rules: First adopted in 1902, these rules spell out the rights and obligations of buyers and sellers trading grain, feed, barges and barge freight, and rail freight. They are incorporated into the vast majority of commercial contracts. This enables contracts to be more concise, yet cover important trade terms, thereby reducing the risk of trade disputes.
- Arbitration Rights: NGFA members have exclusive access to the oldest known system of arbitration in North America. Since 1896, NGFA arbitration has resolved trade disputes in a timely, cost-effective way, without resorting to litigation.
- Employee Safety and Health: The NGFA produces cutting-edge education and training materials to enhance the safety and health of employees working in the industry. These efforts included ground-breaking fire and explosion research, begun in 1978, that discovered the causes and ways of reducing such hazards in grain-handling facilities — results that were shared worldwide to save lives and property. The NGFA also interacts extensively with Congress and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). As such, the NGFA has been in the forefront in urging that OSHA safety and health standards be performance-oriented and pass scientific muster, and in developing materials to assist the industry in complying with OSHA requirements in a cost-effective manner.
- Agroterrorism and Facility Security: The NGFA develops industry guidance on conducting facility risk-assessments and implementing practical, effective and realistic security plans appropriate for the type of facility. It also intervenes on legislative and regulatory matters to ensure they are practical and effective for the types, characteristics and operations of facilities being addressed, and that they meet real, versus perceived, risks.
- Environmental Policy: The NGFA interacts extensively with the Environmental Protection Agency on regulations that apply to air quality, as well as to fumigants used to protect the safety and quality of stored grains and oilseeds, as well as processed grain products. The NGFA also is engaged in the development of agricultural sustainability policies by U.S. and international bodies.
- Facility Operations: The NGFA disseminates information and conducts seminars to help managers operate facilities and equipment safely and efficiently.
- Biweekly NGFA Newsletters and frequent NGFA E-Alerts disseminated electronically.
- Specialized conferences and seminars on diverse topics, such as trading, trade rules and dispute resolution; grain contracting and merchandising; transportation; safety, health and environmental compliance; food/feed defense and facility security; and grain-quality management.
- Internet-based distance learning on feed-quality assurance.
- DVDs and other audio-visual training materials on practices to enhance employee safety and health.
- Annual Convention that focuses on key industry policy issues.
- Annual Country Elevator/Feed Industry Conference that focuses on practical business and market issues.
- A web site www.ngfa.org that provides instant access to exclusive information and education/training programs targeted to the industry, and links to other useful resources.
The Industry’s Washington Office
The NGFA’s office is the “Washington headquarters” for the industry, working to develop and execute strategies to successfully resolve industry issues. The Association’s 13-member professional staff includes specialists in grain operations, feed and feed ingredient manufacturing, legislative affairs, government relations, engineering, economics, law and communications. The NGFA’s staff is a liaison between industry and government, and assists member companies in accessing information and solving problems.