2017 Annual Meeting Recap

AFOA Member Directory

AFOA 2017 60th Annual Meeting!

October 11-12, 2017



The 2018 Annual Meeting will be from October 10-11, 2018. At the Grand Hyatt in New York.

Speaker PowerPoints:

Click on the names below to access the powerpoint:

Dr. David Meeker- Animal Protein/ Tallow Forum

Jason Mann-Animal Protein/ Tallow Forum

Ryan Standard-Animal Protein/ Tallow Forum

Bill Lapp- Outlook Seminar

Shelby Neal –Biofuels Forum

Charles R. Bertsch- Industry Panel Discussion

Michael Gruber-Industry Panel Discussion

Final Attendees List:

Attendees list  


Dr. David Meeker

 Wednesday, Oct 11 (9:00-11:00am)

Grand Ballroom

Animal Protein/ Tallow Forum

David L. Meeker is senior vice president, Scientific Services of the National Renderers Association (NRA) in Alexandria, VA.  He serves as the scientific/technical advisor to the North American rendering industry on science, animal disease, and feed safety issues.  He is also Research Director for the Fats and Proteins Research Foundation.

Dr. Meeker previously served in scientific and management positions at the National Turkey Federation and National Pork Producers Council, was director of the Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources at the National Academy of Sciences, and was an associate professor at The Ohio State University.

Over the past three decades he has served as an advisor and consultant to numerous governmental, professional, and business organizations in the U.S. and internationally.

He received his B.S., M.S., Ph.D., and M.B.A. degrees from Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.

Ryan Standard

 Wednesday, Oct 11 (9:00-11:00am)

Grand Ballroom

Animal Protein/ Tallow Forum

Ryan Standard has been active as a reporter and analyst with the Jacobsen for the last ten years.  Ryan graduated from Monmouth College in 2003 where he studied Economics as well as History and Literature. He has combined his educational background with his personal interests for research and financial and commodity markets to gain extensive knowledge of the rendering and biodiesel industries. He is the current editor of the US and International Animal Fats, Animal Proteins and Sausage Casings Bulletin and has served as a contributor to The Jacobsen Biodiesel Bulletin as well as the US and International Hide Report.

Jason Mann

 Wednesday, Oct 11 (9:00-11:00am)

Grand Ballroom

Animal Protein/ Tallow Forum

Jason is the Director of Nutrition for Evaqua Farms, one of the USA’s largest Steelhead fish producers based in the Hagerman Valley of Idaho.   From October 1st, Jason will also join the executive team for a sister Breeding company called Riverence (based in Rochester, Washington State).    Riverence  produces  premium salmon and trout eggs for fish farmers.

In Q4 of 2016, after 29 years with Norwegian-based EWOS, Jason retired from one of the world’s largest salmon feed producers.   Jason was Managing Director for the North American fish feed market.    In earlier roles, Jason developed the Quality Assurance program, led Plant Operations, was Research and Development Manager, and was responsible for Purchasing and Nutrition for over fifteen years.

Jason joined EWOS in 1987 after studying Animal Nutrition at UBC’s Faculty of Agriculture and obtaining his B.Sc. (Agr) and M.Sc. in Protein Chemistry.

Jason’s keen personal interest is to help in the growth of a domestic seafood farming sector based in the USA.   Today, only 9% of total consumed seafood is produced in the USA while over 90% is imported.

A key objective is to apply practical skills from fish nutrition, adopt practical farming practices learned and combine this with better utilization of local feed ingredients/co-products made by allied food industries (rendered and plant-based) to play a key part in this home-grown expansion.

Jason was born on Vancouver Island and now lives near Vancouver BC.

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.

Josiah McClellan

Vegetable Oils Forum

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

Walton Room 

Josiah McClellan, Director of Food Market Issues and Sustainability for the United Soybean Board (USB), leads USB’s sustainability strategy both inside the farm gate and through industry and value chain partnerships. He is responsible for setting research priorities, measuring sustainability performance, and developing sustainable sourcing programs. McClellan has 15 years of experience in consulting Fortune 500 companies on business sustainability and continuous improvement. He has written articles on business sustainability strategies for Sustainable Brands, The Public Relations Strategist, and Marketing Daily.

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 Senior Manager, North America Responsible Sourcing at Kellogg Company, Mary leads the execution and alignment of responsible sourcing programs and reporting for Kellogg North America. Her work focuses on grower engagement projects and Kellogg’s commitments to responsibly source ingredients, climate smart agriculture, and supply chain social responsibility. Prior to her current role, Mary was Global Sustainability Manager at Kellogg leading global implementation of Kellogg Responsible Sourcing Commitments and programs. Previously, 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.

