Darren Armstrong, Past Chairman 2020, U.S. Grains Council
Darren Armstrong served as Chairman in 2020 for the U.S. Grains Council, a non-profit organization that promotes the global use of U.S. barley, corn, sorghum and related products including ethanol and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS). In this capacity, Armstrong served as member of the organization’s 15-person Board of Directors.
Armstrong grew up working on the family farm alongside his father and two brothers. He has been farming for more than 25 years in Hyde County, North Carolina and produces 8,500 acres of corn, soybeans and wheat on rotation. He received an associates degree from the Agricultural Institute of North Carolina State University, has completed industry leadership trainings, and has won the North Carolina Farm Bureau Discussion Meet as well as the North Carolina Farm Bureau Achievement Award.
He is a member of the Corn Growers of North Carolina. He previously served as the Council’s Trade Policy Advisory Team (A-Team) leader in 2015 and 2016.
Alan Tiemann, Past Chairman 2016, U.S. Grains Council
Alan Tiemann served chairman of the U.S. Grains Council, a non-profit organization that promotes the global use of U.S. barley, corn, sorghum and related products including ethanol and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS), in 2016. In this capacity, Tiemann was a member of the organization’s Board of Directors and core leadership team.
Tiemann is a fourth generation farmer from Seward, Nebraska, with more than 35 years of experience in production agriculture.
He has been a Council delegate for more than a decade and a member of the Nebraska Corn Board since 2005. He previously served on the Nebraska Grain Sorghum Board from 1997 to 2003.
Tiemann’s family includes his wife, Lori; a son, Brian; and a son, Dan, his wife, Casey, and granddaughter, Olivia.
Tiemann and his family have been awarded the Seward County’s outstanding farm family award, and Tiemann has received the public service to agriculture award from the Nebraska Agribusiness Club.
Dale Artho, Past Chairman 2008, U.S. Grains Council
Dale and Kathy Artho Farms operating in Deaf Smith, Oldham and Randall counties of the Texas Panhandle. The operation includes approximately 2000 acres of irrigated farmland, 3000 acres of dryland, and 1500 acres of native pastures and approximately 2000 acres of custom farming. Artho Farms crop production history includes grain sorghum, forage sorghum seed, forage sorghum hay and silage, corn for grain and silage, wheat, barley, soybeans, cotton, sugar beets, vegetables and beef cattle.
Eldon Gould, Past Chairman 1995, U.S. Grains Council
Eldon Gould is a life-long Illinois grain and livestock producer, currently, a partner in a 5000 acre crop operation and until recently, owner of a 750-sow farrow to wean swine operation. He has held a variety of leadership roles for agriculture organizations. These include Chairman of the U.S. Grains Council Board, and Chairman of the Illinois Corn Marketing Board. Mr. Gould has also served on the Illinois Farm Bureau Board of Directors, Illinois Governor’s Advisory Board of Livestock Commissioners, University of Illinois Advisory Board for Department of Agriculture Entomology, University of Illinois Advisory Board for Department of Crop Sciences, Kane County Farmland Protection Commission, and a member of the U.S. Grains Council Foundation. He has received awards for his service from Illinois Pork Producers, Illinois Corn Growers, and Illinois Farm Bureau as well as the Master Farmer Award from Prairie Farmer Publications. In 2009, Mr. Gould was awarded the Abraham Lincoln National Agriculture Award for outstanding achievement in American Agriculture.
On the local level, Eldon has served on the Elburn Co-op Board, the County Farm Bureau Board, the Kane County Fair Board, the local volunteer Fire Department, the St. Gall Parish Council, the St. Gall Building Committee, and has been a 4-H leader.
Gould was Administrator of the Risk Management Agency (RMA), U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington DC, from 2005 to 2009. RMA provides economic protection and risk management tools to America’s farmers and ranchers primarily through federally sponsored crop insurance delivered and serviced by private insurance companies. At the time Eldon went to Washington, son Chris assumed the management responsibilities of the farming operation. Upon Eldon’s return to Illinois, he became “Deputy Farm Manager.”
A native of Illinois, Mr. Gould holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science from the University of Illinois, Champaign, and is a graduate of Top Executive producers’ Agricultural Program at Texas A&M University. He and his wife Sandra have three children, Richard, Christopher and Lynda, as well as eight grandchildren.
