The Midwest Shippers Assn. (MSA) and the Northern Food Grade Soybean Assn. (NFGSA) have consolidated to form the Specialty Soya & Grains Alliance (SSGA), effective immediately.
“Selling ag commodities globally continues to be increasingly more difficult,” said Tom Slunecka, chief executive officer for Ag Management Solutions (AMS), which will handle management of SSGA. “It’s important to have a strong, focused organization that has the resources necessary to compete with other global entities. The consolidation of NFGSA and MSA will position SSGA as the market leader in the global food industry.”
SSGA represents producers, processors, shippers and industry members of identity-preserved (IP) soybeans and specialty grains from coast to coast. SSGA’s board will be comprised of directors from the two former boards; its members include specialty grains and IP soybean producers, processors, genetic/seed providers, export traders, international export companies and qualified state soybean boards.
“One of the most vital pieces of selling specialty soya and grains is to have a strong and flexible transportation system,” said SSGA board member Andy Bensend, a Wisconsin farmer who formerly served as MSA chair. “We’re excited for our SSGA members coast to coast. This consolidation will allow us to provide the production, processing and shipping resources our members need while maximizing the efficiencies of our two boards.”
Bob Sinner, NFGSA vice chairman prior to consolidation, said the time was right for the two organizations to join together.
“In order for farmers to have successful options to grow and sell value-added crops, it’s vital that this new organization be focused on helping our members both expand and find new markets while at the same time assisting our customers’ ability to access our products more efficiently,” said Sinner, president of North Dakota-based SB&B Foods Inc. “SSGA is committed to providing the resources necessary for our members to thrive and for our customers to easily find those high-quality products.”
SSGA received a $1.5 million Agricultural Trade Promotion grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to begin operations. This one-time opportunity was created as part of the larger Trade Mitigation Program, which President Donald Trump and USDA crafted to help farmers hurt by the trade war with China.
“Aided by the grant from USDA, SSGA will begin the process of creating a new electronic marketplace that will communicate to buyers around the globe in ways that have never been done before,” Slunecka said.