grain pictureCGFA logo
Conveyor Currents                                March 9, 2012
Upcoming Dates



April 18-21, 2012  CGFA Annual Convention ~ The Hyatt Regency, Monterey, CA

May 16-17, 2012,  California Animal Nutrition Conference ~ Radison Hotel & Conference Center, Fresno, CA


January 16-17, 2013   Grain & Feed Industry Conference, Embassy Suites, Monterey, CA

April 24-27, 2013  CGFA Annual Convention ~ The Hyatt Regency, Huntington Beach, CA


January 15-16, 2014   Grain & Feed Industry Conference, Embassy Suites, Monterey, CA

April 23-26, 2014  CGFA Annual Convention ~ The Sheraton Resort, Maui, HI 

Quick Links
 Grain & Feed Assn.
California Dept. of Food & Ag
U.S. Dept. of Food & Ag
In This Issue
Ethanol Conflicts Continue, EPA Approves E15
Reuters: Overstatement of Chinese Corn Crop, Imports May Increase
EPA to Hold March 13 Public Meeting on CAFOs
Stay On-Site at the Convention Hotel
In Memory
Lucas Wants White House Action on Energy
$20 Million Available through USDA for Disaster Assistance
The Relationship Between Agriculture and the Environment
Legislative Budget Sub Committees Vote to Retain Cal/OSHA Board.
Workers' Compensation Division Seeks Employer Input on Current Issues
Failing an 11th Hour Fix, House May Accept Senate Two-Year Highway Bill
Ethanol Conflicts Continue, EPA Approves E15, Vilsack Defends Fuel, Ag/Auto Coalition Opposes Flexfuel Vehicle Mandate

Corn-based ethanol continues to face controversy and opposition from food and agriculture interests, and with EPA allowing new registrations for the sale of higher ethanol blended gasoline, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack told ethanol makers this week the fuel's "public record" has to be set straight. EPA formally published its evaluation of its emissions and health effects data and said it will begin accepting new registrations with the agency to sell an 85% gasoline/15% (E15) ethanol fuel blend.  


The agency previously approved a waiver for the use of E15 in vehicles manufactured after 2000. USDA doesn't see much of an immediate effect from new registrations given the cost to retailers to shift from E10 to E15 is substantial, and major investment is necessary to sell both fuels. Meanwhile, Vilsack told the Renewable Fuels Assn. (RFA) National Ethanol Conference that it's been tough for the department the last few years trying to "set the record straight about the effects of ethanol production on food costs... (and) contributions to the global feed market." Vilsack warned the RFA there continues to be a strong need to defend Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) mandates on ethanol, as well as building a broader market for the fuel and investment in "innovative emerging technologies." Vilsack said he sees the ethanol industry as "the platform for our transition to producing more advanced biofuels."  


He said EPA's decision on E15 is important, but maintaining the RFS is a greater priority, citing oil company efforts to modify or eliminate the federal mandate. In a related development, a coalition of more than 20 agriculture, food, automobile and business associations has publicly registered its opposition to the so-called "Open Fuels Standard", a move by Sens. Maria Cantwell (D, WA) and Richard Lugar (R, IN) to mandate 80% of gasoline-powered light duty vehicles manufactured and sold in the U.S. be capable of running on any combination of ethanol, methanol and gasoline by 2018. The groups called the amendment to the Senate highway bill a "massive new tax on consumers."



Reuters: Overstatement of Chinese Corn Crop, Imports May Increase Dramatically

Chinese 2011 corn production may be overestimated by its government by as much as 14%, and may lead to increased corn demand by that nation from a world market already struggling to deal with severe drought in South America and the lowest U.S. stocks in 16 years, according to a Reuters news service investigation published this week. The wire service said Chinese corn imports are likely to increase, along with wheat imports to backstop corn supplies unavailable or priced too high for China's feed and food purposes.  


