January 26, 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published new guidelines for foods that can be served in schools. The first major changes to school meals in 15 years, the new rules will affect nearly 32 million children who eat at school and will be phased in over three years, beginning March 2012. NAMA strongly supports efforts to provide more nutritious and appetizing school meals that improve the dietary intake of school children and protect their overall health.
Grains will continue to play an important role in school meals with an emphasis on increasing whole grains, defined as a product having 51 percent whole grains, which would be the first ingredient listed. The new rule intends to bring children’s dietary intake of grains inline with the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, which recommends six servings of grains per day, with half being whole grains.
Recommendations for the serving size of whole grain-rich foods are based on the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommendation of 16 grams per serving. However, the industry standard portion size for whole grain products is 14.75 grams. NAMA supports USDA’s decision to continue to provide schools with guidance on serving size.
The new standards do not include any language that would prohibit bake sales in schools.
Fran Churchill, a miller with more than 20 years experience, is the new NAMA funded Instructor of Milling in the Grain Science and Industry Department at Kansas State University. Churchill is a K-State graduate with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Milling Science and Management – Operations. Her hands-on experience includes plant management, process improvement, production optimization, safety program development, sanitation improvement, technical milling, and most recently, teaching.
The milling science management program is the only university program in the U.S. that provides education and training for the next generation of mill managers and technology specialists. NAMA has committed $300,000 to fund the position, an investment in human capital important to the milling industry.
Churchill began her career in 1984 as an assistant mill superintendent at the Pillsbury Company mill in St. Louis, MO. From 1989 – 2007 she worked at several NAMA member companies. She was a production manager, plant manager, and operations manager at mills operated by ConAgra Mills, General Mills, C.H. Guenther & Son, and The Mennel Milling Company.
NAMA and a coalition of more than 30 food industry groups wrote to the Obama Administration urging officials to request an increase in appropriated funds to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) rather than rely on food taxes and regulatory fees. The Administration’s FY 2012 budget request had proposed new unspecified user fees to fund FSMA implementation and was rejected by Congressional appropriators. While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received significant yearly funding increases since FY 2007, the coalition strongly encouraged the Administration to request sufficient funding to administer federal food safety programs under FDA’s jurisdiction. Read the letter athttps://www.namamillers.org/Letter_User_Fees_013012.html.
NAMA recently attended a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) crop report “Lockup” — a highly secured monthly meeting of the USDA Ag Statistics Board that results in a report on U.S. crop production nationwide. Representing NAMA were Bill Stoufer, ConAgra Mills; Tom Rogers, Wilkins Rogers Mills; and Mary Waters, NAMA president. It was fitting for these two members to attend since Stoufer is chairman of the NAMA Ad Hoc Committee on Production Data and Rogers chairs NAMA’s Soft Wheat Division, which has independently collected and reported crop forecasts for more than 25 years and sponsors the Soft Wheat Crop Forecast and Report every March.
Under the leadership of Stoufer, NAMA’s Ad Hoc Committee on Production Data retained an outside firm to collect and disseminate flour production data for the first time this year. The 24 largest U.S. wheat, durum and rye milling companies, representing 95.4 percent of the U.S. market, were surveyed. On December 12, 2011, NAMA reported third quarter flour production (July, August, September) was 100,561,000 cwts.
During the Crop Production Report briefing, Gerald Bange, chair of the USDA World Agricultural Outlook Board, recognized NAMA for assuming the responsibility for collecting flour production data and thanked the association for continuing to provide a flour production report. The Census Bureau was providing the report until the program was terminated due to cuts in the Administration’s FY 2012 budget.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to publish proposed rules to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) within the next few months. The four rules are:
Preventive control regulations – will direct the industry to control for intentionally introduced hazards. Environmental controls may be part of the preventive controls section or the verification program section.
Produce Safety bill – may include new standards for animal intrusion in growing fields.
NAMA anticipates publication of the third party accreditation/certification rules in early spring followed by regulations on safe food transportation and intentional adulteration.
Encouraged by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Codex Committee on Contaminants in Foods (CCCF), as part of its efforts to establish standards for the DON and its acetylated derivatives in cereals has requested data on DON testing in grains. DON (Deoxynivalenol) is a naturally occurring compound that is a by-product of a particular fungus in farmers’ fields. DON occurs primarily in wheat, but can also be found in oats and corn. The NAMA Technical Committee will be reviewing the data request and weighing how best to respond in a way that continues NAMA’s commitment to safe and wholesome food without unnecessarily disadvantaging U.S. millers.
