…Foundation raises funds for safety projects; Convention photos available…
By Sarah Gonzalez, Director of Communications and Digital Media
About 500 NGFA members and guests gathered in Austin, Texas, for the NGFA’s 124th annual convention from March 7-10, where they discussed a renewed focus and commitment to preventing engulfments in grain bins, the nation’s trade environment, transportation and policy issues, and raised money for the National Grain and Feed Foundation, whose work during the coming year will focus heavily on workplace and on-farm grain bin safety.
Several corporate moratoriums on travel related to COVID-19 concerns just had begun as NGFA’s convention neared, resulting in a decrease in expected attendance. But the convention still attracted nearly 500 members and guests, and the Association is grateful to those who attended a substantive and productive event!
During the convention, NGFA membership elected JoAnn Brouillette, president and managing partner of Demeter LP in Fowler, Ind., as the new NGFA Chairman, the 68th industry leader to serve at the helm of the Association and the first woman to do so.
“I’m deeply humbled to serve this industry that is very near and dear to my heart and my family’s heart,” Brouillette said during brief remarks following her election. Her father, Don Brouillette, served as NGFA president – formerly the chairman title – from 1984-86.
NGFA members also ratified changes to NGFA Trade Rules during the annual business meeting on March 10. Read the amendments here.
Board and Industry Officer Elections
During its annual business meeting, the Association’s members elected to serve as NGFA officers:
Chairman: JoAnn Brouillette, President, Demeter LP, Fowler, Ind.
Brouillette is managing partner and president of Demeter LP, a privately owned agribusiness that has operated for more than seven decades. She is the third generation of her family to head the company. Since joining the firm in 1986, Brouillette held various merchandising and management positions before assuming her current role in 1996. Brouillette was appointed to the Board of Trustees for Purdue University in July 2006 and serves as vice chairman of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, which recognized her as Volunteer of the Year in 2018. She was awarded the AgriVision Award from the State of Indiana in 2010 and appointed to the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiation by President George W. Bush in 2003 and again in 2005.
Brouillette formerly served on the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, the Indiana Ag Advisory Committee, Purdue’s Athletic Advisory Committee and the Greater Lafayette Commerce Board of Directors. Her achievements include being named a YWCA Salute to Women Honoree in 2014 and to the Silver Anniversary Team of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 2004. She received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Hanover College in Hanover, Ind.
First Vice Chairman: Greg Beck, Senior Vice President, Grain Division, CGB Enterprises, Covington, La.
Beck currently is responsible for all grain-related operations at CGB, which include personnel, trading, risk management, identity-preserved grains, plant operations, grain origination and mergers/acquisitions, as well as the financial performance of the company’s Grain Division.
After graduating from Purdue University with undergraduate and master’s degrees, he began his industry career with Consolidated Grain and Barge Co. in 1984 as a barge fleet dispatcher in Cincinnati, Ohio, later assuming additional duties in truck dispatching and bulk terminal operations. After gaining logistics and transportation experience, in 1987 he began producer grain-origination and commodity trading. Subsequently, he began to manage facilities, which led to serving as general manager of two of CGB’s grain division regions. In July 2002, he assumed the role of Grain Division vice president and became a corporate officer of CGB Enterprises Inc. Throughout his career, he has served on and/or chaired or co-chaired different committees both inside and outside CGB. In addition to serving as NGFA First Vice Chairman, he serves as chairman of the National Grain and Feed Foundation Board of Trustees. In addition, he serves as president of the Gulf South BMW Owners Club and as a member of the Board of Directors of Grace Adventures, a Christian team ministry that engages, reaches and deploys political, business and spiritual leaders in southeast Louisiana.
Second Vice Chairman: Chris Boerm, President, Global Transportation, Archer Daniels Midland Co.; Decatur, Ill.
Boerm joined ADM in 1991 and has served in a variety of merchandising and management positions since that time. He most recently served as president, grain, and before that as an adviser to ADM’s Office of the Chairman. He also served as the vice president and general manager of Eastern Grain and Corn Processing Origination and as a senior merchandising manager for ADM’s Corn Processing business unit. Boerm has served or serves on the Boards of Directors for ADM Insurance, ADM Harvest Shipping, Pacificor LLC, Benson Quinn Commodities, the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois, and the NGFA Board of Directors and Executive Committee. Chris is also member of ADM’s Diversity and Inclusion Council. Boerm received a bachelor’s degree in finance and management from Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, and an MBA from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
NGFA Board of Directors: In addition, NGFA members elected the following persons to serve three-year terms on the Association’s Board of Directors:
- Patrick Bryan, President and Chief Executive Officer, Pacificor LLC, Portland, Ore.
