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Soft Wheat Division Meeting Minutes – Mar 13, 2012

North American Millers’ Association
Soft Wheat Division Business Meeting
Naples, Florida



Waldorf Astoria Naples
Acacia 1-3
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
7:30 -9:30 PM
Members Present
Thomas Rogers, Chairman, Wilkins Rogers Mills
Steven Arndt, Midstate Mills, Inc.
David Braun, The Mennel Milling Company
Brian Doyle, King Milling Company
Michael Fassezke, Star of the West Milling Co.
Roderick Geiger, Bartlett Milling Company
Steve Gorman, Horizon Milling LLC/ Cargill
Robert Harper, Hopkinsville Milling Company
Howdy Holmes, JIFFY Mixes
Edward Hostetter, JIFFY Mixes
William Keynes, Keynes Bros., Inc.
Alan Koenig, Milner Milling, Inc.
Chris Labbe, Kerr Pacific Corporation
Kevin Like, ADM Milling Company
Heidi Long, The Mennel Milling Company
D. Ford Mennel, The Mennel Milling Company
Donald Mennel, The Mennel Milling Company
Joseph Mitchell, Bartlett Milling Company
Dave Remley, Keynes Bros., Inc.
John Shouse, Knappen Milling Company
Richard Siemer, Siemer Milling Company
Douglas Snavely, Snavely’s Mills Inc.
R. Don Sullins, ADM Milling Company
Grover Van Hoose, The Mennel Milling Company
Todd Wright, Knappen Milling Company

Staff Present
Jim Bair, Vice President
Sherri Lehman, Director of Government Affairs
Terri Long, Staff Liaison, Director of Communications
Lyndsey Valentine, Administrative Assistant
Mary Waters, President
Joseph Holahan, Legal Counsel, Morris, Manning, & Martin (via phone)

1. Call to Order – Division Chairman Tom Rogers, Wilkins Rogers Mills
Mr. Rogers, Chairman of the Soft Wheat Division called the meeting to order at 7:30a.m.
a. Introductions – Tom Rogers, Wilkins Rogers Mills

b. Review of Antitrust Guidelines – Joseph Holahan, Morris, Manning, & Martin (via phone)
Ms. Waters reviewed the anti-trust statement.  Mr. Holahan joined the meeting via phone.
2. Administration

a. Approval of Minutes – Terri Long, NAMA
Mr. Shouse made a motion to approve the minutes.  Mr. Rogers seconded the motion.  The motion was approved at 7:54a.m.
b. Report on Soft Wheat Committee Reserve Fund – Mary Waters, NAMA
Ms. Waters reported that the Soft Wheat Committee Reserve Funds has $120,674.31.
3. Items for Discussion

a. Flour Production Data Collection – Mary Waters, NAMA
Ms. Waters referred members to the briefing paper providing the background of how NAMA came to collect and disseminate production data after the Census Bureau ended this service in August.  The third quarter 2011 report was issued in December and the fourth quarter report was issued in February.  She thanked the members for the 100% participation rate.  She noted that Josh Sosland at Milling and Baking News has concerns about some of the numbers. She asked members to review the reports and let her know if they share these concerns.


a. Administration’s 2013 Agricultural Research Budget – Sherri Lehman, NAMA
Ms. Lehman said the Administration’s FY2013 budget saw an increase of $68 million for the Research, Education, and Economics Mission Area.  The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) received a small increase of $1.1 million.  The Wheat Barley SCAB Initiative was cut by $1 million because of additional costs associated with the closure of 12 labs.  Mr. Mennel expressed concern over the impact on soft wheat from the SCAB cut.
b. Update on Soft Wheat Quality Lab – Sherri Lehman, NAMA
Mr. Mennel said the good news is that Wooster Lab has funding and they have committed to filling the two positions (Program Leader, Senior Scientist) that are currently open.  He said it is critical to have flexibility within ARS to find individuals who are qualified.  Mr. Mennel expressed his concern that there could be efforts to merge the lab with hard wheat or eliminate it completely.
Plant Operations
a. Update on FSMA Implementation (Food Safety Modernization Act) – Sherri Lehman, NAMA
Ms. Lehman said the interim final rules due out on Food and Feed Safety Standards have been delayed and will likely be out this summer at the earliest. She said the FDA issued an interim final rule on record keeping to align the bioterrorism requirements with FSMA.
b. Codex Request for DON Data – Jim Bair, NAMA
Mr. Bair said Codex is an international organization that exists to create model standards to promote food safety and facilitate trade.  Codex standards are particularly used by countries that do not have a food safety agency.  Countries can adopt these model laws voluntarily.  Codex committee deliberations can take years to create these guidelines.

