The U.S. Grains Council Adds Two Valuable Recruits

Please join the Council in welcoming its two newest hires Heidi Bringenberg and Vivian Liu. Heidi Bringenberg joins the USGC Washington, D.C., office as the new international operations coordinator. In this capacity, Bringenberg will assist with the organization of international programs, including strategic analysis, program planning and development, implementation and evaluation, and the recruitment of program consultants.

Farewell to Ashley Kongs

Ashley Kongs, U.S. Grains Council international operations coordinator, has accepted a new position with Congressional Quarterly/Roll Call. Ashley started with the Council in June 2011 and has been an outstanding member of the Council's team. During her time with the Council, Ashley coordinated all aspects of trade team travel, including logistics, briefing documents and itineraries. Most recently, she helped coordinate preparation and changes to the annual USGC marketing plan submitted to USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service.

USGC Membership Services Gets Revamped

To meet the evolving and expanding demands of our membership, the Council is excited to announce Lyndsey Erb-Sharkey's position with the Council has been reclassified to manager of membership. Lyndsey's responsibilities will be fully committed to member recruitment, retention and maintaining checkoff and agribusiness relations.

This repositioning will allow the Council to better manage, expand and optimize our membership base and funding.

Council Recognizes International Director of 34 Years

Traveling more than 1 million miles across the globe, Michael T. Callahan spent more than 34 years with one mission in mind: developing and defending export markets for U.S. coarse grains and co-products in Asia. Callahan began working for the U.S. Grains Council in 1978 as the regional director of Southeast Asia in Singapore. In 1981, Mike was brought back to Washington, D.C. as international program director for Asia and Latin America. For a brief period, the region was split and Mike covered Latin America for the Council.

Council Attends Commodity Classic

Projections of record-setting attendance numbers exceeded expectations as over 6,000 farmers, member associations, agribusinesses and media descended on the 2012 Commodity Classic in Nashville, Tenn. today. Hosted by the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), American Soybean Association (ASA), National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and National Sorghum Producers (NSP), the Commodity Classic is an annual convention and trade show where conference participants network with top industry leaders to discuss and develop current policy challenges on a variety of issues.

aT Grain Company (AGC) joins Council as New Member

The Council's Board of Directors approved the aT Grain Company (AGC) as a new member during the Council's 9th International Marketing Conference and 52nd Annual Membership Meeting in Panama City, Panama. Based in Chicago, aT Grain Company (AGC) is a grain and feed exporter of corn, soybeans and wheat. The company specializes in grain merchandising and grain storage and handling, as well as value-enhanced (non-GMO) grains.

U.S. Grains Council Debuts Online Annual Report

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 1, 2012 — In order to provide additional features and content, the U.S. Grains Council created an online version of its annual report that is available now at

The online report includes success stories from the year, video highlights and market profiles from more than 25 countries and regions. Market profile pages display supply/demand charts, market growth potential and other information viewers may find useful, including highlights from Council programs in each country.

Council Welcomes Two New Faces to its Staff in Washington D.C.

Jon Weiss

In addition to the upcoming office move, collocating with NCGA’s Washington staff, the U.S. Grains Council has brought on board two staff members whose talent and skills will be recognized assets as the Council enters the new year. Along with Andrew Conner, new USGC manager of global biotechnology who joined Council on Nov. 28, Jon Weiss and Wendie Cable have also recently started.

Get Your Passport for Panama Now

If you plan to attend the U.S. Grains Council 9th International Marketing Conference and 52nd Annual Membership Meeting in Panama City, Panama, Feb. 13-15, 2012, you must have an up-to-date passport. If your passport expires before August 2012, now is the time to start the process of renewing it. Please visit the State Department website, for information on obtaining or renewing a passport. Also, if you plan to bring a minor child or grandchild, go to the website for information on the documentation needed.