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Corn Division Meeting Minutes – March 24, 2013

North American Millers’ Association
Corn Division Committee
Minutes

Hammock Beach Resort
Harbor/Galleon Rooms

March 24, 2013
8:30 – 11:00 A.M.

DRAFT

Members Present:

Division Chairman George Allard, Bunge Milling, Inc.

Brian Anderson, Bunge Milling, Inc.

Emilio Castillo Olea, Cargill Corn Milling

Ray Clark, Hopkinsville Milling company

Jack Cwach, ADM Milling Company

John Didion, Didion Milling, Inc.

Riley Didion, Didion Milling, Inc.

Wade Ellis, Bunge Milling, Inc.

Matthew Gibson, Lifeline Foods, LLC

Robert Giguere, Iowa Corn Processors, Inc.

Mark Kolkhorst, ADM Milling Company

James Meyer, Italgrani, U.S.A., Inc.

Tom Rogers, Wilkins Rogers Mills

Bruce Roskens, Grain Millers, Inc.

Rick Schwein, Grain Millers, Inc.

Keith Smith, Cargill Corn Milling

Robin Venn, LifeLine Foods, LLC

Nick Weigel, ADM Milling Company

Stephen Wickes, Agricor, Inc.

John Wiebold, General Mills, Inc.

 

Staff:

Sherri Lehman, Staff Liaison, Director of Government Relations

Jim Bair, Vice President

Paul Green, International Trade Consultant

Terri Long, Director of Communications, Meetings, and Membership

Lyndsey Valentine, Administrative Assistant

Robert H. Myers, Jr., Legal Counsel, Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP

 

1. Call to Order- Division Chairman George Allard, Bunge Milling, Inc.
Mr. Allard called the meeting to order at 8:31 a.m.

a. Introductions- George Allard, Bunge Milling, Inc.
Self-introductions were made.

b. Review of Antitrust Guidelines- Robert H. Myers, Legal Counsel, Morris, Manning, & Martin, LLP
Mr. Myers, legal counsel, reviewed the antitrust guidelines.

2. Administrative

a. Approval of Minutes- Sherri Lehman, NAMA
The October 26, 2012 Corn Division minutes were distributed prior to the meeting for review.  Mr. Ellis made a motion to approve the minutes.  Mr. Wickes seconded the motion.  The minutes were approved at 8:37 a.m.

b. Report on Corn Division Reserve Fund & Budget – Sherri Lehman, NAMA
Ms. Lehman reported that there is $198,636.64 in the Corn Division Reserve Fund plus another $20,814.70 that was transferred from the White Corn Research Fund.

3. Items for Discussion

a.  Research

I.  Update on Corn Dry Milling Conference – Bruce Roskens, Grain Millers, Inc.
Mr. Roskens reported the CDMC is scheduled for May 16 and will be held at the USDA research center in Peoria, Illinois. A member meeting is scheduled for the night of May 15 at the Embassy Suites East Peoria.  He also noted that the planning committee is still trying to secure speakers and asked members to contact him or the committee with any ideas.  Mr. Roskens encouraged everyone to attend and to bring their company technical people with them.

II. Update on New Corn Research Topics – Brian Anderson, Bunge Milling, Inc.
Mr. Anderson said topics for a new corn research project are still under consideration. He provided an update on new technology coming online, including a 3D scanner that can pick up different kinds of toxins.  Mr. Anderson is going to get more information on the scanner and send it to Mr. Roskens for his opinion on the potential of the technology.

Mr. Smith proposed the division re-evaluate allergens as a possible research topic.  He is considering a field trip to the University of Nebraska to get an update on where the industry stands in this area. Mr. Smith reported more funding is not needed now, but possibly in the future.  Mr. Anderson advised NAMA to request two proposals before NAMA considers a project,.