The Codex Committee on Contaminants in Foods (CCCF) establishes or endorses permitted maximum levels (ML) and where necessary revises existing guideline levels for contaminants and naturally occurring toxicants in food and feed.

The CCCF has proposed ML for DON in cereals (wheat, corn and barley) and cereal based products that will be discussed at its upcoming meeting March 26-30 in the Netherlands. The proposed ML .are 2.0 ppm in raw grain, 1.0 ppm in flour, meals, grits and flakes, and 0.5 ppm for cereal based foods for infants and young children.

In anticipation of the CCCF meeting, Mr. Bair has met twice with the FDA officials who are the official US delegates. He explained the original US guideline on DON in raw wheat was deleted to allow millers to adopt whatever means necessary to achieve the 1.0 ppm DON in flour. This might include, in years of DON occurrences, dramatically expanding the area of wheat origination or making capital investments in grain cleaning equipment. Regardless, milling industry customers enforce the FDA guidelines via commercial terms in their contracts. Thus, NAMA recommends the US adopt a position of not supporting ML on raw grain. The FDA confirmed their understanding of this position.

a. Changes at the Grain Foods Foundation – Mary Waters, NAMA
Ms. Waters referred members to the briefing sheet that provided background on the decision by the Grain Foods Foundation trustees to refocus the organization, seek a new leader and move it to Washington D.C.  There will be a search this year for a new leader of GFF.  In response to a question, Ms. Waters said the NAMA annual contribution to GFF is $50,000.

Members discussed the need for the organization to move to D.C. and noted that the Scientific Advisory Panel did very impressive work.

Ms. Waters also noted that NAMA created a Nutrition Committee last year to give all members a say in nutrition policy, whether or not they contribute to GFF.

4. Information Items

a. School Meal Standards
Ms. Lehman said USDA issued their new school meal rules.  The rules highlight the importance of grains and stresses the benefits of whole grains.  She said the first two years will be half “whole grain rich,” and the third year will be strictly “whole grain rich.”  She said the USDA defines whole grain rich as 51% whole grain, and the remaining is enriched flour.  Five desserts a week from grain-based products are allowed, but only two will be counted towards the weekly grains requirement.Mr. Siemer supports the current definition of “whole grain rich” and would oppose efforts to change the requirement to 100% whole grain because it would be unpalatable and expensive.

Ms. Waters reported on NAMA’s efforts for FDA approval of a petition to allow the inclusion of Vitamin D in flour.

5. Election of Soft Wheat Division Chairman – Tom Rogers, Wilkins Rogers Mills
Mr. Rogers said the nomination committee (Messrs. Rogers, Harper, and Holmes) for the Soft Wheat Division decided to nominate Bill Keynes of Keynes Bros. as the new Soft Wheat Chairman.  Mr. Rogers made a motion to approve this nomination.  Mr. Shouse seconded the motion.  The motion was approved at 9:01a.m.
6. Other Business
Mr. Bair said the FDA does not have a guideline for Ochratoxin, nor has the agency announced any plans to do so.  He said Canada does not have a maximum level on Ochratoxin, but has proposed them.  NAMA, Canadian National Millers Association (CNMA), and the Baking Association of Canada cosponsored a scientific literature review and response to proposed maximum levels.  The conclusion was that there is no scientific basis for proposed maximum levels.  Canada has decided to still move forward with this issue.  It is not an issue here in the US, but it could become one due to cross border trade.

Mr. Mennel expressed concern about the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) actions on the wheat contract.  The original intent of the CBOT wheat contract was to hedge risk between producers and consumers of soft wheat.

A recent change shifts the advantages to the warehouseman storing the grain and away from the end user by allowing some elevators on the river to deliver by water only, and not providing for truck delivery for delivery elevators. This creates challenges for millers who might want to take delivery as part of their risk management sourcing of wheat and results in increased costs.

In addition, the rise in Variable Storage Rates has created a situation where the carrying charges provided to warehousemen provide a disincentive to release the grain to the market.

Mr. Mennel is also concerned that wheat scab disease problems in last year’s crop will be a problem when wheat is released from storage and sent to market.

7. Adjournment
Mr. Rogers adjourned the meeting at 9:02a.m.

Respectfully Submitted,

Terri Long,
Staff Liaison

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