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HighQuest Partners Announces Soyatech’s Soya & Oilseed Summit 2008 Outcomes (10.1.2008)

HighQuest Partners Announces Soyatech’s Soya & Oilseed Summit 2008 Outcomes

Addresses by Former Iowa Governor Thomas Vilsack, USDA Under Secretary Gale Buchanan Highlight Event

BAR HARBOR, ME, October 1, 2008 – The issue of sustainability took center stage at Soyatech’s “Soya & Oilseed Summit 2008: Growing Sustainable Opportunities in Global Agribusiness,” held September 17-19 in St. Louis, Missouri.

The third annual event in this series, Soya and Oilseed Summit 2008 explored a range of timely topics, including the impact of demand for food and fuel on oilseed supply and prices, the impact of government policies and international trade negotiations on the global trade of oilseeds and strategies to help food and energy producers enhance their operating margins.  The conference drew several hundred leaders in agribusiness, the food industry, public policy, financial services and academia, with attendees coming from throughout the United States as well as Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, India, Japan, Russia and Sweden. 

Featured speakers included Dr. Gale Buchanan, USDA Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics, and former Iowa governor and recent Presidential hopeful Thomas Vilsack, who now serves as Of Counsel in the Trial Group at Dorsey & Whitney, LLP. 

In his keynote address, Dr. Buchanan called achieving sustainable energy security “one of the four grand challenges for agriculture this century” while cautioning that, “There is a right and a wrong way to produce biofuels. We must consider sustainability every step of the way.  Biofuels have to make sense economically, environmentally and socially,” he said, citing the understanding of global climate change, water quality and availability, and food safety and security as the other grand challenges confronting agriculture.

Dr. Buchanan added, “In actuality, we need to fundamentally transform the way we produce and use energy. This means we must not only move away from fossil fuels but also dramatically improve energy efficiency and conservation. All of us – whether producers or consumers of agricultural products – need to be passionate about the business of creating this prosperous future.”

Buchanan also noted that USDA is also working toward ensuring the sustainability of biofuels is through the Biomass R&D Board, a U.S. government interagency coordination group. According to Buchanan, the board has completed a biofuels action plan that will be released Oct. 7.

In his remarks, Mr. Vilsack encouraged professionals engaged in biofuels and agriculture to proactively address perceptions that the rise in food prices is attributable to biofuels. “Don’t let consumers go to the store thinking, ‘the reason my milk and eggs are so expensive is because of biofuels’,” he said.

Vilsack also noted that there will be a value placed on carbon, and the agriculture industry would benefit by being part of the equation early.  “The Industrial Revolution increased worker productivity by ten times. Now we need to increase carbon efficiency by ten times,” he stated.

Other insights included those of Hunt Stookey, Managing Director and Partner of HighQuest Partners, whose presentation emphasized that agricultural commodities are in a whole new world.  "If ethanol blending is discretionary, acreage and yield are no longer relevant to the pricing of corn; all that matters is the price of crude oil. Mandates will drive the price of gasoline higher,” he commented.

Response to the Summit was extremely positive.  "It was a super conference, well done," noted Peter Goldsmith, Executive Director of the National Soybean Research Laboratory and a speaker at the Summit.

Other presenters included Javier Blas, Commodities Correspondent, Financial Times; Gary Blumenthal, President & CEO, World Perspectives, Inc.; Philippe de Lapérouse, Chair of the Summit and Director of HighQuest Partners’ Global Food and Biofuels practice; David Dzisiak, Commercial Leader for Oils, Dow AgroSciences; Jane Earley, Principal, Earley & White Consulting Group; Anne Frick, Senior Oilseed Analyst, Prudential-Bache Commodities; Peter Golbitz, Director of International Business Development, SunOpta Grains and Foods Group; Hiroshi Ito, Counselor, Mitsui & Co., Ltd.; Eric Jackson, CEO, Carbonless Promise; Moffatt & Nichol; Bill Lapp, President, Advanced Economic Solutions; David Lehman, Managing Director, Business Development, CME Group; Doug Root, Senior Scientist, Agriculture Utilization Research Institute; Mike Steenhoek, Executive Director, Soy Transportation Coalition; Jim Sutter, Vice President, Central Oilseed Processing Manager, Cargill North America; and Thomas Williamson, President, Transportation Consultants.

Sponsors for Soya and Oilseed Summit 2008 included Monsanto, HighQuest Partners, Missouri Partnership, CHS Inc., CME Group, Mitsui, QUALISOY, SunOpta, Solae, Cargill, AIG Landmark, Dow AgroSciences DuPont Pioneer, Soy Transportation Coalition, Twin Rivers Technologies and the U.S. Soybean Export Council.

Plans are already underway for the 2009 Summit, which will be held in Minneapolis on Oct. 7-9. More information about the 2008 and 2009 Summits is available at http://www.soyasummit.com, by email at soyasummit@soyatech.com, or by phone at 800.424.SOYA (7692), ext. 114.  

Soyatech (www.soyatech.com) assists companies in the food and agribusiness sector to assess and develop market opportunities through reports, events and publications. Founded in 1985, the company publishes the annual Soya & Oilseed Bluebook, the industry’s leading source of information on companies and products, an industry-focused email newsletter (in daily and weekly editions), and Soyatech.com, the award-winning business-to-business online resource for the industry. Soyatech’s information and news products and services are looked to by over 6,000 of the world’s largest agribusiness and biofuel companies in over 100 countries. In collaboration with its parent, HighQuest Partners, Soyatech advises leading companies on their growth, market penetration, and positioning strategies across the value chain.

For More Information Contact: Hadley Coonley (978)887-8800 email: hcoonley@highquestpartners.com   

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