eNews • April 30, 2013
Promoting a Cost-Effective, Reliable and Competitive Transportation System

NGFA and STC to Host Ag Transportation Summit

On July 30-31, the National Grain and Feed Association and the Soy Transportation Coalition will host the first ever Ag Transportation Summit: “A Modern Infrastructure for Modern Agriculture.”  The event, sponsored in part by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service, will be held at the Westin O'Hare near Chicago. 

“The past fifty years have witnessed dramatic innovations in how agricultural products are planted, harvested, and marketed,” explains Pat Knouff, a soybean farmer from Minster, Ohio, and Chairman of the Soy Transportation Coalition.  “However, for agriculture to remain profitable, we need to have the same level of innovation in how our products are distributed.  A modern agriculture requires a modern infrastructure.” 

The goals of the summit are: 1.) To raise the awareness of the importance of transportation to the success and profitability of U.S. agriculture; 2.) To precipitate and motivate further action to promote a transportation infrastructure that better serves the interests of U.S. agriculture; 3.) To provide a venue for advocates of U.S. agriculture to network and develop collaborations for the purpose of promoting the transportation needs of U.S. agriculture; and 4.) To build bridges between government and agricultural interests that will result in more effective promotion of agricultural transportation issues.

Daniel Elliott, Chairman of the U.S. Surface Transportation Board, has been confirmed as a speaker on July 30. 

Other topics and issues to be addressed during the summit include:

  • Maritime: Condition of the inland waterway system, Funding to upgrade locks and dams, Significance of inland waterways to agriculture, Funding for port maintenance and enhancement.  Confirmed panelists include Rick Calhoun, president of Cargo Carriers, Cargill, Inc.; Mike Steenhoek, executive director of the Soy Transportation Coalition; and Steve Stockton, director of civil works for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 
  • Rail Transportation: Current and future role of rail in transporting agricultural products, Trends in rail infrastructure investment, Rail and shipper perspectives on rail service and liability issues, Opportunities to stimulate further rail investment in rural America.  Confirmed panelists include: Paul Hammes, vice president and general manager for agricultural products, Union Pacific Railroad; Dan Mack, vice president of transportation and terminal operations, CHS, Inc.; and Kendell Keith, TRC Consulting. 
  • Surface Transportation: Challenges of the current funding structure, Alternative financing, Semi weight limits, Driver shortages, Hours of service. 
  • Containerized Shipping: Perspectives from grain handlers, railroads, and ocean carriers on the current and future potential of moving agricultural products via containers.  Confirmed panelists include: Bo DeLong, vice president, The DeLong Company; Pat Kinne, general director of international marketing for BNSF Railway. 

A panel of state department of transportation directors will provide perspectives on opportunities for state based solutions to transportation challenges.  Confirmed panelists include Paul Trombino, director, Iowa Department of Transportation, Ann Schneider, secretary, Illinois Department of Transportation, and Mark Gottlieb, secretary, Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

Marcelo Monteiro, executive director, Aprosoja, is confirmed to provide a presentation on the status of current and future transportation investment in Brazil.

The summit will conclude with an overview and update by Maria Sanchez, senior trade specialist at the office of executive vice presidency for planning and business development, Panama Canal Authority, on the Panama Canal expansion. 

The day and a half event will begin at 8:00 am on Tuesday, July 30, and will conclude at 12:00 pm on Wednesday, July 31. 

Summit participants can register at www.soytransportation.org or www.ngfa.org/meetings.cfm.  The early bird registration fee is $265 if received no later than July 1.  On site registration is $350 per person. 

The Soy Transportation Coalition is comprised of thirteen state soybean boards, the American Soybean Association, and the United Soybean Board. The National Grain and Feed Association and the National Oilseed Processors Association serve as ex-officio members of the organization.

Soy Transportation Coalition
1255 SW Prairie Trail Pkwy., Ankeny, Iowa 50023
Phone: (515) 727-0665 Fax (515) 251-8657
Email msteenhoek@soytransportation.org
Web www.soytransportation.org

Funded by the Soybean Checkoff