Convention a ‘go!’ given current U.S. assessment of coronavirus
During NGFA’s 124th annual convention, officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Surface Transportation Board (STB) will join leaders from major agribusinesses in Austin, Texas, to explore the most important issues facing the industry in the year ahead. This year’s convention program also provides opportunities to explore some of the innovations changing our industry, including market-driven sustainability initiatives and a newly-created platform to digitally transmit barge trading documents.
NGFA has been participating in frequent calls with the U.S. government, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, concerning the coronavirus situation. Based upon the current assessment by health professionals of the extremely low risk of the virus in the United States, NGFA is proceeding with the convention as planned. NGFA President and CEO Randy Gordon participates in these calls in his role as vice chair of the private-sector contingent of the Food and Agriculture Sector Security Coordinating Council that works with a host of federal, state and territorial government groups on security-related issues. View the city of Austin’s COVID-19 response HERE .
A range of speakers will focus on trade, safety, sustainability and technological advancements on March 7-10 at the JW Marriott in downtown Austin.
The “Transportation and Technology Open Forum” on March 8 will feature:
- Surface Transportation Board Vice Chairman Martin Oberman.
- Brittany Schaefer, logistics manager at Bunge North America, who will focus on the new Barge Digital Transformation (BDT) project, which is preparing to launch commercially by mid-year. As chair of the BDT steering committee, she will demonstrate how the system will digitally transmit barge trading documents, such as bills of lading.
- Petya Sechanova, current trade operations leader at Cargill International, will discuss Covantis, the blockchain initiative undertaken by Archer Daniels Midland Co., Bunge, Cargill, Glencore Agri and Louis Dreyfus Co. that is striving to replace legacy post-trade processes with automated technology.
General sessions on March 9-10 will focus on trade, safety, and the strategic outlook for the grain, feed, processing and export industry and U.S. agriculture. Featured speakers include:
- USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney
- Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind.
- Stefan Vogel, Rabobank’s head of agri commodity, markets research and global sector strategist of grains and oilseeds.
- Vince Poscente, author of Radical Safety.
- A discussion on sustainability initiatives and their potential impacts on companies in the grain, feed, processing and export industry with Pipa Elias, director of agriculture in North America at The Nature Conservancy, and Ryan Sirolli, global row crop sustainability director at Cargill Inc.
SILO the Movie: In a new addition to the program, a screening of the movie SILO will be offered on Tuesday, March 10 at 7:15 a.m., thanks to funding provided by the National Grain and Feed Foundation. Grab your breakfast and see this film. Inspired by true events, SILO follows a harrowing day in an American farm town. Disaster strikes when teenager Cody Rose is entrapped in a 50-foot-tall grain bin. When the corn turns to quicksand, family, neighbors and first responders must put aside their differences to rescue Cody from drowning in the crop that has sustained their community for generations. View a trailer of the film here. The film’s producer, Katie Fernandes, will be on hand, and the hour-and-13 minute movie will be followed by a short discussion featuring NGFA Foundation Trustee Bruce Sutherland, president of Michigan Agricultural Commodities, and NGFA Vice President for Safety and Regulatory Affairs Jess McCluer.
Register: NGFA’s annual convention also features working meetings of each of its 17 committees that focus on the most important issues facing the industry in the year ahead. View the full schedule, which includes networking activities, NGFA business meetings and general sessions.