North American Millers' Association Holds Spring Conference in Naples, FL, March 24-27

By Karl Ohm, Editor, Milling Journal

Nearly 140 members from the North American Millers’ Association (NAMA) attended the 2018 Spring Conference, March 24-27, at the Naples Grande Beach Resort, Naples, FL. With spouses and friends, total attendance was estimated at approximately 190.

On Saturday, March 24, members of the technical committee met, which was presided over by David Katzke, NAMA technical committee chairman and grain and flour quality lab manager, General Mills, Inc., Minneapolis, MN.

This was later followed by an evening welcome reception for members of the corn and oat divisions.

On Sunday morning, March 25, two key sessions were held involving the corn division business meeting, which was presided over by Steve Wickes, NAMA corn division chairman and president, Agricor Grain Millers, Inc., Marion, IN, and the oat milling business meeting, which was presided over by John Wiebold, NAMA oat division chairman and vice president, General Mills, Inc., Minneapolis, MN.

The Oat Milling session continued during Sunday afternoon, March 25, with the following reports:

• World Oat Outlook, by Randy Strychar, president, Ag Commodity Research, North Vancouver, BC, Canada.

• Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada Update, by Felicitas Katepa-Mupondwa, Ph.D., LLB, director, research, development & technology, science & technology branch, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, government of Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada.

• Oat Research Update, by Ruth Dill Macky Ph.D., professor, department of plant pathology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.

• Prairie Oat Growers Association Projects Update, by Shawna Mathieson, executive director, Prairie Oat Growers Association and grain producer, Regina, SK, Canada, and Art Enns, president, Prairie Oat Growers Association and grain producer, Morris, MB, Canada.

A reception and buffet-style dinner were held that evening at the Sunset Veranda, at the Naples Grande Beach Resort.

On Monday, March 26, welcoming remarks to lead off the general session for all divisions were made by Mark Kolkhorst, NAMA chairman and president, ADM Milling, Overland Park, KS, and emphasized that NAMA’s mission and strategic plan priorities continue to focus on three major areas such as food safety, nutrition, and supply chain. Kolkhorst also thanked NAMA’s standing committees that continue to work diligently on issues in these three key areas.

Kolkhorst recognized Brent Bash, General Mills, Inc. Minneapolis, MN, who is the new chairman for the oat committee. He also thanked outgoing oat committee chairman, John Wiebold, vice president, General Mills, Inc., Minneapolis, MN, for his service.

Kolkhorst also presented a plaque to Mark Ramsland (left), retired senior merchant, General Mills, Hopkins, MN, to commemorate his honorary membership in the North American Millers’ Association. Ramsland retired from General Mills, Inc. in August 31, 2017, after 18 years with the company. Ramsland also had served as chairman of NAMA’s oat committee for several years and helped advance oat breeding in the industry in the United States and Canada. Mark Ramsland and his wife, Nancy, now reside in Florida.

Also attending the Spring Conference from NAMA were: Jim McCarthy, president and CEO; Chris Clark, vice president-communications and administration; Paige Smoyer, government affairs representative; and Dale Nellor, vice president-government and technical affairs.

McCarthy made some brief welcoming remarks and then formerly introduced the Monday morning session’s first speaker, Maile Hermida, partner, Hogan Lovells, US, LLP, Washington, DC, who spoke on food safety issues impacting the milling industry. McCarthy said that Hogan Lovells has represented companies and trade associations in the Washington, DC area, the United States, and worldwide for many years. Its primary expertise is in administrative and food and drug laws and now serves as legal counsel to NAMA on food safety matters, added McCarthy.

Other presentations during Monday morning’s session included:

• USDA Issues and Priorities Update, by Greg Ibach, undersecretary, marketing, and regulatory programs, United States Department of Agriculture.

• North American Free Trade Agreement Update: Where Do We Go From Here?, by Cassandra Kuball, senior director, trade and industry affairs, Corn Refiners Association.

