IAOM preview
IAOM's Annual Conference & Expo will take place at the New Orleans Marriott and the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.
Photo courtesy of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau.
A nearly sold out and expanded trade show along with an array of educational opportunities await flour millers from around the world at the International Association of Operative Millers’ (IAOM) annual conference and expo in New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.

The event is scheduled for April 10-14 at the New Orleans Marriott and the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Millers will have an opportunity to learn through comprehensive education programs, connect with industry peers at several networking events and see the latest products and services from multiple vendors in the expo hall.

Educational and technical programs presented at the conference assist millers in improving yields, productivity, customer satisfaction and safety. The programs are presented by seasoned professionals in the field who have experienced the issues affecting millers first-hand.

With an ongoing focus on mill safety, the IAOM has added two specific events to address the topic. The first is a session from 2-4 p.m., April 11, on changes to the NFPA 61 code. The event was initiated by IAOM’s Environmental, Health & Safety Committee.

The NFPA 61 standard provides requirements applicable to agricultural and/or food processing facilities for managing or mitigating fire and explosion hazards of combustible agricultural or food processing dusts or related particulate solids.

Committee Chairman Anthony Yount, Ardent Mills, is a member of the NFPA 61 Technical Committee on Agricultural Dusts and will lead the in-depth discussion. The focus will be on the differences between NFPA 61 and NFPA 652: Standard on the Fundamentals of Combustible Dusts. Changes to NFPA 61 include objectives added to Chapter 4; a new Chapter 5 on hazard identification; and a new Chapter 6 on performance-based design. According to additions to Chapter 7, a dust hazard analysis is now required by all facilities, existing and new.

In addition, a one-hour presentation is planned at the end of the show, from 2:45-3:45 p.m., April 13, on improving workplace culture through safety leadership. That session will be presented by Don Groover from DEKRA Insights.

Conference schedule

The conference begins on Monday, April 10, with the IAOM board of directors meeting and a Food Protection Committee meeting. Committee meetings continue on Tuesday, April 11, along with pre-conference registration from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The opening reception is that evening from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the New Orleans Marriott.

The conference officially kicks off on Wednesday, April 12, at 7:30 a.m. with the IMEF Breakfast with Keynote Address.

The expo opens at 9:15 a.m. Wednesday with a ribbon cutting.

Educational sessions begin at 10 a.m. on Wednesday and continue on Thursday, April 13. The education tracks include employee management, facility management, product protection, including sanitation, food protection, food safety, finished product testing, storage and transportation, technical operationsincluding technical aspects of raw product evaluation, testing, storage and processing and specialty milling includes all aspects related to milling grains other than wheat.

Product Showcases also begin at 1 p.m. on Wednesday in the expo hall and continue in the morning on Thursday. Eligible products include new products and existing products that have new applications. The Product Showcase allows selected exhibiting companies to promote their products directly from their booths in the expo hall. Those selected are given 10 minutes to discuss their product while showing the product, a slideshow presentation, or anything else they can show within their booth space.

The Allied Trades event is planned from 6 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday at JAX Brewhouse, located in the French Quarter in New Orleans. Participants can explore the historic building, enjoy New Orleans cuisine and listen to live jazz music from the Gumbo Trio.

Thursday begins with the Annual Meeting and Safety Award Breakfast at 7:30 a.m., which is open to all attendees. IAOM Safety Award recipients will be honored for their hard work and dedication. To be eligible for a safety award this year, a facility must have a recordable injury/illness rate of 0 and have no work-related fatalities in the calendar year of 2016. Applications for the awards were taken through March 1.

The final product showcase and educational sessions are scheduled for the rest of the day, followed by district and leader meetings. The awards ceremony is planned during the closing banquet at 7 p.m. at the New Orleans Marriott.

On Friday, April 14, the conference concludes with the Annual Golf Tournament at the Stonebridge Golf Club of New Orleans in Gretna. The shotgun start is at 8 a.m., followed by lunch, awards and hole prizes.

IMEF auction

The International Milling Education Foundation’s (IMEF) Silent Auction will open on the expo floor on Wednesday, April 12. The auction will close at the Annual Banquet and Awards Ceremony on April 13.

Donations to the auction are made by milling companies, individuals, partner organizations, equipment and service suppliers, and others. Proceeds from the auction support the learning, knowledge and resources provided by the IMEF.

Last year, the auction raised $81,500 and a total of $900,000 has been contributed to IMEF since 2004.

“I can’t say enough about the amazing support we continue to receive for the IMEF auctions,” said Brad Allen, IMEF president at the 2016 conference. “This year, we had a record number of items donated to the auction by our allied partners and milling companies. With all of the exciting projects we have in the pipeline, the funds will be put to good use.”

One of the recent projects funded by the IMEF endowment was the development of a milling technician certificate program, which is currently under way at Cowley College in Arkansas City, Kansas, U.S.

The certificate program is completely online, allowing any one from anywhere to enroll in the program. In addition, IMEF funds a scholarship program for milling science students at Kansas State University (KSU), as well as professionals in the industry to take the IAOM Correspondence Course in Flour Milling and resident milling courses. Two $2,500 scholarships were presented to KSU students for the 2016-17 academic year; and one scholarship to a professional for enrollment in the correspondence course.

Special events

The IAOM Annual Banquet and Awards Ceremony on April 13 will honor and pay tribute to its award recipients. The event will be at the New Orleans Marriott. The evening starts at 6 p.m. with a reception, which will include the close of the IMEF Silent Auction.

The event will feature a program that includes the passing of the gavel and presentation of IAOM awards. Tickets are $85.

The 2017 Milling Operative of the Year award will be presented during the ceremony.

Established in 1986 by Milling & Baking News, sister publication of World Grain, the award is presented to the practicing milling operative who has made the most significant contribution to the progress of a plant, a company and the industry from an operating point of view.

The winner will receive an inscribed plaque, and a scholarship will be established in the winner’s name at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, U.S.

John “Dub” Miner, Shawnee Milling Company, Shawnee, Oklahoma, U.S., was the recipient of the 2016 award.

Registration, hotel information

Registration is available online at www.iaom.info/annualmeeting/online-registration/. A copy of the registration form also may be printed from the website. Cost for the full conference is $525 for IAOM members and $600 for non-members.

A block of rooms has been reserved for IAOM participants at the New Orleans Marriott at a special rate of $179. A limited number of rooms are available, and March 18 is the last day for the special rate.

For more information on this event, visit www.iaom.info.