The Southwestern Fertilizer Conference (SWFC) is an IRS-designated 501(c)(6) non-profit trade association established in 1925, originally as a fertilizer grade hearing for Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana. With the introduction of dealer blending and liquid fertilizer in the 50’s, the emphasis on the grade hearing aspect of the conference waned. Industry, however, continued to use the conference as an opportunity to maintain business relationships. It kept its regional emphasis until the 1980’s, when other geographic interests gained notice. Attendance grew rapidly each year after that, mostly from word-of-mouth promotion. You could say that “everyone is there because everyone is there.
Hosted by the association, the annual conference, “The Southwest” as it is often referred to within the industry, has allowed it to evolve into a meeting of great prominence for the fertilizer industry, and is one of the largest gatherings of professionals involved in the fertilizer industry in the world. This conference attracts upper-level management and sales personnel representing fertilizer manufacturers, distributors, brokers and dealers. The SWFC is governed by volunteer leaders and an Executive Committee who are elected by the membership annually. Their duties are guided by the efforts of the Planning Committee. Any participant of the SWFC is welcome to volunteer to participate – contact the association office for more details.
The established purpose of the meeting is educational. Top-notch industry speakers present at each conference. The areas generally addressed are fertilizer and agricultural economy, governmental affairs issues directly impacting the industry, a prominent industry CEO, and the primary issue affecting the industry at the time. However, networking is probably considered the main attraction for most of the attendees.
The SWFC’s success allows it to provide substantial scholarships, grants and research funding for the industry. To date, the association has paid out over $170,000 in donations to charitable organizations that serve or support the agriculture community.
About the Fertilizer Industry
America’s fertilizer businesses are part of a multi-billion dollar industry that provides farmers with the nutrients necessary for them to produce crops to meet the world's demand for food, feed, fiber and fuel. These nutrients include phosphorus, nitrogen and other essential elements that promote the health and sustainability of the soil.
Each year, the success of the Southwestern Fertilizer Conference enables the association to contribute substantial scholarships, grants and research funding to agriculture- and food-related charitable organizations. To date, the association has paid out over $215,000 in donations to organizations that have included the Nutrients for Life Foundation and the Fluid Fertilizer Foundation, among others. Contact the SWFC office (512-259-2118) for more information.
2017 Executive Committee
- Executive Committee Chairman
Brooke McMullin, International Raw Materials, Philadelphia PA
- Immediate Past Executive Committee Chairman
Doug Stevens, Equalizer Inc., Waco TX
- 2nd Immediate Past Executive
Frank Edwards, United Services Assn, Urbandale IA
- 3rd Immediate Past Executive Committee Chairman
Howard West, Simplot Growers Solutions, Hempstead TX
- 4th Immediate Past Executive Committee Chairman
Toby Hlavinka, American Plant Food Corp., Galena Park TX
Scott Piercy, Poole Chemical Co., Inc., Lubbock TX
- Finance Committee Member
David Fritzsche, CF Industries, Deerfield IL
- Finance Committee Member
Don Barry, AM-AG LLC, Edinburg TX
- Local Arrangements Committee
Ron Garner, Martin Resources, Kilgore TX
- General Conference Chairman
Bart Hunt, PotashCorp, Shawnee KS
- Executive Director
Pat Miller, SWFC, Cedar Park TX
- Program Committee Chairman (ex officio)
Larry Jayroe, ADM, Forrest City AR
2018 Committee Chairs
Selects, contacts and arranges for conference speakers at the Annual Conference.
Chair - Larry Jayroe, ADM, Forrest City AR
Responsible for planning the Spouse Program held during the Annual Convention. Composed ONLY of spouses of members of the current Executive Committee.
This is a permanent committee, per the bylaws. Manages all the financial affairs for the association, including bill payments and budgets.
Chair – Scott Piercy, Poole Chemical Co., Lubbock TX
Hall of Fame
Determines the criteria and selection(s) for the annual Hall of Fame Awards, which is a program designed to recognize those individuals that have significantly affected the fertilizer industry, both past and present.
Chair - David Fritzsche, CF Industries, Deerfield IL
Assists the Executive Director in planning the hotel functions for the Annual Convention and makes site selection recommendations for future conferences to the Executive Committee.
Chair - Ron Garner, Martin Resources, Kilgore TX
This is a permanent committee, per the bylaws. Suggests a nomination for the Program Committee Chair, to be reviewed and approved by the Executive Committee when meeting during the Planning Committee Meeting and to be voted upon at the Annual Business meeting during the Annual Conference.
Chair – Toby Hlavinka, American Plant Food Corp., Galena Park TX
Makes recommendations to the Executive Committee for consideration to fund industry-oriented programs.
Chair - Howard West, Simplot Grower Solutions, Hempstead TX
Researches, prepares and reports the necrology resolutions to the general membership during the Annual Conference luncheon.
Chair - Howard West, Simplot Growers Solutions, Hempstead TX
Establishes the criteria for the scholarship program and selects the recipients, per the guidelines established by the Executive Committee.
Chair - Gayle Rickard, Tyler TX
Makes suite and meeting room assignments for the Annual Conference based on the company's past conference participation and involvement.
Chair - Doug Stevens, Equalizer, Waco TX
Offers suggestions to the Executive Committee to guide the future of the organization. Only past members of the Executive Committee may serve on this committee.
Chair – Bob Stone, Occidental Chemical Co., Dallas TX
Young & New Professionals
Assists the Executive Director in planning and promoting an event to encourage networking among the professional women participating in the conference. The committee also assists the Program Committee.
Chair - Linda Hlavinka, Helena Chemical Company, East Bernard TX
Antitrust Compliance Policy
This Guide to Antitrust Compliance is designed to help SWFC members comply with state and federal antitrust laws when participating in SWFC meetings or activities.
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PO Box 339
Cedar Park, Texas 78630