2017 Annual Meeting Information

AFOA Member Directory

AFOA 2017 60th Annual Meeting!

October 11-12, 2017



Sponsorship Registration

Hotel Information: 


The Drake Hotel

140 East Walton Place Chicago, IL 60611


Group Code: AFOA

Click here to reserve your room 

Schedule of Events:


Attendees List:

Click here for a list of 2017 AFOA Annual Meeting Attendees 

Gala Reception:2017-afoa-sponsorship-formSpeakers: 

insana_ron_promopicRon Insana

Keynote Speaker

 Wednesday, Oct 11 (12:30-2:30pm)

Grand Ballroom

Connecting You with the World’s Greatest Minds

Ron Insana is a contributor to CNBC and MSNBC, where he discusses the most pressing economic and market issues of the day. He also delivers The Market Scoreboard Report to radio stations around the country.

He has written for Money magazine and USA Today and has hosted two nationally syndicated radio programs.
In addition to his work as a business journalist, Insana was the CEO of Insana Capital Partners, from 2006-2008, which, at its peak, managed the $125 million Insana Capital Partners “Legends Fund.”

For nearly three decades, Insana has been a highly respected business journalist and money manager, who began his career at the Financial News Network in 1984 and joined CNBC when FNN and CNBC merged in 1991.

Insana is well-known for his high-profile interviews, which included Presidents Clinton and Bush; billionaire investors Warren Buffett, George Soros and Julian Robertson, among others: captains of industry from Bill Gates to Jack Welch and to the late Steve Jobs, top economists, analysts and global heads of state, from Former Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, to Jordan’s current Queen, Rania.

Insana was named one of the “”Top 100 Business News Journalists of the 20th Century and was nominated for a news and documentary Emmy for his role in NBC’s coverage of 9/11.

Ron is the editor of ìInsanaís Market Intelligence,î a subscription-based newsletter. He has authored four books on Wall Street and is a highly regarded lecturer on domestic and global economics, financial markets and economic policy issues.

Trump 2017: From Washington to Wall Street
Now that Donald Trump is President, “Trumponomics” are the order of the day.  Counter to what the experts predicted (shock!), stocks sold off only briefly on election night and since then, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has made a succession of new all-time highs. So what is Wall Street telling us about Washington and how will Washington, or a Trump presidency, affect Wall Street and Main Street?  If, indeed, the President rolls back 70% of all federal regulations, as promised, the first beneficiaries will be financials and pharma, banks and bio-tech. If tax rates are slashed, wealthy individuals and U.S. corporations with benefit big-league!

But there will be downsides to a Trump presidency, as well. A trade war with Mexico and China could lead to a deep recession and intense pain for companies that either do business in those countries or rely on the international supply chain to obtain goods and services from around the world. There will likely be faster growth but more inflation. There may be higher rates and a new head of the Fed. The short-run reaction on Wall Street has been positive, but what about the long-run implications?

Ron Insana does a deep dive into uncharted waters to help you navigate a new economy that may have islands of prosperity in what may well be very turbulent waters.

Caroline Wade

Vegetable Oils Forum

Thursday, Oct 12 (8:15 am-9:15am)

Walton Room 

Caroline Wade started as the Agriculture Program Director for the Illinois Chapter of The Nature Conservancy in May 2017. She will lead the Conservancy’s agricultural initiatives, working to improve water quality, soil health, wildlife habitat, and air quality, while addressing the impacts of climate change. She previously worked for the Illinois Corn Growers Association, where she served as the Nutrient Watershed Manager and collaborated with partners in Illinois and across the country on sustainability efforts in agricultural production systems. Throughout her career, Caroline has worked to unite environmental science and agriculture to focus on practical yet innovative solutions to the many natural resources issues facing the Midwest, particularly water quality. Caroline graduated from Illinois State University with a B.S. in Environmental Health and Environmental Science and a M.S. in Agriculture. She finds inspiration in the wonders of the natural world and spends her free time enjoying mountain biking, kayaking, camping, hiking and gardening.

