US Grains Council kicks off winter membership meeting, focuses on trade policy and market development
Members, delegates and global staff representatives from the U.S. Grains Council recently gathered in Houston, Texas, for the organization’s 15th International Marketing Conference and 58th Annual Membership Meeting.
“At this meeting, we gather with friends, old and new, to discuss issues facing our industry as well as future demand for feed grains and their co-products around the world,” said Deb Keller, USGC chairman and a grain farmer from Iowa. “We have work to do, lessons to learn from our speakers and new frontiers to explore as we expand export opportunities.”
Ted McKinney, under secretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, addressed the group during general session.
He was joined by other prestigious speakers including Mark Slupek, deputy administrator of the Office of Trade Programs at the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service; Deen Kaplan, partner in leading international trade firm Hogan Lovells; and Professor Harry Kaiser, economist at Cornell University, who has recently completed research on the return on investment of Council market development programs.
USGC advisory teams and commodity sectors also met to contribute to the Council’s global trade strategy for the coming year and all delegates participated in a business meeting.
Throughout the sessions, USGC staff from around the world spoke on issues specific to their respective markets during panel presentations as well as one-on-one with delegates and members. The interaction between international staff and USGC members and delegates was a crucial component of the winter membership meeting.
“Our members are the heart of the Council, guiding the work of USGC leadership and staff,” Keller said. “This meeting allows us to share the important trade work happening around the world with colleagues and neighbors as well as what must be done to continue building global demand and capturing market share for U.S. coarse grains and co-products.”