TEGMA Newsletter
February 2014
In This Issue
2013 Fall Symposium
Speaker Summaries
TEGMA News Briefs
2014 Fall Symposium
Mark your calendars!

Sept. 11-12, 2014

Radisson Plaza
Minneapolis, MN

TEGMA Remembers... 
Paul D. Bartlett, Jr. 


Paul D. Bartlett, Jr. passed away peacefully on February 8, 2014. He was 94. Paul was a consummate grain man who devoted much of his life to building Bartlett and Company. He was a trader with a great intellect and a businessman who focused on the big picture as well as every detail. He was known by business associates for his uncanny sense of markets and his understanding of the fundamental economics that drove them. Paul was also a gentleman who cared deeply for his family; he was loyal, determined and tough.  


Click here to read the complete obituary. 

TEGMA Leadership



Mark Huston 

Louis Dreyfus Commodities  


First Vice Chairman

Brian Mehrmann 



Second Vice Chairman

Ryan Pellett 

JD Heiskell & Co.


Board of Directors

David Ayers


Grain Inspection Depts


Wyatt Brummer

The Scoular Company 


Bill Eilbracht

Union Pacific


Roger Fray

West Central Cooperative


John Glynn

CIT Rail


Pete Goetzmann

ADM Grain Company


Barbara Haertling

BNSF Railway


Scott Mills 

 Lansing Trade Group 




Bob Petersen



Erica Venancio


Director of  

Member Services

Bruce Benschoter 


Contact Info

TEGMA Office

P.O. Box 26426

Kansas City, MO 64196


Tel: (816) 569-4020

Fax: (816) 221-8189



Issue: 2014.01
February 12, 2014
TEGMA 2014 Annual Meeting: Success!  
An excellent turn-out of members heard an outstanding group of speakers at the TEGMA Annual Meeting, held January 23-24, 2014, in Scottsdale, Arizona.  TEGMA Chairman Todd McQueen, The Scoular Company, welcomed the group of over 115 members and guests.

In his welcome, McQueen noted that it had been a year of outreach and value examination for TEGMA.  Throughout the year, TEGMA has been interested in finding ways to explore and capitalize on its value proposition to the membership and has added industry veteran, Bruce Benschoter to the ranks to focus on membership outreach. 

TEGMA President, Bob Petersen, led the business portion of the general session, ratifying the actions of the Board for the past year, and providing the financial and membership reports.  Nominating Committee Chair Bob Knief presented the committee's report and asked for a motion to approve the following:

For Active Member Directors; three year terms expiring in 2017:

Pete Goetzmann, Archer Daniels Midland
Scott Mills, Lansing Trade Group
Brian Mehrmann, Gavilon

For Associate Member Directors; one year term:

David Ayers, Champaign-Danville Grain Inspection
John Glynn, CIT Rail

For Officers:

Chairman Mark Huston, Louis Dreyfus Commodities
1st Vice Chair Brian Mehrmann, Gavilon
2nd Vice Chair Ryan Pellett, JD Heiskell & Co.

To fulfill the term of outgoing Chair, Todd McQueen:

Wyatt Brummer, The Scoular Company

Following the general session, meeting attendees enjoyed a wonderful reception and banquet at the Montelucia Resort & Spa, and remarks from Cowboy Poet, Baxter Black.

TEGMA Annual Meeting minutes can be found here.
Meeting Speakers Cover Pertinent Issues
Click here to access speaker presentations.  If the presentation is password protected, enter "2014tegma" for access.

Steven Zehr
, Chief Financial Officer - Agriculture for Gavilon, opened the general session with his presentation on "Competing in a Global Marketplace."  Zehr gave an overview of macro trends that are driving global commerce and identified reasons for expanding beyond the domestic market.  As the world's middle class grows, demand is increasing, potential customers are everywhere, and problems with physical market boundaries are being solved by professional supply chain managers and their industry partners.   In agriculture, the two main reasons for companies to expand globally are to access identified, specific, potential customers, and to gain additional information and perspective to benefit business in the domestic market.  Zehr advised that global markets are different, involve increased risk, and experience is required. He closed by adding that succeeding in the global market requires commitment, and while there will be short-term costs, there is huge potential.

Doug Stark, Chief Executive Officer for Farm Credit Services of America, spoke next with his presentation on "The Producer Lens -- The View Now."  Stark began by saying that producer's generally saw good production in 2013.  They sold 2012 crops at strong cash prices and while little 2013 crops have priced early, they still hold strong cash positions. Stark discussed current trends in both land values and interest rates.  Looking forward in 2014 he identified the following key drivers to consider: 2014 planting intentions, new crop commodity prices, federal reserve action, and ag inflation.  Stark closed by emphasizing that 2014 is the beginning of a soft landing for agriculture.  As grain commodity prices and margins were generally unsustainable, production agriculture margins are now normalizing.  A healthy balance between grain production and livestock production is ideal, and a soft landing is as good as we can expect.

