Chip Councell, a past U.S. Grains Council (USGC) chairman and 10th generation farmer from Maryland, assumed the president role of MAIZALL – the international maize alliance – on July 1.
“We are operating in a changed world, but MAIZALL is at the forefront of discussions surrounding agricultural innovation,” Councell said. “I am especially excited to work with MAIZALL directors from the United States, Brazil and Argentina to deliver our shared message through both new platforms and traditional messaging.”
MAIZALL was established in 2013 by leaders from the Council, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), ABRAMILHO (Brazilian Association of Corn Producers) and MAIZAR (the Argentine corn and sorghum federation). Growers in all three countries, even though they are competitors, work to resolve shared problems with non-tariff barriers in global markets, primarily related to agricultural biotechnology, plant breeding innovation and crop protection.
MAIZALL’s farmer directors advocate for these innovations through position papers and discussions with private sector stakeholders, national government officials and officials from international organizations such as the European Union, the World Trade Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization. Additionally, MAIZALL directors often speak at international conferences where they can bring their practical farm experiences to the table.
“Chip’s long history of farming on the Chesapeake Bay, where strict environmental regulations are in place, will prove pivotal during a time when sustainability has taken center-stage around the world,” said Allison Nepveux, USGC manager of trade policy. “His ability to share personal experiences on how biotechnology and crop protection tools help his family meet environmental standards provide a compelling and current narrative on the important role of innovation.”
Councell and his family produce corn, wheat and soybeans on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and operate a farm stand selling local consumers a wide variety of produce including watermelons, sweet corn and pumpkins.
His work with the Council began in 2008 as a delegate for the Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board. He moved up through the ranks, serving on the Trade Policy Advisory Team (A-Team), then as the A-Team leader, corn sector chair and finally running for a spot on the USGC officer team, where he served as the organization’s chairman in 2016.
“Chip’s past leadership as USGC chairman and as a MAIZALL director have equipped him to build upon the successes of Brazil and Argentina’s recent MAIZALL presidents,” Nepveux said. “His creativity and resilience are well-suited to tackle the challenges of COVID-19 and to find relevant and meaningful ways to share the farmer’s voice with those who need to hear it most.”
About The U.S. Grains Council
The U.S. Grains Council develops export markets for U.S. barley, corn, sorghum and related products including distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and ethanol. With full-time presence in 28 locations, the Council operates programs in more than 50 countries and the European Union. The Council believes exports are vital to global economic development and to U.S. agriculture’s profitability. Detailed information about the Council and its programs is online at www.grains.org.