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Minutes – February 9, 2012

Minutes
North American Millers’ Association
Board of Directors Conference Call

DRAFT

Conference Call
February 9, 2012
10:00 am CST
Members Present:
John Gillcrist, Bartlett Milling Company
Paul Maass, Chairman, ConAgra Foods
Bill Stoufer, ConAgra Mills
Howdy Holmes, Jiffy Mixes
Dan Ward, LaCrosse Milling Company
Robert Drum, Midstate Mills, Inc.
John Miller, Miller Milling Company
Emmit Gardner, Minot Milling Company
J. Vance Taylor, North Dakota Mill & Elevator
Charlie Stout, Milner Milling/PFM/Southeastern Mills

 

Bruce Roskens, PepsiCo/ Quaker Oats
Rick Siemer, Siemer Milling Company
Arthur Loeffler, Star of the West
Tom Rogers, Wilkins Rogers Mills
Ed Hostetter, Jiffy Mixes

NAMA Staff:
Mary Waters
Jim Bair
Terri Long
Sherri Lehman
Joseph Holahan, NAMA Counsel, Morris, Manning, & Martin, LLP
Robert, “Skip” Myers, NAMA Counsel, Morris, Manning, & Martin, LLP

                                                                               
1. Call to Order
Mr. Maass welcomed everyone to the call, while Ms. Waters took roll and outlined the items to be discussed.
2. Review of Antitrust Guidelines
Mr. Holahan, legal counsel, reviewed the antitrust guidelines.
3. Discussion of Grains Food Foundation
Ms. Waters gave a brief recap of ABA’s suggestion that changes needed to be made in the focus of GFF in the next fiscal year.  Breck Barton, NAMA Co-Chair of the GFF Trustees and Mary Waters worked with Allen Shivers, the ABA GFF Co-Chair and Robb MacKie, ABA President on a proposal.  On January 26 the GFF trustees unanimously agreed to refocus the GFF mission, location and leadership.

A release issued yesterday to investors noted that over time, the grain foods industry has moved into a new set of challenges and that GFF has suffered from decreased focus. The GFF’s refocused mission will change the primary focus of its efforts from consumers to key influencers; it will preempt or respond to misinformation regarding grain foods; and it will develop a crisis communications plan and develop appropriate reserves to fund the plan.

During 2012, GFF will relocate its office to a location to be determined in Washington, DC. This will position GFF closer to many key influencer organizations with which it hopes to work more closely. Also during 2012, GFF will seek a new leader in its new Washington, DC location. Current GFF President has been offered the position as Chair of the revitalized Scientific Advisory Board. Mary Waters and Robb MacKie will develop recommendations on the new leader with a focus on someone with marketing and public relations experience.

John Miller noted the group was sensitive to the optics of having the GFF leader housed at the ABA offices.  He also noted that with Breck’s leadership the group had reached out to the Wheat Foods Council in an effort to keep the two groups aligned and working in the same direction. The GFF trustees have invited the WFC members to come forward with concerns as we implement this decision.

The goal is to have a candidate in mind by the April 15 GFF trustees meeting and allow for a transition to the new leadership before the end of the fiscal year.

Members expressed support for the efforts and Mary will keep them up to date on developments.

4. Discussion of NAMA Members
Paul Maass reported that Bay State indicated in August that they wanted to resign their NAMA membership. After much effort to dissuade them, they submitted a letter of resignation on Monday.

Paul visited with them in Quincy in September; Mary and Jim Bair visited Buck and Brian Rothwell and Peter Levangie the week before last. In each conversation they noted that they had not sent a formal letter of resignation and they characterized this as an ongoing conversation.

Their concern was not financial or because of a NAMA policy position that they opposed. It was more philosophical. They said Bay State is an industry leader in healthy foods and NAMA is not poised to effect the change BSM needs.
Mary reported that on their visit they discussed the change in direction of GFF and noted that enriched/refined grain has been under attack so NAMA statements recently have focused on this. NAMA’s collaborative efforts in research – oats in particular – is an example that of how we’ve helped support innovation.

Mary discussed the creation of NAMA policy committees and the efforts to get Bay State representatives on them. Recent examples of Executive Committee support for Committee projects included the Vitamin D petition, the creation of the instructor of milling position at K State and maintaining the collection of production data when the government ended this service.

They understood they would not have access to methyl bromide if they resigned.

Mary noted that the regulatory climate in Washington is robust and government financial resources are limited. In the face of new regulations emanating from EPA, OSHA, USDA and FDA, NAMA’s voice is stronger when it can continue to claim representation of 95% of the industry.

The resignation letter said they “will keep the door open for rejoining, when and if that might happen. Here at Bay State, we never like to say “never”.”

Members discussed this development, noting their disappointment and asking if there were any lessons that could be taken away from the experience. There is sensitivity that companies of all sizes should have a strong voice in NAMA, but there is also an acknowledgement that the benefits derived from membership correspond to the effort put in. Paul noted that we would continue to visit with members and emphasize the benefits of NAMA membership. We will continue to keep in contact with Bay State so they know the door is open if there are internal changes that would allow them to rejoin.

Mr. Myers joined the call and Mr. Holohan left the call.

5. Discussion of Flour Production Data Categories
Paul Maass explained that the initial goal of the flour production data collection effort was to replicate the Census survey as much as possible and not allow any gaps in data.

Mary explained that NAMA’s counsel, Skip Myers, had recommended changing the dissemination categories done by the Census Bureau to larger regional groupings so that the reporting fell squarely within the “safe harbor” policy of federal anti trust policy to insure there would be no threat of anti trust challenges.  Members were invited to reflect after the call and bring concerns to Mary’s attention.  A member felt that changing the categories this markedly diluted the historic value of the information since future reports could not longer be compared to past reports.  Skip reviewed the issue looking at current case law and a copy of the memo was distributed to all board members prior to the call.

The Executive Committee met the day before (February 8) and recommended that for the Q4 Flour Production Report, NAMA go back to the Census categories with one change – putting the state of Kansas in with the grouping o Colorado an Oklahoma.

Board members are to review this list and let Mary know by email if they support the change.

NAMA Categories to Disseminate 4Q Flour Production Data

-Alabama and Louisiana
-California
-Colorado, Oklahoma, and Kansas
-Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina
-Idaho and Montana
-Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin
-Iowa and Nebraska
-Kentucky and Tennessee
-Maryland and Virginia
-Michigan
-Minnesota
-Missouri
-New Jersey and New York
-North Carolina
-North Dakota
-Ohio
-Oregon and Washington
-Pennsylvania
-Texas
-Utah
-All Other States

6. Adjournment
The call ended at 11:00 AM CST.
 

Respectfully submitted,

Mary Waters
NAMA President

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