Mary Tate

Vegetable Oils Forum

Thursday, Oct 12 (8:15 am-9:15am)

Walton Room 

In her role as Global Sustainability Manager at Kellogg Company, Mary leads the execution and alignment of global responsible sourcing programs and reporting. Her work focuses on grower engagement projects and Kellogg’s commitments to sustainably sourcing ingredients, climate smart agriculture, and improving livelihoods for women and smallholder farmers. Prior to her work at Kellogg, Mary worked at Haworth Inc. where she led the global sustainable sourcing strategy and managed various certifications, including BIFMA level and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Mary has experience working within both the private and nonprofit sector and holds a B.S. in Sustainable Business from Aquinas College.

Bill Lapp

Outlook Seminar

Thursday, Oct 12 (9:30 am-10:30 am)

Walton Room 


Bill Lapp is president and founder of Advanced Economic Solutions.  Lapp graduated from Southern Illinois University in 1979 with a B.A. in Mathematics, and from Purdue University in 1981 with a M.S. in Agricultural Economics. Lapp has over 25 years of experience in analyzing and forecasting economic conditions and commodity markets, and has a wealth of experience in providing comprehensive economic analysis of commodity markets. He has been a featured speaker at numerous national forums, including the restaurant industry’s semi-annual Supply Chain Management conference, Sosland’s Annual Purchasing Seminar, the National Institute of Oilseed Products, the Canola Council of Canada, and the USDA Annual Outlook conference.

Prior to forming Advanced Economic Solutions, Lapp was Chief Economist for ConAgra Foods. He has served on numerous boards, including the Kansas City Board of Trade, Kansas City Federal Reserve Board’s Center for the Study of Rural America, the Farm Foundation, and the Food and Agriculture Committee of the Omaha Chamber of Commerce. In addition, Lapp is a former member of USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service Advisory Board, and participates on the Harvard Business Industrial Economists’ Round-Table.

Advanced Economic Solutions (AES) is dedicated to providing high quality economic and commodity analysis to agri-business and food companies.  Formed in 2005, Advanced Economic Solutions provides forecasts and analysis for procurement, investment and risk management decisions, in order to help these companies in their decision-making processes and strategic thinking. Clients of AES include restaurants, food manufacturers, grain merchandisers, livestock producers, investment firms and biofuel-related firms.


Larry H. Schafer

Biofuels Forum

Thursday, Oct 12 (10:45 am-12:15pm)

Grand Ballroom

Regulatory Landscape for Biofuels

Larry Schafer is a Principal with Playmaker Strategies, LLC, a government relations firm based in Washington, DC. Throughout his career, Mr. Schafer has represented, among others, World Energy, BIOX, Rio Valley Biofuels, Lakeview Energy, LLC, Genscape, the National Biodiesel Board, Gavilon, Ocean Connect, Biourja, Petro Diamond, Center Oil, Magellan Midstream Partners, L.P., POET, and Buckeye Partners, LP. He has over twenty years of experience providing clients and trade associations with strategic advice and guidance on technical, legislative and regulatory matters relating to renewable fuels, energy, agriculture, tax and trade issues.

Mr. Schafer is one of the nation’s preeminent experts on renewable fuels policy. As the lead consultant and Senior Advisor to the National Biodiesel Board, he was one of the main architects of the current Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program for Biomass-based Diesel, and has been instrumental in the continued growth of the RFS Biomass-based Diesel schedule. Mr. Schafer was also intimately involved in the formulation of the original RFS program and the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC) for the ethanol industry. Mr. Schafer served as the coordinator for the ethanol industry at ASTM International for more than five years and is well-versed on technical marketplace issues relating to transportation fuels.

Mr. Schafer previously served as the Vice President for the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), the trade association for the U.S. ethanol industry. In this capacity, he coordinated the RFA’s “Technical Committee,” “Fuel Cell Task Force,” and “Safety Committee.” He also worked with the organization’s senior membership to formulate and implement the industry’s policy priorities. Previous to joining the RFA, Mr. Schafer served as Vice President of Legal, Tax and Accounting (LTA) Policy with the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC), where he was responsible for handling legal, tax, and accounting issues. In his position with NCFC, he worked closely with the National Association for Cooperatives and the agricultural tax section of the American Bar Association.

