Country Elevator Conference & Trade Show admin October 30, 2023
52nd annual Country Elevator Conference and Trade Show attract record crowd.

CEC, NGFA’s flagship meeting for grain merchants, elevator operators, feed manufacturers, processors, and grain industry suppliers, attracts several hundred industry members each year for networking, education and a supplier trade show.

The programming at CEC is designed to prepare, teach, and inspire attendees.

Prepare for 2024 with the following general session presentations:

2024 Ag Economy Outlook
Economist Dan Basse, President of AgResource Company, will open the conference with a presentation on the likely economic challenges and opportunities for the agriculture industry in 2024. 

DC Policy Update 
There has been no shortage of excitement in the nation’s capital this year. Sara Wyant, a respected voice in agricultural communications and founder and editor-in-chief of Agri-Pulse, will provide an overview of the year and an update on “what’s next” in Washington, with a specific focus on ag, trade, and environmental policy, including predictions for the next farm bill.

New and Notable Issues for Ag Transportation in 2024
Ken Eriksen will provide a multi-modal overview of US ag transportation as we head into 2024, with a focus on supply chain, transportation and infrastructure issues and developments that may affect how your business makes transportation decisions in 2024.

Learn more about the following hot-button industry issues during the breakout sessions:

Panel | Help Wanted: Foreign Ag Labor Solutions
As producers and companies in the food and ag sector struggle to find workers, many have increasingly turned to recruiting foreign workers through visa programs. Demand for H-2A workers, who can take seasonal jobs in transportation and operations, has been skyrocketing, and participation in smaller visa programs, such as H-2B or J-1 has also increased. Kristi Boswell and Chad Carlson will explain the visa programs process, and highlight the legal, operational, and practical issues businesses must consider before participation. 

The Thirst for Soyoil: Emerging Market Opportunities for 2024
U.S. agriculture faces another opportunity to fill a space in the energy sector that is rapidly creating a driving thirst for soyoil. This rapidly developing thirst for soyoil is driving expansion of the domestic crush industry to provide feedstock for new generation fuels Renewable Diesel and Sustainable Aviation Fuel, the latter of which also creates fresh demand for corn-based ethanol. U.S. agriculture is well positioned to benefit from this cutting-edge revolution.

Panel | Addressing the Challenges in Obtaining Insurance
This past year has shown many insurance challenges for the grain, feed and processing industry related to property insurance and reinsurance. Increased frequency of natural disasters, economic concerns, and poor market performance have all resulted in insurers steadily increasing rates, raising deductibles, and implementing stricter underwriting standards in their efforts to return to profitability. Panelists from Marsh McLennan Agency and Berkley Agribusiness will give attendees a nuanced view of the current insurance marketplace and discuss additional ways to obtain the insurance coverage needed to do business.      

Be inspired to think outside the box with general session presentations on new ways of doing business:

El Nino and Beyond: Leveraging USDA Weather Reports to Optimize Your Business
Mark Brusberg, Chief Meteorologist at USDA, will discuss the upcoming El Nino and how it is forecast to impact the 2024 growing year. Learn how USDA uses weather data to create the Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin, the U.S. Drought Monitor, and the monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates to gain a deeper understanding of how these reports can help your business “predict the weather.” 

Is it Scary or a Saving Grace? Generative AI and Real Talk on How it Could Impact Agriculture and Agribusinesses
In December 2022, OpenAI released ChatGPT to the public and the world of artificial intelligence changed overnight.  Jake Joraanstad of Bushel will walk attendees through a basic understanding of what generative AI is and the different applications (examples like ChatGPT and others) currently available to the public. Attendees will be encouraged to think strategically about AI applications and use cases in their own businesses, to determine whether the opportunities and challenges of AI are right for them.

The Power of Resilience: Master Adversity, Triumph Through Change, Live with Heart
Danny Lee “Nitro” Clark is a life long optimist. From the rough and tumble fields of the NFL to the iconic arenas of “American Gladiators,” Dan is a testament to relentless ambition and larger-than-life achievements. Yet lying in the hospital the day after his heart attack, Dan uttered four words he thought he’d never say. “I want to die.”

In this motivational experience, Dan shares his personal journey from absolute loss, to hope and courage, and finally to success and life beyond anything he could have imagined. Dan uses the latest in positive psychology, neurological research and captivating storytelling, to teach the key elements to mastering adversity, triumphing through change and living with purpose. If you are ready to overcome challenges and celebrate the gifts of today and the possibility of tomorrow, this presentation, fueled by Dan’s irrepressible energy and indomitable passion for life, will leave you deeply inspired, empowered and equipped to tackle your professional and personal dreams.

The decision makers are at CEC.

Did you know that  50% of CEC attendees are at the Director, Vice President, or SVP level and 17% of CEC attendees area at the CEO, President or General Manager level? The CEC trade show offers a great opportunity to visit with your existing and potential new suppliers, and get real reviews from current customer attendees. 

It's who you know.

The highlight of CEC is, of course, the community. From chance hallway conversations to meetings with colleagues at the networking receptions, hundreds of grain industry professionals create a vibrant CEC energy. Make connections during collaborative breakout sessions, at the evening networking receptions, and at several special interest events including an open meeting of NGFA’s Country Elevator Committee and a fundraiser for the National Grain and Feed Foundation.

Learn something; meet someone; come away better prepared for the year ahead.