China's National Bureau of Statistics said that nation produced a record corn crop in 2011 of 191.8 million metric tonnes, but Reuters cites private analysts and other ag sources both in and outside of China who are skeptical of the government figure, figuring the estimate is overstated by 6.8-24 million tonnes. USDA says the Chinese record corn crop and about 4 million tonnes in imports will meet China's domestic demand, but competition between the government and private corn processors for available supplies is already pushing prices higher, Reuters said, adding that two weeks ago China purchased 120,000 tonnes of corn, its first since harvest was completed in 2011. An Australian market analyst is quoted by Reuters: "We see a year-on-year increase in corn imports, just as we did with soybean imports."


EPA to Hold March 13 Public Meeting on CAFOs


In an effort to explain agency policies on confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), EPA announced it will hold a March 13 public meeting in West Point, NE, for livestock producers in Region 7. The meeting is part of EPA's enhanced "national emphasis" on preventing CAFOs from polluting streams and rivers through runoff, and Region 7 has been a target for the agency since it includes heavy cattle production areas in Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri. The focus of the meeting will be to explain the importance of EPA inspections, along with aerial overflights to assess CAFOs, winter feeding areas, manure stockpiling and nutrient management plans. Details of the meeting can be found at


Stay On-Site at the Convention Hotel

Do you have your room reserved yet at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa?
April 18-21, 2012  ~ CGFA Annual Convention 

Click Here for on-line hotel room reservation  or call direct (831) 372-1234

The CGFA  Annual Convention traditionally draws attendees from across the nation.  It is an essential link in bringing greater communication and stability within the grain & feed industry.    Your support and participation are invaluable in keeping our Association strong.

Highlights from the Business Session:

International Economic Considerations
  • by Michael Stead, EVP, Bank of the West
The Organic Food Market, How it Has Changed, Where it is Going, Who are the Customers
  • by Kelli Takikawa and James Parker, Whole Foods Market
CGFA Annual Meeting and Report
  • by President Chris Benevedes, Ridley Block Operations  
  • and Executive Vice President, Chris Zanobini
UC Davis At Your Service - Connecting Academic Fire Power with Industry Needs
  • by Frank Mitloehner, Ph.D., UC Davis
Changing Consumers, Technology and Societal Values Regarding Modern Food Production
  • by Stan Erwine, Dairy Management Inc.

Group Luncheon Speakers
  • Matt Rush and Celeste Settrini ~ Matt and Celeste will be speaking about opening new doors for our industry...taking agriculture beyond the challenges we face today, and going forward with hope, determination and the spirit to succeed. 

All the forms, program, and information are on our CGFA website at:

 Hotel Reservations on-line 




In Memory...

In Memory of Jack Flammer It is with saddened hearts that we report the passing of Jack Flammer.  Jack past away on Saturday, February 27th in the Santa Ynez Valley, CA.  During his days in the feed industry, Jack was a very active member and served as Past President of the California Grain & Feed Association in 1959.  There is not a scheduled service, however his family had a private memorial.  Our sympathies go out to his family and friends in the industry.

Lucas Wants White House Action on Energy

Calling for an "all-of-the-above" energy plan, House Agriculture Committee Chair Frank Lucas (R, OK) this week challenged President Obama to join House Republicans in pushing for a national energy policy that reduces costs for farmers and ranchers, creates jobs and works to ensure U.S. energy security. Lucas chided Obama for talking about a program, but offering no specifics or "new solutions." Lucas pointed out how energy-dependent agriculture and ag processing are, citing rising costs of machinery fuels, heating oil, fertilizer, petrochemicals and seed, as well as the energy cost of planting, harvesting, processing and transporting production. Lucas took a shot at the Administration's rejection of the Keystone Pipeline from Canada, as well as decisions to restrict energy exploration.

$20 Million Available through USDA for Disaster Assistance

Nearly $20 million is available through USDA disaster assistance to communities ravaged by flooding, drought and other natural disasters, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced this week. The new monies come on the heels of $215 million already distributed to 26 states to assist in disaster recovery. The dollars are partnership money; USDA pays 75% of the cost of reconstruction while a local or state government pays the remaining 25%, Vilsack said. Projects include clearing clogged waterways, reseeding burned or eroded areas, and in some cases, purchasing floodplain easements on eligible land.