John Cusick

Biofuels Forum

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

Grand Ballroom

John Cusick represents RBF Port Neches TX the US’s largest biodiesel production facility. With a team of colleagues brought together from past trading teams they are presently working on developing the US domestic market for RBF, providing RFS2 compliance solutions to Major Oil Companies. Previously, John ran the renewables fuels trading activity for Glencore LTD, one of the largest global commodities companies in the world. Prior to this post he was a Vice President at Morgan Stanley Capital Group Inc. responsible for global biodiesel trading and business development for the commodity-trading desk in New York. In addition he worked as the North American Biodiesel Trader for Trafigura AG.  John started his career with 10 years of tanker chartering and operations experience gained at Tankship International. Initially entering the space with Biodiesel Trade and Transport, a consulting group working with emerging biodiesel companies on site development, logistics and feedstock risk management John has provided his expertise to many of the present biodiesel companies in the space. Including previous roles as Director of Trade Management overseeing trading, chartering and logistics for both Imperium Renewables and RBF Port Neches the two largest Biodiesel production facilities in the US.


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.

Charles R. Bertsch

Industry Panel Discussion

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

Grand Ballroom

Charles R. Bertsch is the Assistant Deputy Administrator in the Office of Agreements and Scientific Affairs in USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).  In this job he oversees divisions that negotiate, implement and enforce free trade agreements, that address specific animal health and plant health barriers to trade, and that negotiate multilateral trade agreements.  Previously, from 2007 to 2015, he directed the Bilateral Agreements and Enforcement Division charged with coordinating negotiating support on trade initiatives such as Free Trade Agreements and World Trade Organization (WTO) accessions and with ensuring that trading partners abide by their agricultural trade obligations.

Before that, he directed the Multilateral Negotiations and Agreements Division from 2006 to 2007, supporting World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations as well as coordinating USDA participation in international organizations, such as the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).  From 2000 to 2006 he was Deputy Director to the Multilateral Trade Negotiations Division, which supported the WTO Doha Round negotiations as well as monitored other countries’ WTO agricultural trade commitments.  During that period, Bertsch served as USDA’s lead negotiator for the Andean free trade agreement which led to trade promotion agreements with Colombia and Peru.

Bertsch earned his master’s degree from Cornell University and his bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan.  Bertsch is married with three children.

Michael Gruber

Industry Panel Discussion

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

Grand Ballroom

Michael Gruber joined the Grocery Manufacturers Association in 2012 and serves as senior vice president of federal affairs. Gruber covers food safety, product labeling, chemicals management and appropriations issues for GMA.  In 2014, he directed successful campaigns opposing mandatory GMO labeling ballot measures in Oregon and Colorado. In addition he assembled the grassroots and campaign management team for the Coalition for Safe and Affordable Food that successfully enacted a law establishing a national biotechnology disclosure standard.

Prior to his arrival at GMA, he was a senior policy adviser to the House Committee on Energy & Commerce where he coordinated budget matters with the Congressional Budget Office, House Committee on Appropriations, and House Leadership.  Gruber served for several years as chief of staff, appropriations associate staff, and legislative director to Representative Tom Latham (R-Iowa). Mike began his time in D.C. working for Rep. George R. Nethercutt Jr. (R-WA) after helping defeat Speaker of the House, Tom Foley, in 1994.                                   

Dr. Gabriele Onorato

Industry Panel Discussion

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

Grand Ballroom

Principal, Agronomy

Dr. Onorato, an agronomics specialist, managed the largest contiguous farming operation east of the Mississippi and has had direct farming experience for agricultural lands on multiple continents.  Dr. Onorato is an expert at maximizing farm returns and minimizing risk through combining direct farming with various rent structures on a single property.  He is also an expert in farm management and is a Certified Professional Agricultural Engineer, a Certified Crop Advisor, and a licensed Crop Consultant.  Dr. Onorato is a member of various state and national agricultural societies and associations, and is on the Integrated Pest Management committee at North Carolina State University.   A frequent lecturer at agricultural and farm management seminars, he has published multiple articles in trade publications pertaining to advanced farm management techniques.  Dr. Onorato has consulted on large agricultural projects in the U.S., Russia, Argentina and Italy.  Fluent in English, Spanish and Italian, he holds a Doctorate degree in Agricultural Science, Summa Cum Laude, from University of Sassari, Italy.



Thank you to the 2017 AFOA Annual Meeting Sponsors


Top Sponsor:


Coffee Sponsor:

Gold Level:















Silver Level:

Agri Trading Corporation

American Proteins, Inc.

D.A. Lorentzen, Inc.

Kinder Morgan’s Delta Terminal

Mendota Agri-Products Inc.

MPB Commodities, Inc.

Oilseeds International, Ltd.

Quincannon Associates, Inc.

Renewable Biofuels

South Chicago Packing

Sunbelt Commodities, Inc.

Victory Tropical Oil USA, Inc.

Table Sponsors:

Hudson Tank Terminals Corporation

Victory Tropical Oil USA, Inc.

Phone: 1-803-252-7128