WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — More than 400 leaders of the grain, feed, processing and export industry will gain insights into the intersection of business and public policy from Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, when he keynotes the National Grain and Feed Association's (NGFA) 119th Annual Convention in San Antonio, Texas, U.S., March 15-17.
Bush, who will address how good public policies help spur job creation and allow businesses to prosper in today's economy, was elected Texas land commissioner in late 2014. In that role, he oversees investments for public education and manages state lands that produce the oil and gas. Bush also watches over historical archives and structures such as the Alamo - site of the convention opening reception.
In addition, as son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (and nephew of President George W. Bush), he may have insights into his father's December announcement that he is "actively explor(ing) the possibility of running for president."
In addition, Timothy Massad, Commodity Futures Trading Commission chairman, will address commission priorities and initiatives - such as position limits, the bona fide hedge definition and residual interest. In his presentation, "Futures Markets - Change and Innovation," he also will address the impact that today's fiscal and political environment has on businesses.
Convention attendees also will be treated to insights from Tom Koch, vice-president of research at AgReliant Genetics, and Marcel Bruins, secretariat for the International Grain Trade Coalition during their session "Beyond Biotechnology - The Next Innovation in Seed Technology." Specifically, Koch will address:
• The latest scientific advancements in seed technology, with a particular focus on using innovative breeding techniques that do not involve the use of modern biotechnology;
• How the new technology works and what's involved;
• What food and feed crops using these new techniques currently are in the pipeline; and
• How soon crops with this new crop-breeding technology will be commercialized.
Following Koch, Bruins will briefly discuss how various government regulatory agencies regard the new technology. Bruins will provide perspective on export markets, such as the European Union, China, Japan, South Korea and South America.
Further, BNSF Railway President and Chief Executive Officer Carl Ice, a nearly 40-year veteran of the railroad industry, will discuss his views on ways to enhance the growing demand for rail service from various market sectors - including agriculture. He also will address major public policy challenges facing the rail industry and how best to address them.
Before the convention officially opens, attendees have the opportunity to attend open committee meetings, and dive further into current transportation issues during the conference's annual Transportation Open Forum, which addresses the issue from railways, waterways and highways.
Register for the convention by Feb. 20 to enjoy the early bird member discount. At an additional cost, the convention also features opportunities to take in local culture, such as:
• Golf: The annual golf tournament supports the National Grain and Feed Foundation. This year's tournament is at the Quarry Golf Club, recognized throughout the country for its unique setting and design that lays out the back nine in a 100-year-old quarry pit.
• Texas Style Shooting: Participants will enjoy The San Antonio Gun Club, the oldest active gun club in the country. After safety instructions, experienced shooters will be partnered with a new shooter and contests begin.
• Tour and Tasting: After some shopping and a local tour, participants will head to Dry Comal Creek Vineyards to taste award-winning wines. Guests will experience the wines with the wine maker.
• Texas Cuisine: San Antonio is known for great food and genuine hospitality - no one reflects this better than Chef Blanca Aldaco. She will teach guests how to make the perfect enchilada, and share the secret to the best Margaritas (sampling included).
Complete convention program, registration and hotel information is available at ngfa.org/annualconvention or by contacting the NGFA at 1.202.289.0873.