- Brett Caplice, Vice President and General Manager, North America Grain, Bunge North America Inc., St. Louis, Mo.
- Amy Cornell, President, Agribusiness Council of Indiana/Indiana Grain and Feed Association, Indianapolis, Ind.
- Bo DeLong, Vice President, Grain Operations, The DeLong Co., Clinton, Wis.
- Matt Gibson, Vice President, General Manager, North America, Gavilon Grain LLC, Omaha, Neb.
- Brian Gordon, Chief Executive Officer, Ritzville Warehouse Co., Ritzville, Wash.
- Phil Greene, Vice President, Foster Farms, Fresno, Calif.
- Jeff Hainline, Chairman, Advance Trading Inc., Bloomington, Ill.
- Craig Haugaard, Vice President, Grain, Sunrise Cooperative Inc., Fremont, Ohio
- Lloyd Heimbecker, Western Regional Manager, Parrish and Heimbecker Ltd., Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
- Corey Jorgenson, President, Assets and Originations, Andersons Trade Group, Maumee, Ohio
- Jason Klootwyk, Senior Vice President of Grain Marketing and Rail Logistics, Agtegra Cooperative, Aberdeen, S.D.
- Alan Koenig, Chief Supply Chain Officer, Grain Craft, Chattanooga, Tenn.
- Lynn Krueger, Senior Manager, U.S. Purchasing, Commodities, Ingredion Inc., Westchester, Ill.
- Stu Letcher, Executive Vice President, North Dakota Grain Dealers Association, Fargo, N.D.
- Michelle Mapes, Chief Legal and Administrative Officer, Great Plains Inc., Omaha, Neb,
- Mike Miller, Vice President, Risk Management, Ardent Mills Inc., Denver, Colo.
- Steve Nail, President and CEO, Farmers Grain Terminal Inc., Greenville, Miss.
- Chris Schaffer, Vice President, Export Marketing, Ag Processing Inc., Omaha, Neb.
- Kyle Shermock, Director – Wheat Procurement & Risk Management, Miller Milling Co., Bloomington, Minn.
- Jeff Van Pevenage, President and CEO, Columbia Grain Inc., Portland, Ore.
- Sheryl Wallace, President, North American Grain, Cargill Inc., Wayzata, Minn.
Executive Committee: Subsequently, the following members of the NGFA Board of Directors were elected by that body to serve on the NGFA Executive Committee for the coming year:
- Gary Beachner, President and CEO, Beachner Grain Inc., Parsons, Kan.
- Jean Bratton, Chief Executive Officer, Centerra Cooperative, Ashland, Ohio
- Sharon Clark, Senior Vice President, Transportation and Regulatory Affairs, Perdue Agribusiness LLC, Salisbury, Md.
- John Fletcher, General Manager, Central Missouri AGRIService LLC, Marshall, Mo.
- Matt Gibson, Vice President and General Manager, North America, Gavilon Grain LLC, Omaha, Neb.
- David Hoogmoed, Executive Vice President, Land O’Lakes, and President Purina Animal Nutrition, Arden Hills, Minn.
- Joe Kapraun, Manager, Grain Marketing Division, GROWMARK Inc., Bloomington, Ill.
- Alan Koenig, Chief Supply Chain Officer, Grain Craft, Chattanooga, Tenn.
- Michelle Mapes, Chief Legal and Administrative Officer, Great Plains Inc., Omaha, Neb.
- Chris Peha, General Manager, Northwest Grain Growers Inc., Walla Walla, Wash.
- Brian Schouvieller, Senior Vice President, Global Grain Marketing, CHS Inc., Inver Grove Heights, Minn.
- Bruce Sutherland, President, Michigan Agricultural Commodities, Lansing, Mich.
- Alan Woodard, Chief Executive Officer, CoMark Equity Alliance LLC, Enid, Okla.
In addition, the following NGFA officers are members of the Executive Committee by virtue of their office:
- Chairman JoAnn Brouillette
- First Vice Chairman Greg Beck
- Second Vice Chairman Chris Boerm
- Immediate Past Chairman Eric Wilkey, president of Arizona Grain Inc., Casa Grande, Ariz., who was elected Executive Committee Chairman
- NGFA President and Chief Executive Officer Randy Gordon
Newly-elected NGFA Chairman JoAnn Brouillette, President, Demeter LP, Fowler, Ind.