Mr. Schafer started his career in Washington, DC by serving as Legislative Counsel to U.S. Representative Earl Pomeroy (D-ND). Congressman Pomeroy served on both the powerful Ways and Means Committee and the Agriculture Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Mr. Schafer is a native of Mandan, North Dakota. He received his law degree from the University of North Dakota School of Law, and holds a B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in accounting from Valley City State University in North Dakota.

Shelby Neal 

Biofuels Forum

Thursday, Oct 12 (10:45 am-12:15pm)

Grand Ballroom

Update on State Biodiesel and Renewable Diesel Products

Shelby Neal serves as the Director of State Governmental Affairs for the National Biodiesel Board.  In this capacity he is responsible for government relations in all 50 state capitals, managing a team of more than a dozen professionals across the country.

Before joining the National Biodiesel Board, Shelby served as a legislative assistant and legislative director to three Members of Congress in Washington, D.C.  He also served as a senior policy advisor to Missouri Governor Matt Blunt, where he helped draft and pass the Missouri Renewable Fuels Standard.  Shelby’s expertise in public policy includes energy, agriculture, economic development, and environmental issues.

Shelby has provided expert testimony from coast to coast and served on advisory committees for Members of Congress, the Midwest Governors Association, and state agencies such as the California Air Resources Board.  Shelby is a graduate of the University of Missouri.

                                                      Sharon Bomer Lauritsen 

                                                       Industry Panel Discussion

sharon-bomer-photo-3-2016 Thursday, Oct 12 (12:30-2:30pm)

Grand Ballroom

Advancing Agricultural Trade

Since 2011, Ms. Bomer Lauritsen has had overall responsibility for international trade negotiations and policy development regarding agriculture for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.  Responsibilities include Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations on agriculture and sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures, issues affecting trade in agricultural and food products, monitoring and enforcement of existing WTO and FTA commitments for agriculture.  With 30 years experience in agricultural government policy, Ms. Bomer has also held executive and management positions at the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service.  Early in her career, she worked for United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association and worked for a Member of Congress.

Sharon Bomer Lauritsen

Assistant U.S. Trade Representative

For Agricultural Affairs and Commodity Policy

Office of the U.S. Trade Representative

Executive Office of the President

Charlie McNairy

Industry Panel Discussion

Thursday, Oct 12 (12:30-2:30pm)

Grand Ballroom

Charlie McNairy:  CEO

Mr. McNairy is CEO of International Farming Corporation, a $1.2 bn agricultural investment manager.  Mr. McNairy has overseen farmland acquisitions, mid-stream assets and agtech investments across a multitude of geographies and crop types.  He grew up working for his family’s farming businesses which were founded in 1871.  These businesses included L. Harvey’s Falling Creek Produce Company and Harvey Farms where he focused on both row and permanent crops.  Mr. McNairy began his career as an analyst in Morgan Stanley’s New York City real estate division focusing on principal investments, mergers and acquisitions, and REIT advisory work.  Mr. McNairy was a Morehead Scholar, Phi Beta Kappa and Academic-All ACC at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he played on two Final Four basketball teams for Hall of Fame Coach Dean Smith.  Mr. McNairy currently serves on the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Board of Visitors and the General Alumni Association Board of Directors.  Mr. McNairy received his M.B.A. from Harvard University.


Thank you to the 2017 AFOA Annual Meeting Sponsorships so far…

Platinum Sponsorship:


Lanyard Sponsorship: Still Available 

Coffee Break Sponsorship:


Gold Level:














Silver Level:

Agri Trading Corporation

American Proteins, Inc.

Kinder Morgan’s Delta Terminal

MPB Commodities, Inc.

Quincannon Associates, Inc.

Renewable Biofuels

Sunbelt Commodities, Inc.

Victory Tropical Oil USA, Inc.

Phone: 1-803-252-7128