In remarks delivered Dec. 12 at the 45th NGFA Country Elevator Conference in Chicago, John Heck, chairman of the NGFA and senior vice-president of The Scoular Co., Omaha, Nebraska, U.S., shared a few of the major initial areas of emphasis for the NGFA. Food- and agriculture-related issues is one, he said.
|John Heck, chairman of the NGFA and senior vice-president of The Scoular Co.|
“Issues like organics, GMOs and sustainability aren’t going away,” Heck said. “We have a powerful story to tell about the benefits of our safe, modern agricultural production and distribution system and the role it plays in providing safe, wholesome, abundant and affordable food security both at home and around the world. We need to step up to work with other ag groups to meet this challenge.”
A second area of emphasis for the NGFA is leveraging grassroots membership strength to better advocate public policies that advance economic growth and opportunity for the grain and feed sector.
“Our 7,000-plus company members handle more than 70% of the nation’s grain and oilseed crop, and have business locations in more than 300 congressional districts,” Heck explained. “We members need to become much more engaged in the political process to bring about positive change.”
A third emphasis area is to build NGFA’s existing Committee Apprenticeship and NextGen Programs, and to foster more diversity in membership, committees and governing body, Heck explained.
A fourth area being discussed as part of NGFA’s long-range plan is to ramp up communication efforts. Heck said the association needs to become more recognized as a prominent voice for the industry.
Heck said a fifth area of emphasis will be promoting the role played by the National Grain and Feed Foundation in financing vital research and education projects to improve the future of the industry.
Lastly, the NGFA will look to build on what Heck described as its “already vibrant education, training and outreach efforts at both the national and regional levels to assist the industry in enhancing employee safety and complying with a wide range of governmental regulatory requirements, such as FSMA and OSHA rules.”
The Long Range Planning Task Force, led by Eric Wilkey, first vice-chairman, met Dec. 13 to develop final recommendations, action items and priorities. The association’s Executive Committee will meet in January to review the recommendations, and the group’s board of directors will review the findings in March.
“I think it’s pretty clear that the new long-range plan will challenge each of us to be more directly engaged in this association as it works to advance our business interests,” Heck said.