Mr. Roskens reported that during the planning meeting for CDMC, members discussed whether there is an opportunity for corn to take advantage of being gluten-free.  Mr. Ellis said it would be more about marketing rather than testing.  Mr. Wickes agreed and suggested the corn division take the idea to the Board of Directors.  He encouraged the group to start the conversation immediately and not wait until the annual meeting in the fall.  Mr. Roskens said while the division waits for board approval, NAMA should start researching and gathering data that has already been completed in preparation for next steps. Mr. Allard suggested the Technical Committee draft language regarding gluten-free corn for the NAMA website.  Mr. Bair advised the corn division needs executive committee approval for such a project. With the approval of the executive committee, the project would next move to the Nutrition/Product Promotion Committee for further development.  Mr. Ellis suggested the corn millers speak to members of the soft wheat division and get their reaction on this matter. Mr. Allard asked for a motion to go to the executive committee for approval to add gluten free information about corn to the website.  The motion passed. Mr. Didion asked if the next step would be researching literature.  Mr. Roskens confirmed a scientific literature search would be the next appropriate step. Mr. Anderson agreed to provide results from a literature search at the corn division member meeting on May 15 in Peoria, IL. Mr. Didion suggested the only challenge would be the timeliness.  He said the research needs to consider cross contamination and making sure the milled corn products are safe.

b. Food Safety

I. Update on FSMA Implementation – Sherri Lehman, NAMA
Ms. Lehman reported the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released two long-awaited proposed rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).  She said NAMA has drafted comments for FDA.  She asked committees to provide feedback on the comments before April 15. Final comments are due in May.  Ms. Lehman said NAMA is also working with GMA (Grocery Manufacturers Association) on this effort.

II. Update on FDA Request for Allergen Threshold Information – Sherri Lehman, NAMA
Ms. Lehman said in December, FDA opened a docket to gather information to conduct a risk-assessment to establish regulatory thresholds for major food allergens. The grain chain is providing comments as one unit through GMA.  This is something NAMA is trying to incorporate into FSMA.  Mr. Wickes said from a regulation compliance standpoint, NAMA does not want to have gluten in the same conversation as allergens.  Ms. Lehman said the focus of the conversations behind this is cross contamination.  FDA wants to establish hard thresholds based on science.

III. Review of Aflatoxin Situation – Jim Bair, NAMA
Mr. Bair asked the Corn Division for feedback on the issue of collecting aflatoxin data. Mr. Allard stated NAMA should not be on high alert about this because there are no aflatoxin problems in the industry.  Mr. Giguere said it has not turned into the problem people thought it would.  He said he does not even know of any elevators that have had to do any blending.  Mr. Bair said at some point, FDA will ask for aflatoxin data.  Mr. Wickes asked if there is any interest in having vomitoxin specific products.  Mr. Bair said there is no interest for vomitoxin or ochratoxin.  He said FDA currently has no proposals that deal with mycotoxins, but the next one to be addressed will likely be ochratoxin.

c. Supply

I. Update on Enogen Advisory Council Meeting – George Allard, Bunge Milling, Inc.
Mr. Allard reported he and Mr. Anderson represented NAMA at the February 21, 2013 Enogen Advisory Council meeting. PowerPoint slides from the presentation are on the Enogen website.  Mr. Allard said Enogen acreage continues to increase from 20,000 to possibly 60,000 acres.  He said the meeting spent a lot of time on the results of testing adjacent fields.  He said they are finding some amounts of Enogen in adjacent fields, which can be influenced by factors such as wind speed.  They also tested whether or not nodes were contaminated with Enogen.  Mr. Allard said they are finding trace amounts in very small percentages, which he thinks will bring up an interesting conversation with the growers.  He said they also continue to have open conversations with millers regarding draw areas and that they are still open to testing.  Mr. Allard felt the draw area is not going to be an industry issue, but an individual company issue.

In regards to the nodes, Mr. Anderson said there was a systematic description of how they chose them.  He said it is very regimented in that the seed has a bar code, and it is scored based on the farmer.  He also noted for some of the corn a purple pigment gene has been inserted it into the corn plant to aid in identifying it in market channels.  Mr. Anderson said they are also working on so-called geo fences utilizing GPS tracking on trucks to ensure the corn goes directly  from the farmer to the ethanol plant.  Mr. Anderson said the other study they are doing is rotating crops.  Mr. Weigel said he spoke with Dr. Don Sullins and they are expecting 100,000 acres by 2014 or 2015.  They hope to eventually have Enogen planted on 2.5 million acres.  He said the biggest constraint right now is not in the seed supply or stewardship, but in training ethanol plants on how to use the corn.  Mr. Bair said they have also signed agreements with growers in different regions, so it is expanding.  Mr. Roskens asked if they discussed the pollen spread.  Mr. Allard said it showed the fields were divided into quadrants and that they put everything except economic data on their website.  He noted they are making a sincere effort with the stewardship program.