Background: Internationally, the Codex Alimentarius (Latin, for Book of Food) Commission, a body of the United Nations, develops and coordinates food standards. Codex standards are heavily influenced by the European Union (EU). In the EU, maximum DON levels are:
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Blueprint for Stronger Service, a plan to streamline operations and cut $150 million by closing and consolidating offices. The plan is based on a department-wide review of operations conducted as part of the Administration’s Campaign to Cut Waste. The USDA will close 259 domestic offices, facilities and labs across the country, as well as seven foreign offices. Some of the closures had been previously announced. Last year, the USDA said it would shut down 10 Agricultural Research Service (ARS) labs around the country, which aligns with intelligence NAMA received in a meeting late last year with David Marshall, the ARS Acting National Program Leader for Grain Crops. While the wheat quality labs will remain, it is uncertain when critical vacancies will be filled. Closures of ARS facilities have left ARS with approximately 300 employees to place, so it is unlikely that important positions such as Lead Researcher at the Soft Wheat Quality Lab in Wooster, Ohio, will be filled until all current ARS employees are placed.
The White House is proposing consolidating the Small Business Administration and five other trade and business agencies into a single agency replacing the Commerce Department. The White House estimated that the consolidation would save $3 billion over 10 years and result in reductions of 1,000 to 2,000 jobs. This proposal had been in the works since 2010 and originally encompassed all trade-related agencies, including the Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS). After agriculture groups and Congress expressed concerns that agricultural trade successes could be subsumed or weakened under a general commercial administration, FAS was removed from this initiative.
Five agencies – the Small Business Administration, the United States Trade Representative (USTR), the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and the Trade and Development Agency, plus the business and trade functions of the Commerce Department – would be consolidated into a single entity focused on helping the private sector.
Many in Congress feel that USTR is a good example of a small government agency that works well with a clear, defined mission and effective outcomes and are opposing its inclusion in the consolidation.
Dr. Eric Jackson, lead researcher for the North American Collaborative Oat Research Enterprise (NA-CORE), is leaving the public sector to join General Mills. Jackson’s leadership and innovation on the NA-CORE project are responsible for the rapid success of the project’s objectives, including providing oat breeders with a quick, accurate means of identifying valued traits in elite commercial cultivars and germplasm sources. NAMA pledged $500,000 over three years to the global oat research project in 2009 and will continue to support the work of the team Jackson has built. NAMA looks forward to collaborating with him in his new position at General Mills.
World Food Program (WFP) Executive Director Josette Sheeran announced on January 3 that she will leave her post when her term expires in April to become vice chair of the World Economic Forum. This paved the way for United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to appoint Ambassador Ertharin Cousin, currently U.S. ambassador to the UN agencies in Rome, to take Sheeran’s place. The appointment will be effective at the WFP Board Meeting in April. NAMA has had a number of contacts with Ambassador Cousin and looks forward to working with her during her tenure.
The media covered the following NAMA news stories:
MF Global bankruptcy
Jan 6, 2012, Jacqui Fatka, Farm Futures
MF Global Aftermath: Industry Hopes to Restore Futures Market
“The North American Millers Association wrote a letter to Congress calling for the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission to immediately enact rules requiring customer segregated funds be kept in escrow accounts, in cash or very liquid government-backed instruments …”
Dec 9, 2011, World Grain staff, World Grain
Groups urge action following MF Global bankruptcy
“The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) and the North American Millers’ Association (NAMA) on Dec. 8 urged the U.S. Congress …”
Dec 8, 2011, Eric Schroeder, Baking Business
NAMA urges Congress to limit futures market risk
“The North American Millers’ Association in a Dec. 7 letter to Congress has called for action on limiting futures market risk to millers …”
Third quarter flour production report
Jan 12, 2012, Agri-Pulse
USDA/WASDE reports increase in corn production
“Food use is projected 5 million bushels lower based on flour production data recently reported by the North American Millers’ Association for July-September …”
Dec 13, 2011, Josh Sosland, Milling and Baking News and Food Business News
Third-quarter flour production off 3% from last year
” … the North American Millers’ Association retained Veris Consulting, Inc. to survey the 24 largest U.S. wheat, durum and rye milling companies on flour production in the third quarter of 2011 (July-September) …”
Dec 13, 2011, Pork Magazine
USDA: Global wheat supplies projected 2.7 million higher
“Food use is projected 5 million bushels lower based on flour production data recently reported by the North American Millers’ Association for July-September 2011 …”
NAMA Instructor of Milling
Jan 23, 2012, Food and Fiber Letter
“Fran Churchill has joined the Grain Science and Industry Department at Kansas State University, Manhattan, as instructor of milling in the university’s milling science and management program, a position funded by the North American Millers’ Association …”
Jan 13, 2012, Andrew Zender, K-State Today
North American Millers’ Association creates faculty award at K-State with large gift, K-State alumna hired for position
“The North American Millers’ Association, or NAMA, has made a commitment of $300,000 to department of grain science and industry to establish the NAMA Instructor of Milling Award …”
Jan 13, 2012, Eric Schroeder, Baking Business
Churchill named NAMA-funded instructor at K.S.U.
