Public Statements & Remarks

Opening Statement of Commissioner Dawn D. Stump Before the Agricultural Advisory Committee Meeting

June 09, 2021

Thank you all who have joined today’s virtual Agricultural Advisory Committee meeting.  I am very hopeful that 2021 will eventually allow us the opportunity to again meet together in person.  But as the Committee has some pressing business I am pleased that we are taking the opportunity to have these important conversations today from our various remote locations.

I’d like to begin by expressing how honored I am to sponsor the Ag Advisory Committee and how much I appreciate my fellow Commissioners supporting my request to do so.  This Committee was the CFTC’s first advisory committee and has been sponsored by many commissioners who I consider to be friends, worthy of admiration and tremendous respect, so I am today, delighted to be the custodian of this important committee.  Also, as many of you know, my roots are in agriculture and the many challenges and issues facing the sector are near and dear to my heart.

However, my excitement in sponsoring the AAC does not suggest that I’m any less excited about the other advisory committee I sponsor, the Global Markets Advisory Committee, also known as GMAC.  Quite the opposite.  I am very passionate about matters involving our markets globally and I continue to be honored and committed to the work and efforts of the GMAC.

At first glance, it may seem that these two advisory committees are vastly different.  One focused on international financial market structure and operations, and the other on our US-based farm economy and the use of our traditional commodity markets.  However, I see a great deal of synergy between the AAC and GMAC.  And hopefully after our presentations today from Owain Johnson and Fred Seamon from the CME Group and FIA’s Will Acworth, we will all have a better appreciation of that connection as it relates specifically to the global landscape of agricultural commodity markets.  I hope that looking at ag commodity markets with a global perspective will help to inform the work of the Committee in maintaining competitive and efficient agricultural futures markets here in the US.

Likewise, the US agricultural sector supports not only our domestic consumers, but feeds and clothe the entire world and we recently witness challenges to that task during the pandemic.  So today we have another panel to provide a glance into how some of the most heavily impacted agricultural sectors managed the uncertainties and significant supply chain disruptions during the pandemic.  We’ll hear from risk management leaders in dairy, pork and cottonall industries that contribute heavily to the US farm economy, but with supply chains that have a significant global footprint.  I am very grateful to have Christian Edmiston, Senior Director of Sourcing and Risk Management from Land O’Lakes, David Rossen Global Hedging Manager for Cotton at Louis Dreyfus Company, and Dhamu Thamodaran, former Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy Officer and Chief Commodity Hedging Officer for Smithfield Foods on the panel to share their insight with us today.  I believe this conversation will be the kick off to more discussions on how our commodity futures markets contribute to securing those goods that are so important to consumers today and always, but especially as we recover from the pandemic.

Last, but certainly not least, I am looking forward to hearing the full AAC discuss and consider the final recommendations offered by the Subcommittee to Evaluate Commission Policy with Respect to Implementation of Amendments to Enumerated Agricultural Futures Contracts with Open Interestmuch more easily spoken and commonly known as the Ag-OI Subcommittee.  This Subcommittee reflects months of hard work between various stakeholders to come up with a consensus-based approach to managing open interest when making changes to ag commodity contracts.  I sincerely appreciate all of the time and effort members of this subcommittee put into the report.  I know there were members who literally had to pull over their tractors in the field to jump on video conferences to ensure the report came together in a timely fashion.  A special thank you to Professor Joe Janzen from the University of Illinois’ Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics who served as the chair for this subcommittee.  Professor Janzen was the steady hand and driving force in completing the report and he did this work while being a full-time professor.  I would also note that Joe and his wife became parents again in the middle of this undertaking.  Understanding how crazy life can be with a newborn in the house, I cannot thank Professor Janzen enough for his dedication to this project and the final work product.

Given our full and fascinating agenda, I do not want to use up any more of our time today with my introductory remarks, but I do want to offer a special thanks to Summer Mersinger and Christa Lachenmayr for their tremendous efforts in organizing the Committee and Subcommittee, thanks to our speakers and presenters for sharing their valuable time with us, thanks to the subcommittee for their hard work on the report and finally thanks to the entire AAC for welcoming me as your sponsor.  Even though this may be a temporary arrangement, I am thrilled to have the opportunity.

With that, I will turn it over to Summer to facilitate opening remarks from my fellow commissioners.