Tilstra, Barlow See Unique Council Strengths

Long-serving delegates to the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) are quick to share the Council's strengths. After 15 years, Harold Tilstra of Purina Animal Nutrition LLC, said he sees the Council's focus on exports as key.

"So many organizations have all kinds of diverse political agendas," he explains. "Once you understand how the Council works, you figure out that this is not the organization where you bring those agendas. You're here because you believe in the importance of promoting and servicing exports. That single focus helps our functionality."

Todd Barlow, with over 20 years first at the Kentucky Corn Promotion Council and now Syngenta, praised the Council's use of in-country staff to advance its programs.

"I just think the Council's model of in-country offices has a tremendous advantage. It provides the right balance of sending our people overseas to exchange experiences," Barlow said.

"Exports are just as important today as in 1992 when I started with the Council. I think the model the Council has is still vital and right on target. It's all about exports, and the Council has been flexible in moving into new opportunities like distiller' dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and ethanol."

Barlow also praises the Council for transparency in showing growers the importance of exports and for exposing them to the challenge from foreign competition. Like Barlow, Tilstra, who was at the first-ever Council meeting to discuss DDGS promotion, cites the importance of the Council's DDGS and ethanol efforts.

"I've seen that develop into a very successful promotion program. In my personal opinion, successful maintenance and growth of both DDGS and ethanol exports is going to be critical to the ongoing growth of the U.S. ethanol industry," he said.