“Fran Churchill has been named the new North American Millers’ Association-funded instructor of milling in the Milling Science and Management …”
Jan 12, 2012, World Grain Staff, World Grain
Fran Churchill new KSU NAMA instructor of milling
“North American Millers’ Association (NAMA) Board member Breck Barton, Cereal Food Processors, Inc. announced on Jan. 11 that …”
Get the answers to these critical questions and more at the North American Millersâ€™ Associationâ€™s 2012 Division Meetings, March 10-13, in Naples, FL.
Highlights of the program include these four canâ€™t-miss sessions that will ensure you are up-to-speed on the latest industry issues:
Food Safety Regulations and Enforcement U.S. vs Canada. Current food safety regulations and approaches for enforcing them in the U.S. and Canada differ widely, especially rules regulating mycotoxins. This puts millers in potential jeopardy when shipping grain or milled grain products across the border. The planned end of the Canadian Wheat Board will also affect flows of wheat and flour. Robin Speer, Manager, Government and Commercial Relations at Viterra, the largest grain handler in Canada and one of the worldâ€™s largest oat processors, will present a north-of-the-border view.
Getting A Handle on Allergens. What are the milling industryâ€™s abilities and limitations for dealing with allergens? The adventitious presence of common allergens (soy in wheat, soy in corn, wheat in oats, etc.) is causing serious concerns within the U.S. distribution chain. Internationally, the Canadian and Irish governments are pressuring Codex to study this issue. Dr. Steve Taylor, a globally recognized expert on allergens at the University of Nebraska, will discuss regulatory expectations surrounding allergens.
Sustainable Operations â€“ Are You On Board? Customers of milled grain products are insisting their supply chain demonstrate improvements in sustainability. Marty Matlock, chairman of the committee developing sustainability standards for U.S. agriculture, will share his insights into the ever-strengthening sustainability movement. “Sustainable production of agricultural products is the one of the most challenging issues our generation faces,â€ contends Matlock. â€œThere will be 9.5 billion people coming to dinner by 2050. The decisions we make today will determine how we feed them and their children, how we eat tomorrow and how future generations eat — from now to eternity.” Matlock is Director of the Center for Agriculture and Rural Sustainability, and a professor of biological and agricultural engineering at the University of Arkansas.
Whatâ€™s Up with Wheat Markets. Commodity markets directly impact the bottom line of millers. Internationally-known commodity expert Paul Meyers, Vice President, Commodity Analysis, Foresight Commodity Services, will provide an in-depth look into the wheat market and the commodities that impact wheat.
Go to https://www.namamillers.org/2012_DM.html for details about the meeting and information on how to register.
The NAMA 2012 Summer Intern Public Policy Experience in Washington, DC, will be July 24-25. This will be the second year NAMA has sponsored the program which introduces interns working in member mills to public policy, showing them the connection between their work in the mills and the legislation and regulations guiding their work. NAMA will arrange and accompany the interns to meetings at congressional and agency offices. There are up to eight intern slots available. Contact Terri Long, director of Meetings, for more details: [email protected]; 202.484.2200, ext. 11.
Nationwide Agribusiness in Des Moines, IA, has joined NAMA as an Associate Member. The company provides commercial insurance and risk management to the milling industry. Craig Betten, Director of Sales, will be the main NAMA contact person:[email protected]; www.nationwideagribusiness.com; W: 515.508.3490; C: 515.229.0928. NAMA welcomes Nationwide Agribusiness and looks forward to working with Craig.
Fred Luckey, a past member of the NAMA Executive Committee and Board of Directors, retired from Bunge on December 31, 2011, after 30 years of service. He provided valuable leadership and expertise to the association. Luckey served two terms on the NAMA Executive Committee and was on the Nominating Committee in 2005. He was also a member of the International Trade Committee and participated in the 2003 NAMA Executive Mission to Brussels, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Rome. NAMA wishes him well in his retirement.
It is with great sadness that NAMA reports the passing of Boyd Drum on December 17, 2011. Drum, the former president and chairman of the board for Midstate Mills, Inc., was a long-time member of NAMA. He became a Board member of the Millersâ€™ National Federation in 1984 and continued on the Board as the association merged and became NAMA in 1998. He served on the NAMA Board of Directors from 1998-2008. NAMA will miss his fellowship. Memorials may be made to the Alzheimer Association, 3800 Shamrock Dr., Charlotte, NC 28215, or Lutheran Home, 1265 21st St. NE, Hickory, NC 28601.