The Relationship Between Agriculture and the Environment

Somewhere in California right now, there's a debate going on about agriculture and the environment. The discussion might be taking place in Sacramento at the capitol building or perhaps over a cup of coffee between two farmers in the Central Valley. But wherever the deliberations, there are likely some strong opinions being shared.

For decades, the proverbial merry-go-round has appeared in a repeat scenario: environmentalists pitted against farmers, one struggling to push for more rules and regulations to protect Mother Nature, and the other rushing to defend the farm and its economic viability.

Unfortunately for agriculture, the fighting usually appears to consumers as farmers and ranchers just wanting to save their bottom lines - caring less about their impact on nature and more about higher yields and stuffing their pocketbooks. In response, farmers and ranchers are the first to point out that they are the original environmentalists - noting that maintaining the land has been integral to protecting their investment. So, who's right?
 This week on, we're asking you to share your experiences and thoughts on the collaboration of agriculture and the environment.  Giving your insight into agriculture's role in preserving our precious resources may help consumers better understand what farmers and ranchers are doing to ensure the environment is preserved for years to come.



JD Heiskell 1
Featured Video: J.D. Heiskell & Co. Part 1 
Legislative Budget Sub Committees Vote to Retain Cal/OSHA Board

The Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) Standards Board serves as a successful and important function of Cal/OSHA in the development of enforceable workplace safety regulations and therefore should not be eliminated, CalChamber Policy Advocate Marti Fisher told two budget subcommittees this week. 

Both the Senate and Assembly budget subcommittees voted to keep the Cal/OSHA Standards Board. An identical proposal was put forward in 2011, but was also rejected after strong opposition from the business and labor communities.


"We support the very important work of the Standards Board because they're an independent board," Fisher told the Assembly Budget Subcommittee Number 4 on March 7. "Any regulations that come before them have to be fair and balanced, and they have to pass with labor and management at the table. They have created a very transparent and participatory processes so that anybody interested can participate and have the opportunity to be heard no matter which party is in the administration."




Workers' Compensation Division Seeks Employer Input on Current Issues

(February 29, 2012) Two state entities are holding a series of public meetings across the state to gather comments about current workers' compensation issues from employers and other stakeholders.


The open forum discussions are planned by the state Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) and the Division of Workers' Compensation (DWC). DIR and DWC also seek suggestions for improvements.

DIR Director Christine Baker and DWC Administrative Director Rosa Moran will be among the speakers at the meetings.


Topics of discussion will include:

  • Providing appropriate medical treatment without unnecessary delay, the Medical Provider Network (MPN), Utilization Review (UR) or other issues.
  • Enabling injured workers to return to work as quickly as medically feasible.
  • Adequate compensation for permanent disabilities.
  • Reducing the burden of liens on the system.
  • Identifying appropriate fee schedules.
  • Reducing unnecessary litigation costs.
  • Assessing appropriate use of opiates and other care.
  • Any other improvements needed.



Failing an 11th Hour Fix, House May Accept Senate Two-Year Highway Bill 

Faced with a looming March 31 expiration date, the House surrendered this week on voting on its own highway bill, despite the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee's approval of a five-year, $260-billion package. Instead, House Speaker John Boehner (R, OH) signaled he will accept the Senate's version of the federal highway/urban commuter program spending package. Boehner had earlier given his GOP caucus a choice: Vote for a modified five-year House package many in the House oppose, or accept the Senate's $109-billion two-year bill. Budget hawks in the House oppose the committee-passed bill because it requires Treasury funding for at least a portion of the program rewrites, but leaders continue to try and fix the bill to make it politically palatable so the House can send its own version of the highway reauthorization bill to conference.  


One option was for the House to pass a short-term extension of current programs to allow itself the time to cut a deal. However, the Senate, having reached an agreement this week allowing 30 amendments to its highway package, and targeting March 13 for final passage, is unlikely to go along with the move. Among the amendments the Senate rejected this week was a series of changes aimed at curbing gas price increases; an amendment by Sen. Susan Collins (R, ME) to curb EPA regulatory authority on boiler emissions, and separate amendments to approve the Keystone pipeline and ban export of oil brought down from Canada via the pipeline. Pending is an amendment by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D, MI) to extend several energy tax breaks, including those for biodiesel.