Mr. Didion asked Mr. Allard to explain the contract.  Mr. Allard said the grower gets a premium to produce Enogen, will return the seed unused, and agrees to the stewardship program.  He said they could add the trait to any stack of traits. Mr. Roskens said the original plan was to have some incorporated into glyphosate tolerant corn by 2014.  Mr. Didion said he thinks the economics will drive the stewardship program.  He said if they can’t maintain the program, then their product would be valueless.  Mr. Ellis suggested NAMA check with an allied association for feedback.

Mr. Allard said in regards to the advisory council, the only time someone got nervous was when the conversation turned to the growers and the problem with drift.  He said there was not a lot of talk concerning testing.  He said we have reached a point where there is not much to discuss due to the restrictions.  Mr. Allard noted Syngenta is open to doing bilateral arrangements, but he does not think it is a good idea.  He said if NAMA were to embark on testing, NAMA would become a partner to Syngenta.  Mr. Bair said in the four years we opposed the deregulation, it was hard to find a sympathizer because nobody was willing to do so publicly.  More recently, however, there has been a change in attitude on it. Mr. Meyer asked if we are in regular contact with the Corn Refiners Association.  Mr. Bair confirmed we are.  Mr. Allard said we should reach out to them about testing.  Mr. Meyer asked how much influence we have.  Mr. Bair said they seem to be receptive to our feedback especially on testing methodologies.  Mr. Bair said he thinks they realize they acted poorly in their communications with our coalition on this topic.  Mr. Giguere said leaving it in their court is a good idea so NAMA does not have to take responsibility for it. Mr. Allard said they did not handle it well but they are frustrated and stunned by the whole deregulation experience.

4. Other Business
Mr. Wickes asked about the work with OSHA grain handling and the push for NFPA standards. Mr. Bair reported there had been an uptick in OSHA inspection activity in the states.  He is hoping to offer an OSHA compliance webinar soon.

Mr. Didion asked if there was an interest on the topic of Enogen at the Corn Dry Milling Conference (CDMC).  Mr. Roskens said due to the sensitivity of the topic, the CDMC planning committee decided it would be best to leave it out of the program and discuss it the night before at the member meeting.

Mr. Allard announced he would be moving out of the corn milling division with Bunge and moving in to the edible oils division.  He said in making this move, he is resigning his position as chair of the corn division. Mr. Cwach made a motion to nominate Mr. Ellis as the new corn division chairman.  Mr. Giguere seconded the motion.  The motion was approved at 10:08 a.m.  Mr. Didion suggested nominating a vice chairman. Mr. Ellis said the corn division can have an offline discussion regarding this matter and bring it up at the next meeting.

Because of his resignation, Mr. Allard said the corn division needs to find a replacement for him on the Enogen advisory council.   He suggested the corn division also find a replacement for Don Sullins, who has since retired.  Mr. Myers said we will need to put this on the agenda for the next meeting.  Mr. Giguere asked if we are limited to two seats on the advisory council.  Mr. Allard said they may be open to giving us more seats.

Mr. Wickes thanked Mr. Allard for his service.  He said he has been part of a revolution with Bunge in NAMA and their presence has really grown within the association.  Mr. Wickes made a motion commending his service.  Mr. Didion seconded the motion and the motion was passed at 10:19 a.m.

Mr. Allard wanted to make sure everyone was aware of NAMA’s summer internship program in Washington, D.C. and he encourage everyone to participate.

5. Adjournment
Mr. Allard adjourned the meeting at 10:29 a.m.

Respectfully Submitted,

Sherri Lehman
Staff Liaison

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