After 30 Years With USGC, Gary Marshall Still Looks Ahead

As the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) honors him for 30 years of involvement, Missouri Corn Merchandising Council Chief Executive Officer Gary Marshall shows he's still looking to the future.

"I think we're on the threshold of blowing open the international market for ethanol – we're in the vanguard of a new market the Council helped create," Marshall said when asked to reflect on USGC and his long tenure with the organization.

"That's a huge thing...we're selling products like distillers grains and ethanol. If we didn't have those export markets, the U.S. ethanol industry would be in very poor shape today."

Marshall likes to think he had something to do with the Council's move into value-added programs, remembering his four years on the Council's board of directors.

"There were some long night discussions at board meetings to convince people that we ought to move into those areas, and now that effort is coming to fruition," he said when asked to reflect on his long tenure.

Marshall's three decades of involvement have seen other USGC changes, including the decision to co-locate the USGC and National Corn Growers Association's Washington offices, a move he said he thinks was fantastic.

Still, he comes back to the ongoing importance of bringing foreign trade teams to the U.S. and improving U.S. farmers' understanding of what it takes to build markets.

"What we do in hosting teams is absolutely essential," Marshall said. "They need to see how our farmers are growing the corn. They need to see the quality. They need to see how the U.S. system works."

Marshall sees a reciprocal benefit when the Council takes U.S. growers and state staff overseas.

"If you have a chance to get out and see those world markets, you have to do it to understand how they work, how everything has to come together. It gives a perspective on all the components from the time our farmers grow the commodity, how it's shipped and then how it gets distributed once it lands in a country," he said. "It also gives a very good perspective on what the Council does."