Dr. Robert Paarlberg, Professor of Political Science at Wellesley College, discussed "The Politics of Food Activism: Who is Winning?" which he divided into three separate "contests" -- in the cultural arena, a competition over ideas; in the commercial arena, a competition for market share; and in the governmental arena, a competition to control policy.  Cultural disagreements exist over the importance of productivity and the proper scale of production, over the value of science versus tradition and the impact of science on nature, and over who should make decisions about food and agriculture.  Critics now dominate the elite cultural marketplace and have begun to shape diet choices -- per capita calorie consumption among working age adults has declined, the frequency of home-cooked meals has increased, and more adults are consulting the Nutrition Facts Panel and health claims on packaged food.  Food activists have had little overall impact on the commercial marketplace for crops, with the exception of GMO's where activists have blocked GMO wheat, rice, potato, and nearly all fruits and vegetables.  In the political marketplace, food activists have not been successful  except where CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation) affect human health and animal welfare.

Dr. Frank Mitloehner, Professor and Air Quality Specialist with the University of California - Davis, closed out the first day of speakers with his presentation on "Connecting Academic Firepower with Industry Needs -- Clearing the Air around Livestock Environmental Issues."   Mitloehner first addressed the mistaken belief that the livestock sector contributes more greenhouse-gas emissions than the transportation industry.  He discussed a United Nations study in 2006 that he says compared apples to oranges in it's review of livestock emissions versus transportation, which exaggerated the livestock contributions.   Mitloehner further stated that interventions continue, which have lead to increased productivity and decreased emissions.   This includes improved genetics, health, and fertility in animals, leading to a decreased number of animals needed to produce product.  In addition, more energy dense feed has led to decreased methane emissions per animal.  Mitloehner emphasized that sustainable intensification is key.  Carbon dioxide emissions from land use change associated with livestock depends on the energy density of feed, the carbon content of soil, management practices, and the weather. 

Jeff Stroburg, Chief Executive Officer, West Central Cooperative, opened up the Friday morning session discussing the new age of cooperatives, in a presentation titled "Not Your Grandpa's Co-op."  Stroburg told attendees that most traditional cooperatives are built on a business model that evolved from 1890 to 1920.  The essential elements he identified as necessary for long-term viability are profitability, interested members, and committed investors. To be profitable, co-ops must liquidate "legacy" locations, establish return on asset benchmarks, and recognize that cooperative's may be different from investor owned firms in having a lower return on asset requirement. 

Steve Whitney, Vice President Marketing & Sales - Bulk, Canadian Pacific, joined us to talk about "Moving More Grain, More Efficiently, Together."  Whitney opened with an overview of the CP and discussed it's recent transformation as the company continues to evolve.  The new CP is focused on driving out waste and improving productivity, ingraining company culture, and the re-organization of marketing and sales to focus on customers and driving growth with partners.   In the second year of a new North American grain marketing system post the CWB monopsony, the market is seeing a new level of competition amongst grain companies, including more players pursuing more lanes.  Whitney reported that everyone is trying to grow, carving out space in this new market environment, and creating new choices for farmers.  Whitney closed by saying that demand will continue to grow, driving new and expanded trade lanes, and the CP will sustain service execution momentum and continue to work to move more grain, more efficiently, together.

Don Borgman, Director of Industry Relations for John Deere, joined us to talk about technology in agriculture among other topics.  He started by discussing big data and how it will help meet demand in the growing world.  Borgman said there is big potential in big data, which may be seen in yield increases, variety selection, fertility response, cost savings, automatic documentation, and environmental benefits.  On the other hand, the concern many have with big data is the loss of privacy.  Borgman then moved on to discuss consumer impacts and influences  and the US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance. The Alliance, which debuted in 2010, is the largest and broadest effort by agriculture to enhance its image with the consuming public.  In closing, Borgman returned to technology in agriculture, emphasizing that with advances in technology we will be able to grow enough -- the only thing in short supply is demand. 
TEGMA News Briefs
  • Gavilon showcases downtown headquarters with plenty of room to grow.  Spare furnishings are now the only thing on the fifth floor of Gavilon's new downtown Omaha headquarters, but the extra space reveals the firm's ambitions for growth.  The commodities trading firm's offices, opened to guests Monday for a symbolic bell-ringing ceremony, were built for as many as 750 employees, though 400 now report to work there.
  • Promotions and retirements at the railroads.  2014 will see many changes in senior level management at the railroads.  With the retirement of Kevin Kaufman at the BNSF, John Miller is the new Group Vice President of Agricultural Products.  At the Union Pacific Lance Fritz has been named president and chief operating officer following the retirement of Jim Young.  Also at the UP, Paul Hammes and Bill Eilbracht will be retiring March 31, and Jason Hess will be promoted to Vice President & General Manager Ag Products effective March 1.     
  • Bruce Oakley, Inc. to acquire Johnston's Port 33, Inc.  Bruce Oakley announced February 1 that it has signed a definitive agreement to purchase Johnston's Port 33, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of W.B. Johnston Grain Company of Enid, OK. The companies expect to close the sale on or about 8 February 2014. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.   
  • W.B. Johnston Grain to be acquired by CGB Enterprises, Inc.  It was announced on February 3 that W.B. Johnston Grain, the oldest and largest privately owned grain company in Oklahoma, has entered into a Letter of Intent to sell its grain company and related businesses to CGB Enterprises, Inc., an innovative and progressive leader in the grain and transportation industries. The parties expect to the close the transaction within 30 - 45 days.