Christine Cochran, who graduated magna cum laude from the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources with a bachelor’s of science degree in agricultural economics, has been named president of the Commodity Markets Council in Washington, D.C.
Succeeding Mike Walter in the top staff post, Cochran most recently was vice-president of government relations at CMC. In her new position, she will lead the council in its mission to represent leading commodity-related businesses in the grains, energy, metals and livestock industry and to “advocate for free, open and robust markets,” the group said.
“Christine’s tenure with the organization and excellent track record will prove to be invaluable for CMC as we continue to articulate our competitive markets platform and meet the needs of our expanding and increasingly diversified membership base,” said Thomas Erickson, chairman of CMC and vice-president, government affairs, of Bunge.
“Since my days in CAFNR, the intersection of business and policy has intrigued me,” Cochran said. “I studied agricultural economics and went on to law school, so working on policy related to futures and options trading was the exact opportunity I sought.”
CMC represents industry issues focusing on agriculture, energy, finance, metals, transportation and infrastructure. Its membership includes derivatives exchanges, domestic and multi-national commodity merchandisers, processors, bioenergy producers, futures commission merchants, and food and beverage manufacturers.
“Christine was my favorite all time student,” said Michael Cook, the Robert D. Partridge Chair in Cooperative Leadership. “Her father was the editor of the Joplin newspaper. She advised both of our sons when they were at Georgetown. We have remained in touch and she often solicits intern name suggestions. For anyone in our grain work she is an excellent contact.”
Cochran said she left CAFNR with more skills and experiences than I could appreciate at the time.
“As a student, CAFNR provided a lot of flexibility in course selection,” she said. “Learning to make choices that affect my career path through customized studies has been a tremendous asset as a professional. Taking courses that fostered independent study and writing helped prepare me for the rigorous of managing my own workload and innovating in the workplace. Study abroad programs widened my horizons and helped me develop a more global perspective. Taking leadership opportunities prepared me for the responsibility that goes along with increasing professional growth.”
Cochran sees several significant trends are occurring in commodities that will be important for the next five years. “Multiple factors are prompting unparalleled transformation in the commodity markets,” she commented. “Some of these factors include, globalization of commodity exchanges, the role of new market participants like financial hedgers, growing global demand for agricultural commodities, competition for acreage and rising costs of transportation.”
Cochran expects to face a number of challenges during her tenure. “Over the years, international trade has been a positive for American producers,” she said. “It is unfortunate that a pro-trade agenda is not a priority for the current Administration and that looks unlikely to change in the next couple of years. While the probability of free trade agreements continues to diminish, American producers should also be concerned with the growing use of sanitary and phytosanitary regulations to inhibit international trade.”
In addition to her work at CMC, Cochran is co-chairman of the agriculture section for Women in International Trade and coordinator for the Alliance of Agricultural Growth and Competitiveness.
“I am fortunate to have a job that I truly enjoy,” Cochran said. “There are many aspects that encourage me. I enjoy working with substantive policy that directly impacts business. I enjoy having the opportunity to learn from and work with some the best minds in the futures trading industry. I enjoy bringing together industry competitors around a common cause.”