Along with a golf tournament trophy presentation, a reception also was held Monday evening outside at the host hotel’s Palm Terrace Pool area.

On Tuesday, March 27, members of the soft wheat division held their business meeting, which was followed by the general session that offered the Ontario, Canada soft wheat and United States soft wheat crop reports and forecasts.

This session was presided over by Bob Likens, vice president, Knappen Milling Company, Augusta, MI, and 2017-18 NAMA board of director.

Prior to the crop reports, two sessions were held:

• Wheat Improvement: From Passion to Fashion, by Brett Carver, Regents Professor, Wheat Genetics Chair in Agriculture, Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater.

• Wheat Breeding Panel Discussion: Current and Future Trends. The panel included:

Brett Carver, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater.

Matt Wehmeyer, AgriMAXX Wheat Company, Mascoutah, IL.

Bryan Gerard, president and co-owner, JoMar Seeds, Plymouth, IN.

Ed Souza, global wheat breeding manager, Bayer CropScience, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

Jane DeMarchi, vice president, government and regulatory affairs, American Seed Trade Association (moderator), Alexandria, VA.

The soft wheat crop reports then followed, which included:

• Canadian Soft Wheat Crop Outlook, Scott Krakar, wheat merchant, London Agricultural Commodities, Inc., London, ON, Canada. Total production of soft red winter wheat is forecasted to be down by 10%, depending on final per acre yields, and soft white winter wheat also is expected to be significantly lower than last year’s crop. (More details will be published in the upcoming Second Quarter 2018 Milling Journal.)

• The U.S. Soft Wheat Crop Report and Forecast consisting of the following panel members:

Chair and panel member – Grover Van Hoose, grain buyer, Mennel Milling Company, Fostoria, OH, who provided reports for Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, and West Virginia.

Shawn Branstetter, wheat merchandiser, Lansing Grain Company, Overland Park, KS, who provided reports for Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.

Carl Schwinke, vice president, Siemer Milling Company, Teutopolis, IL, who provided reports for Illinois, Kentucky, and Missouri.

Samuel Doering, SRW director, Ardent Mills, Denver, CO, who provided reports for North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.

Mark Rossol, commodity merchant, The Andersons, Inc., Maumee, OH, who provided reports for Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas.

Overall, the panel predicted 2018 soft red winter (SRW) wheat crop production of 310,375,000 bushels, a 6% increase from last year’s crop of 292,156,000 bushels.

The 2018 soft white wheat (SW) crop is projected to decrease a mere 1% from last year, for a total of 200,737,000 bushels from 2017’s total of 203,223,000 bushels. (More details will be published in the upcoming Second Quarter 2018 Milling Journal.)

Upcoming 2018-19 NAMA Meetings:

NAMA Policy Conference (formerly Leadership Meeting & Legislative Conference, May 21-22, Capitol Hill Hotel, Washington, DC.

59th Annual Corn Dry Milling Conference, May 16-17, Peoria Marriott Pere Marquette, Peoria, IL.

2018 Annual Meeting, October 19-21, The Cloister at Sea Island, Sea Island, GA.   

For more information, see: 

Mark Kolkhorst (right), NAMA chairman and president, ADM Milling, Overland Park, KS, presented a plaque to Mark Ramsland, retired senior merchant, General Mills, Hopkins, MN, to commemorate his honorary membership in the North American Millers’ Association.

Members of the soft wheat crop report and forecast panel included, from left: Grover Van Hoose (chair), merchandising manager, Mennel Milling Company, Fostoria, OH; Shawn Branstetter, wheat merchandiser, Lansing Grain Company, Overland Park, KS; Carl Schwinke, vice president, Siemer Milling Company, Teutopolis, IL; Samuel Doering, SRW director, Ardent Mills, Denver, CO; and Mark Rossol, commodity merchant-wheat grain group, The Andersons, Inc., Maumee, OH. Photos by Karl Ohm.