NGFA Member Profile – Jean Bratton admin September 15, 2023

NGFA Member Profile – Jean Bratton

Jean Bratton, CEO of Centerra Co-op and member of the NGFA Executive Committee, Board of Directors and Arbitration Appeals Panel, answered some questions about her experience volunteering her time and expertise to the NGFA. 

NGFA will continue to feature active members of the association in this newsletter. Contact with any questions about participating as a committee member, attending or sponsoring an event, or contributing to NGFA communications. 

Q: Why did you begin participating in the NGFA? 
Bratton: I first became aware of NGFA when I worked for a grain company that was working through disputes with counterparties; some of the disputes involved the legal system, while most were working their way through NGFA and other trade associations’ arbitration. This gave me a firsthand appreciation for the speed and expertise shown by NGFA arbitration committees. From this initial exposure, it made sense to volunteer to be on an arbitration committee; this in turn led to other committee opportunities, culminating in my current role on the executive board of NGFA. The NGFA rulemaking and arbitration process were and are the gold standard for how intra-industry disputes should be handled.  

Q: How has your participation in the NGFA influenced your career in the grain and feed industry?
Bratton: Every NGFA committee of which I’ve been a part has been led by persons who had decades of experience in the industry. Not only did they know more about the intricacies of trading than I could ever hope to learn, but they were kind, ethical people who were always ready to share ideas on how to conquer issues. The individuals who serve on committees encouraged my personal development and the overall advancement of our industry.

Q: Are there any specific projects or events that you see as highlights of your time with NGFA?
Bratton: The hiring of a new CEO is always an opportunity to assess the future needs of the organization vs. the skillset of the team. I believe that the board did a great job taking a step back to assess these aspects and searching for the right person to fill our key needs. I hope that those who have worked with Mike would agree that our leadership and strategic direction are on the right track.

Q: What do you wish all NGFA members knew about the Association?
Bratton: The true work of NGFA is done in committees by a diverse group of people. They represent a mixture of company sizes, years of expertise and other factors. The committees are asked to consider issues ranging from our response to proposed railroad mergers to seed technology changes; they make recommendations for NGFA’s official response on these issues. Sometimes they are asked to form an opinion within days of receiving the request; and they always rise to the request. If you are considering an NGFA membership, I’d suggest that you look at the committee structure and speak to a committee chairperson – I hope that you come away with not only a “yes” on the membership decision, but also a desire to join one of our committees.

Q: What are you most looking forward to for the NGFA? 
Bratton: All of us are adjusting to the reality that we need ideas to improve our productivity. The Barge Digital Transformation (BDT) project was an idea that NGFA implemented to improve document processing productivity. I look forward to other ideas from NGFA that improve productivity and transparency of document flows.