For a decade, Larry Klever has shared his farming story with overseas customers and the needs of those customers with neighbors back home in Iowa as a delegate to the U.S. Grains Council (USGC).
The Council recognized Klever for 10 years of service during the organization’s 15th International Marketing Conference and 58th Annual Membership Meeting in Houston, Texas.
Klever was first exposed to the Council as part of Iowa Corn’s leadership program. He later ran for the Iowa Corn Promotion Board and was elected, eventually becoming an official delegate to the Council in 2008. He applied for the Value-Added Advisory Team (A-Team) and now serves on the Asia A-Team.
As a member of this advisory group, Klever said he’s found excellent opportunities to dig into markets and issues.
“It is our chance to learn what we are doing in the organization as a whole, and I think the staff always appreciates our comments and our concerns,” Klever said. “Exports are where it’s at.”
“We have great consumer demand for our products at home, but it is our exports that put the top end on our markets.”
While Klever emphasized the importance of exports, he also recognized that the Council’s work is often hard for neighbors and friends to fully comprehend.
“They understand better promoting the product at home, but a lot of them are unaware the Council existed,” he said. “To tell them what we do – they all find it very interesting, and it is a learning experience when you talk to them about the Council.”
Klever got some of his education about the Council’s work firsthand. He traveled to Japan, Taiwan and China during the Council’s 2010 Corn Mission, which presented the first corn quality report. Fellow farmers from Illinois, Indiana and Missouri also participated.
“It was good timing because the 2009 crop in the United States was kind of wet and did not store as well as normal,” Klever said. “So 2010 was a great crop and we were able to go over and tell our customers our quality was really good that year. It was a crop that we were proud of – so it was nice to go over and advertise.”
Klever reported the international customers with which the group met were welcoming and interested in what they had to say, including wanting to see pictures of their farming operation. As a result, Klever said the group had a positive impact reflective of the success of the Council’s work in every market.
“As a whole, the Council is a good feeling because we need exports,” Klever said. “And the Council is the backbone of doing that – expanding markets and maintaining markets – and it is great to be a part of that work.”
“I am proud to be a part of the Council. It is a great organization and I am proud to be associated with it.”
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.