Fly-in Continues to be Good Investment

By Tom Cook, President, National Renderers Association

The National Renderers Association (NRA) conducted its seventh annual Congressional Fly-In in June and by all accounts, it was a success. The turnout and participation from renderers were up from previous years. The industry’s issues were timely with what was being considered in the House and Senate. Most all of the congressional visits were positive with members or their staffs anxious to learn about the industry and its issues.

When NRA held its first fly-in seven years ago, I commented that it was an investment in the industry’s future. One, two, or even three fly-ins wouldn’t be enough to measure any success, but that the success of the fly-ins would be cumulative with each year adding to the previous year. A solid core of renderers and NRA member companies have participated in all of the fly-ins with others joining the ranks, particularly this past year.

Energy legislation was under consideration during this year’s fly-in. We took advantage of the situation and made the industry’s position known. Our advice was sought by the author of an amendment that would clearly benefit the rendering industry, and steps were taken to extend several of the tax incentive programs with rendered products included. Final energy legislation is far from over, but as it progresses through the legislative process, the NRA will continue to make sure renderers’ interests are addressed favorably. The visits and contacts renderers made during the fly-in will make that task easier. It is safe to say the rendering industry has a presence in the right places in Congress. The investment is paying off.

Overseas Changes
On another subject, Neville Chandler, who has so ably represented North American rendering interests in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa for 17 years, is retiring this summer and returning to his native Australia. We will miss him very much, but wish him the best in his future endeavors.

With his departure, the NRA International Market Development Committee (IMDC) reviewed the status of the London office and continuation of activities in that area. The NRA Board of Directors has approved the following recommendations from the IMDC:

• Close the London office and explore representation in Brussels, Belgium, to monitor European Union regulations in regards to animal by-products and to represent the NRA interests in a growing biofuels market;

• Review market opportunities for representation in Southeast Asia – particularly Thailand, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Vietnam;

• Review current consulting arrangements in Turkey and Russia;

• Move the management of the NRA Web site to the Alexandria, VA, office. In addition, the Bulletin will be phased out and Render magazine will expand its international coverage and circulation.

The bottom line is that we want to continue the good work that Neville was doing while exploring other marketing opportunities to utilize our resources to the maximum.

Convention Time
All renderers should make plans to come to Miami this fall. The 74th Annual NRA Convention is shaping up to be another great opportunity for renderers to meet, do the association’s business, participate in informational and educational programs, and socialize.

This year’s convention is in South Beach, Miami Beach, FL, October 23-26, 2007. The Fats and Proteins Research Foundation will also be meeting in conjunction with the NRA meetings.

The annual convention has several high points for attendees. We strive to bring the best speakers possible to inform and entertain and this year is no exception. Max Armstrong, the featured luncheon speaker, is an internationally recognized agricultural journalist who will share his experiences and insights as he covers the news in American agriculture every day. Jay Lehr, the keynote speaker at the opening general session, is widely recognized for his ability to assess the current state of affairs, relate it to future trends, and put things in their proper perspective.

Dr. John Lawrence, director of the Iowa Beef Center at Iowa State University, will be the lead speaker for the industry forum. He will provide an overview of current and future developments in the livestock industry as well as share his thoughts on the biofuels industry. Other speakers at the industry forum will address such topics as legislation, trade, and agro terrorism.

An ever increasingly important part of the annual convention is the committee meetings where association positions and policies are developed. Key policy committees are the Environmental, the Legislative, and the new Biofuels Committees.

We are expecting the tabletop reception to again be a highlight of the convention. Early indications are there will be a large number of exhibitors.

I was told many years ago by an NRA member who regularly attends the conventions that attendance could best be predicted by market prices and a good venue. Well, there isn’t much I have to say about the current market, I will let it speak for itself. Miami, South Beach, is a new venue for us, but from what I hear, it is unique and will offer convention goers a wide variety of activities to enjoy.

See you in South Beach.

From the Association – August 2007 RENDER | back