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Prominent Ag Export and Supply Chain Leader Keynotes Export Exchange 2018

September 5, 2018


With a cadre of high-profile speakers confirmed, the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), Growth Energy, and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) are pleased to announce that Roger Watchorn, group leader at Cargill Agriculture Supply Chain North America (CASCNA), will be the keynote speaker for Export Exchange 2018 next month. Held every other year and sponsored by USGC, RFA, and Growth Energy, Export Exchange brings together international buyers and U.S. sellers of distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS), as well as other feed grain products. The Oct. 22-24 conference in Minneapolis is expected to attract nearly 500 attendees, including 200 from 30 countries participating as part of USGC trade teams. Watchorn and his team are responsible for setting the culture and strategic direction for the domestic and export grain, oilseed processing, crop inputs, biodiesel, and Cargill Marine & Terminals businesses in Canada, the United States, and Mexico. His remarks will focus on the achievements and challenges of the supply chain for U.S. coarse grains and co-products in today's trade environment. "Mr. Watchorn will bring a fresh perspective to Export Exchange, on the burgeoning international grains market and the trends and future of it from the supply chain perspective," said U.S. Grains Council Chairman Jim Stitzlein. "We look forward to hosting him and getting his unique insight into the industry." Previously, Watchorn was president and business unit leader for Cargill's Grain & Oilseed Supply Chain in North America (GOSCNA) and held various merchandising and management positions with GOSCNA in western Canada, North Dakota, and Kansas before joining the company's animal nutrition division in Warsaw, Poland in 2008. "DDGs and other co-products are a vitally important part of the global feed market and provide a value-added market for the U.S. ethanol industry," said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. "In fact, nearly one out of every three tons of distillers grains produced last year was exported. The Export Exchange will help connect producers and marketers of these co-products with users around the globe." "I look forward to welcoming Mr. Watchorn to this year's Export Exchange," said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. "With the current trade restrictions and farm income downturn, opening new international and domestic markets is critical to our industry. Mr. Watchorn's unique experience in global exports and supply-chain building as well as perspective on the path forward for grains and co-products like DDGS will be sure to capture the attention of this year's attendees." Speakers at Export Exchange will address critical issues facing U.S. agricultural exports, offering the customers and sellers in attendance an increased awareness of the benefits of U.S. coarse grains and co-products, including DDGS. The conference's speaker line-up will also include the following confirmed, high-caliber speakers focused on the status of U.S. coarse grains and co-products, including DDGS and ethanol:

  • Dr. Robert Johansson – USDA Chief Economist, will speak about the USDA's 10-year outlook for coarse grains.
  • Florentino Lopez – United Sorghum Checkoff Program Executive Director, will review the current status of the sorghum industry.
  • Kelly Davis – Vice President, Regulatory Affairs, Renewable Fuels Association, will discuss the importance of food safety plans in a session entitled Food Safety Regulations for Manufacturers of DDGS.
  • Phil Smith – Nutritionist, Tyson Foods, will share the latest news on DDGS nutrition, feed formulation, and research.
  • Bill Holbrook, Senior Analyst, ProExporter, will give an update on the production supply and demand of U.S. DDGS in a session called DDGS Outlook, Challenges, and Opportunities
  More information about ExEx 2018, including registration details, is available at or on social media using the hashtag #ExEx18. Members of the media covering the grain trade and ethanol industries can request waived registration for the conference via the registration process. Those interested in receiving conference updates should send an email to [email protected].