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Three U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC’s) delegates – Randy Ives of Gavilon; Ray Defenbaugh of Big River Resources; and Stan Garbacz from the Nebraska Department of Agriculture – were honored for 10 years of service to the organization at its 55th Annual Board of Delegates Meeting this week in Montreal, Canada.
Asked about their experiences with the Council, the three told different stories but were unanimous in recognizing its value.
The highlight for Ives has been seeing the ethanol industry come together to meet challenges from antidumping cases to biotechnology acceptance.
“The Council has played a very, very exceptional role as we’ve taken distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) exports from a million short tons to four million and now to nearly 10 million tons,” Ives said.
“A great accomplishment in the last four to five years was educating consumers, end-users and U.S. marketers so we maintained our customer base as DDGS have changed.”
Garbacz said he sees the Council’s work in China as a major achievement.
“China was actually a major corn exporting country when the Council began programs in the country,” Garbacz said. “The Council not only found demand in China for U.S. corn but it also hired people to show the Chinese how to use corn in livestock feed. That brought China to the point where it was importing U.S. corn.”
Working with the Council in China also helped Nebraska promote exports of swine genetics, according to Garbacz.
That produced a double benefit.
“If you’re producing more swine, you need more genetics and with more livestock, you need more livestock feed such as corn,” he explained.
For Defenbaugh, whose company was the first ethanol plant to join the Council, ethanol promotion is a big Council story.
“I encourage anyone in the ethanol industry to have a Council membership,” he said. “Look at how the Council promotes DDGS overseas and how that market has changed with their help. And now they’re promoting ethanol.”
The Council, he concluded, “is an excellent organization for promoting rural America through the enhancement of exports. That is good if you live in rural America and are involved in agriculture.”
Garbacz emphasized the need to continue the Council’s work: “You’ve got to stay on top of markets, especially with the volatility in some countries. The Council has people in every region of the world providing us information that we can analyze so we know what we need to do to compete.”