Left to right: NGFA First Vice Chairman Greg Beck, senior vice president, Grain Division, CGB Enterprises; NGFA Chairman JoAnn Brouillette, president, Demeter LP; and Immediate Past Chairman Eric Wilkey, President, Arizona Grain LLC. Other officers Not pictured are NGFA Second Vice Chairman Chris Boerm, president, global transportation, Archer Daniels Midland Co. and NGFA President and Chief Executive Officer Randy Gordon
Committee Apprentice Program
NGFA welcomed its seventh annual class of the Committee Apprentice Program (CAP) during the convention, as well as conducted the first CAP Alumni Network Forum, during which former and current CAPs gathered to provide ideas and feedback on how the Association can attract and retain younger members. Identifying and developing new and diverse agricultural leaders is part of NGFA’s Long-Range Plan implementation, and the CAP is critical to achieving that objective.
As immediate past chairman Eric Wilkey, president of Arizona Grain Inc., Casa Grande, Ariz., noted in his convention chairman’s address on March 9, “Our future…depends on attracting and retaining the best talent in our industry.” Read the entirety of Wilkey’s chairman’s address here.
Barge Digital Transformation Project
During a Transportation and Technology Open Forum, Brittany Schaefer, logistics manager at Bunge North America, shared the latest updates on the Barge Digital Transformation Project (BDT), which is preparing to launch commercially by mid-year. Schaefer, who chairs the industry BDT Steering Committee, provided an online demonstration of how the new electronic platform will digitally transmit barge trading documents for southbound barge traffic on the Mississippi River system, including the estimated 75,000 to 100,000 bills of lading issued annually on this segment of the river system alone.
In 2019, through a steering committee comprised of representatives from 10 member companies, NGFA completed scoping, platform design and prototype development for the digitization of documentation generated in the barge trade, including bills of lading. After a rigorous selection process, NGFA selected essDOCS, a leading provider in the enabling of paperless trade, to implement the new digital trading platform.
In addition, a new entity – National Grain and Feed Digital Solutions – has been established to oversee implementation and administration of the new platform. Frequently asked questions about the project can be found on NGFA’s BDT webpage.
NGFA Annual Report
During the convention, the NGFA distributed its 2019-20 Annual Report, which covers the time between the Association’s March 2019 and 2020 conventions. The Annual Report, which documents challenges and accomplishments that encompass multiple facets of NGFA’s wide-ranging portfolio, now is available to read and download at ngfa.org.
National Grain and Feed Foundation Fundraiser (NGFF) and Annual Report
The National Grain and Feed Foundation raised more than $32,400 as part of its “Fill-the-Bin!” campaign during the annual convention, in addition to $23,000 raised during the National Grain and Feed Foundation Golf Tournament that took place at the Avery Ranch Golf Club in Austin, Texas.
The National Grain and Feed Foundation has its own 2019-20 Annual Report, which highlights featured and ongoing projects and donors. The Foundation 2019-20 Annual Report can be found at ngfa.org/foundation.
NGFF Safety Initiatives
During convention, Foundation Trustee Chair Greg Beck, senior vice president of the Grain Division at CGB in Covington, La., and newly-elected NGFA First Vice Chairman, said the Foundation will spend the coming months focused on grain handling safety projects, with a heavy emphasis on preventing engulfments in grain bins in commercial and on-farm facilities.
“Everyone in this room knows all too well that workers in the grain handling industry – as well as our farmer-customers – can be exposed to serious and life-threatening hazards,” Beck said during a convention general session on March 10. “Most NGFA members also are aware that the Association has produced a suite of training videos, guidance documents and safety tips sheets designed to address grain handling hazards and outline best practices for incident-prevention. Our Foundation is committed to investing in projects that continue to grow these resources and spread awareness of their availability and safety best practices throughout the agricultural industry.”
Beck said he is focused on committing the Foundation to supporting grain handling safety projects and training, particularly for on-farm bin-entry safety, throughout the coming year.
The Foundation also funded a showing of the film SILO during convention on March 10. The movie, which is the first feature film about grain entrapment, was followed by a group discussion hosted by NGFA Foundation Trustee Bruce Sutherland, president of Michigan Agricultural Commodities, Lansing Mich.; NGFA Vice President for Safety and Regulatory Affairs Jess McCluer; and Dan Mehochko, grain business manager at GROWMARK, Inc.
“I’m begging you to find a reason not to let any of your people ever go in a grain bin,” Mehochko said in emotional remarks to the audience after viewing the film for the first time and relaying his family’s personal tragedy as a result of a grain entrapment.
Left to right: Dan Mehochko, grain business manager at GROWMARK, Inc.; NGFA Vice President for Safety and Regulatory Affairs Jess McCluer; and NGFA Foundation Trustee Bruce Sutherland, president of Michigan Agricultural Commodities, following screening of the movie SILO
View photos taken at the JW Marriott Austin and the Avery Ranch Golf Club during NGFA’s 124th Annual Convention: Photo Album.
Vince Poscente, author of Radical Safety, regales attendees with tales of his time as an Olympic speed skier and how his experiences equate to workplace safety.
Ted McKinney, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs