The Grain Elevator and Processing Society (GEAPS) is headed to Austin, Texas, U.S., for its 87th Exchange, Feb. 27-March 1. The event features more than 40 hours of educational programming, more than 305 exhibitors and many networking opportunities.

Registration and other information are available at

This year’s Exchange includes several new and updated features, including a new networking event on Saturday, Feb. 27, for first-time and international attendees. The schedule has been adjusted to allow for an additional hour to meet with suppliers in the Expo Hall, and the Opening Workshop has a new date and time from 2-5 p.m. on Saturday.

The schedule also includes more education with processing sessions. Learning opportunities include up to 28 hour-long, concurrent education sessions, interactive Pods in the Expo Hall, and the popular Idea Exchange, which highlights new methods and technologies designed to make the grain industry safer and more efficient.

Several of the education sessions will qualify for continuing education units.

“The education will include topics that are very timely with changes occurring in our industry,” said Allan Tedrow, McCormick Construction Co., GEAPS Exchange Education Programming Committee chair. “The opening workshop will address changes to the Food Safety and Modernization Act, or FSMA. It will give a hands-on opportunity to do a short segment of a FSMA program, setting up further development back at the facility. Education sessions will tie into the workshop as well. Speakers will be around after sessions to answer specific questions and attendees can see various products and operations solutions from sessions up close and personal in the expo.”

Early registration is available until Jan. 29, and provides a discount off the on-site registration fee.

Educational programming

The Opening Workshop and Idea Exchange kick off the educational offerings, followed by the Expo Pods and concurrent education sessions on Monday, Feb. 29, and Tuesday, March 1.

Expo Pod sessions in the Expo Hall are the most interactive education sessions at the Exchange. These sessions are designed for smaller groups, to allow discussion and hands-on opportunities with equipment. This year, the pods will focus on powered hand tools and personal protective equipment.

The 12 pod sessions will cover gas detection monitoring equipment; hand tools for elevators; arc flash electrical safety training; handheld ultrasonic instruments; portable compressed air systems; personal fall protection equipment; digital microscopes; infra-red thermal imaging cameras; and flashlights, headlamps and penlights.

The hour-long educational sessions are selected by the Exchange Education Programming Committee, which starts with a list of hundreds of program ideas and narrows the list based on member input and timely industry issues impacting members.

Sessions have been added for processing companies and others are more technical, designed for more “experienced” attendees, Tedrow said.

This year’s sessions include:

-“OSHA Regulatory Update,” Jess McCluer, director of safety and regulatory affairs, NGFA.

-“The Effects of Foreign Market Consumption on Domestic Crop Production,” Dr. Luis Ribera, associate professor and director, Center for North American Studies, Texas A & M University.

-“3D Laser Scanning and Modeling in Facility Design,” Larry Kleinkemper, chief technical officer, Lanmar Services.

-“Before It Breaks … Fix It!,’ Dave Utzinger, director of business development, McCormick Construction. This session will cover key considerations for preventive maintenance in an older facility.

-“Building Sound Foundations: Beyond the Concrete and Rebar,” Mark Workman, senior structural engineer, Clear Creek and Associates.

-“Inspection and Maintenance of Aging Concrete Silos,” Art Moeller, president/CEO, Moeller Engineering, LLC. This session will discuss the scope of aging concrete grain elevators and possible remedies.

-“Prevention of Corrugated and Steel Bin Tank Failures,” Mike Phillips, director, special projects, Perdue AgriBusiness.

-“What Causes Corrugated Bins to Fail?” Rodney Carpenter, senior partner, Clear Creek & Associates, Inc.

-“Improving Grain Dryer Efficiency,” Wes Peterson, sales/project manager/dryer specialist, Custom Drying Service.

-“Post-Harvest Grain Losses and Food Security,” Dr. Dirk Maier, Iowa State University.

-“The Impact of the Bird Influenza on the Grain Belt States and Industries,” Dr. John Clifford, deputy administrator, USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service, Veterinary Services’ (VS).

-“Updates in Grain Quality Preservation (NC-213),” Dr. Erin Bowers, post-doctoral research associate, Iowa State University and Sam Cook, graduate research assistant, Kansas State University. This session will begin with an overview of mycotoxins and the second part will evaluate the viability of using sealed grain bins to achieve effective fumigations.

-“Levels of Automation in Grain Elevators,” Mark Spindler, chief technology officer, The Lakeland Companies.

-“Practical Crisis Management Solutions for Front-Line Employees,” Thomas Mynsberge, critical incident manager, Critical Incident Management, Inc. This session will cover immediate reactions and best practices during episodes of violence, lockdowns, bomb threats and even hostage survival.

-“Practical Crisis Management Solutions for Supervisors,” Thomas Mynsberge, critical incident manager, Critical Incident Management, Inc.

-“Recruitment and Retention: How to Successfully Compete for Today’s Best Ag Employees,” Sara Kepley, CEO, ProValue, LLC.

-“Best in Class: How to Conduct a Thorough Safety Assessment,” Donald Groover, senior vice-president, BST.

-“Best Lessons from OSHA Inspections and Enforcement Initiatives,” Tressi Cordaro, shareholder, Jackson Lewis, P.C.

-“Grain Bin/Permit Required Confined Space Entry Rescue,” Jeff Decker, owner, Decker Consulting.

-“New Information on Keeping Workers Safe (NC-213),” Dr. Kingsly Ambrose, assistant professor at the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Purdue University and Kevin Moore, research engineer and PhD student in Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, Oklahoma State University.

-“Overcoming Challenges for an Improved Safety Culture,” Brock Casteel, operations manager, Tate and Lyle Grain.

-“Planning for Disasters and Business Continuity,” Mark Aljets, attorney, Nyemaster Goode PC.

-“Corn Supply for the Ethanol Industry,” Lyndon Jones, plant manager, Pacific Ethanol Columbia, LLC.

-“Malt: The Soul of Beer,” Mont Stuart, manager, Malt Operations, MillerCoors.

-“Post-Harvest Loss Prevention in Rice,” Dr. Prasanta Kalita, director, ADM Institute for the Prevention of Postharvest Loss, University of Illinois.

-“Connecting the Dots Between Food Safety, Sanitation, Pest Control and FSMA,” Jerry Heaps, senior quality manager/entomologist, Land O’Lakes.

-“Current Trends in Grain Fumigation,” Jeff Waggoner, general manager, Fumigation Service and Supply.

-“Intelligent LED Lighting for the Grain Processing Industry,” April Rothgeb, channel sales manager, Digital Lumens.

Opening workshop

The Opening Workshop theme is “Creating Food Safety and Quality Management Plans for Grain Elevators.” This workshop will provide training in creating food safety management plans for elevators that can be used as verification for food and feed users. Participants will have a class exercise to create clear food safety management protocols in the style of third-party audit food safety/quality management systems used by many food companies.

While grain elevators are exempt from some portions of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), there are several provisions that apply.

The market is likely to impose some form of food safety management on grain handling because elevators become suppliers subject to monitoring for grain users.

Presenters include Dr. Charles Hurburgh, professor of agricultural engineering, Iowa State University; Connie Hardy, program specialist, Iowa State University; Dr. Gretchen Mosher, assistant professor, agricultural and biosystems engineering, Iowa State University; Dr. Angela Shaw, assistant professor of food safety, Iowa State University; and Steve Simmons, AVP Risk Management, Nationwide Agribusiness Insurance.

Idea exchange

The Idea Exchange allows companies that are selected to give brief presentations on how their product or idea benefits the industry. This year’s Idea Exchange, which is opened to all registered attendees, will feature 11 companies. It will be 9:30-11 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 28.

-Milli-Speed: Verifiable 4-20 mA Speed Sensor, 4B Components
-AgriDry Bullseye with CO2 Sensor, AgriDry LLC
-All-in-One Grain Management in a Single Cable, BinMaster
-Portable Chain Breaker for Drag Conveyors, Bulk Conveyors Inc.
-Cimbria SEA Chrome 7 Color/Shape Sorter, Cimbria Bratney
-HazardPRO Wireless Hazard Monitoring System, Electro-Sensors, Inc.
-DOME Trap, Industrial Fumigant
-The Ktrack Facts, Kasa Controls & Automation
-Epik Circuit Breaker Panel, R. Stahl Inc.
-Rhino Railcar Vibrator Lifter, The Arnold Company
-TMSA High Efficiency Cleaning Machine, TMSA.

Special events

Special events this year include the Get-Acquainted Party from 7-11 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 27. It will feature a Texas-themed tailgating party.

The President’s Banquet and Club GEAPS will be from 5-11 p.m. on Tuesday, March 1. The evening will begin with a cocktail reception followed by dinner. The Improv Theatre will perform following dinner.

Club GEAPS this year will feature dueling pianos for entertainment. Banquet tickets are included in attendee and companion full registrations and can be purchased à la carte.

Club GEAPS does not require a ticket and is open to all Exchange 2016 attendees and companions.

Another updated event at the Exchange is an enhanced Student Day, giving students a structured environment to meet grain industry professionals and learn about careers in the industry. Student Day will be Sunday, with a two-hour program during the day and a social event in the evening.

The program will introduce students to several fields, including grain storage management, milling facility management, equipment and silo vending, human resources, facility control systems/IT, design/build engineering, fumigation/grain quality, transportation/logistics and grain merchandising.

The program also includes roundtable discussions with professionals in the fields.