Hundreds of executives and managers from the feed and grain industries will gather in Orlando on March 29-31, 2009, for the 113th annual convention of the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA).

Spokespersons for the association say that the outlook for the US economy, financing strategies and major grain and feed policy issues will headline the agenda for an anticipated crowd of over 500 industry leaders.

During the course of the annual event, leader's of the grain and feed industries will also be focusing on transportation issues, risk management in agricultural futures markets, impacts of biotechnology and the increasing role that consumer demand is playing on agriculture and the food industry.

Confirmed NGFA convention speakers include:

  • Dennis Gartman, editor and publisher of The Gartman Letter, Norfolk, Va., a respected and widely read financial publication.  Gartman is one of the nation’s foremost authorities on financial markets and the economy, and will provide his take on the US and world economic situation, and how it will influence government policies and the US grain and feed industry in the year ahead.
  • James Young, chairman and chief executive officer of the Union Pacific Railroad, Omaha, Neb.  The head of North America’s largest freight railroad will provide his perspectives on the state of the rail industry, including the carrier’s stance on legislative and public policy challenges being confronted by the rail industry in 2009 – with a particular focus on agricultural shippers and receivers.
  • NGFA Chairman Thomas Coyle, general manager of Chicago & Illinois River Marketing LLC (a division of Nidera Inc.), Chicago, Ill..  Coyle will preview industry challenges and report on NGFA accomplishments and future priorities as he enters the second year of his two-year term.
  • Charles Carey, chairman of the CME Group, Chicago, Ill., will provide an update on efforts underway to enhance the performance of agricultural futures contracts so that they better meet the needs of traditional hedgers, as well as other developments at the exchange.

The top executive of a major US food company will provide a keynote address, discussing the drive to meet consumer demand and how it affects the grain and feed industry.

In addition, a senior congressional leader has been invited to preview the major legislative priorities that will be undertaken during the first year of the Obama administration, while a top executive with a major US bank will provide perspectives on the financing and credit environment that will characterize agricultural lending practices in the year ahead.

Effects of biotechnology

In a look at how biotechnology is shaping the feed and grain industries, a speaker from the agricultural biotechnology sector will describe advances ready for commercialization in the next few years and efforts to enhance global acceptance of biotechnologies.

On March 29, the program will feature a Rail Open Forum that will probe rail capacity, rail service and rail fuel surcharge issues confronting shippers and receivers of grain, feed and grain products.

NGFA spokespersons say the convention will also feature working sessions of most of the association's 17 committees addressing the most pressing issues facing grain elevators, commercial feed mills, integrated livestock and poultry operations, and grain processors and millers. Virtually all NGFA committee meetings are open to all convention registrants. The convention also features a golf tournament to benefit the National Grain and Feed Foundation, as well as an "Ag Village" trade show.