Heidi Bringenberg, Mexico Director, U.S. Grains Council
Heidi Bringenberg serves as the country director in Mexico for the U.S. Grains Council, a non-profit organization that promotes the use of U.S. barley, corn, sorghum and related products worldwide. In this capacity, Bringenberg works plans, coordinates, and executes the Council’s programs in Mexico, including, but not limited to, marketing, trade servicing and government relations program.
Bringenberg joined the Council in 2012 as the international operations coordinator before being promoted to manager of global programs just a year later. In 2016, she moved on to become the assistant director in the USGC Mexico office and was promoted further to become the country director in 2022. Prior to the Council, Bringenberg interned for the cultural office of the Embassy of Spain as the cultural services intern. In this capacity, Bringenberg translated documents, planned Spanish cultural appreciation events in DC, and assisted in the embassy’s outreach strategy.
Bringenberg holds a bachelor’s degree in international affairs and minor in Spanish from the George Washington University.
Tommy Hamamoto, Japan Director, U.S. Grains Council
Tetsuo “Tommy” Hamamoto serves as the director in Japan for the U.S. Grains Council, a non-profit organization that promotes the global use of U.S. barley, corn, sorghum and related products including ethanol and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS). In this capacity, he identifies and addresses all relevant trade, technical and policy-related factors relevant to building and maintaining the market for U.S. grains and co-products in Japan.
Before joining the Council in 2008, Hamamoto worked for Monsanto Company, serving as public affairs lead of Japan since 2006. He was responsible for public affairs activities related to agricultural biotechnology and its’ products.
From 1997 to 2006, Hamamoto served as an agricultural specialist at the U.S. embassy in Tokyo where he was in charge of coordinating rules and regulations between the United States and Japan on food safety and standards, including chemical residues and biotechnology. Prior to that, he was a microbiology research scientist at the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research (RIKEN) for 11 years, working on industry application for genetic engineering using bacteria.
Hamamoto received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Tokyo in agricultural chemistry, and a Ph.D. from the Graduate School, University of Tokyo in microbiology.
Ramy H. Taieb, Europe/Middle East/Africa Regional Director, U.S. Grains Council
Ramy H. Taieb serves as the Middle East, Africa and Europe director of the U.S. Grains Council, a non-profit organization that promotes the global use of U.S. barley, corn, sorghum and related products including ethanol and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS). In this capacity, Taieb directs regional market development activity throughout the region, based in the Tunis, Tunisia office.
Prior to the Council, Taieb served as the commodity purchasing manager for Poulina Group, Tunisia’s largest grain importer and integrated poultry company, working with the company for more than two decades. In that position, he participated in numerous Council marketing programs and gained familiarity with Council operations as well as global grain markets.
Taieb holds a Master of Business Administration from the Mediterranean School of Business – South Mediterranean University in Tunisia and a Diploma in Advanced Studies in International Trade and Finance from Paris IX Dauphine University.
Caleb Wurth, Southeast Asia and Oceania Regional Director, U.S. Grains Council
Caleb Wurth serves as the regional director of Southeast Asia for the U.S. Grains Council, a non-profit organization that promotes the global use of U.S. corn, barley, sorghum and related products including ethanol and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS). In this capacity, Wurth identifies and addresses all relevant trade, technical and policy factors relevant to building and maintaining the market for U.S. coarse grains and co-products for the countries stretching from Myanmar to New Zealand.
Before his current function, Wurth acted as the assistant regional director of Southeast Asia for the U.S. Grains Council, where he designed and executed market promotion programs that fostered the mutually beneficial trade of grain to the countries of Southeast Asia and Oceania.
Prior to the Council, Wurth worked for Archer Daniels Midland as manager of international container freight where he was responsible for the movement of bulk, specialty and high value commodities around the world. He also held a position as a trader at ADM, responsible for the trade of domestic corn, wheat, grain sorghum and corn co-products into the large feed markets of West Texas. Prior to ADM, Wurth served as a Series 55, 63 and 7 certified Trader at J.P MorganChase Investment Bank where he traded commodity and equity ETF derivates.
Wurth holds a bachelor’s degree in feed science and management from Kansas State University. There, he published scientific research in trans-pacific feed preservation and particle grain size analysis.
Ryan LeGrand, President and CEO, U.S. Grains Council
Ryan LeGrand serves as the President and CEO for the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), a non-profit organization that promotes the global use of U.S. barley, corn, sorghum and related products including ethanol and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS).
LeGrand joined the Council in 2015 as the assistant director and then director of the Council’s Mexico office, where he identified and addressed all relevant trade, technical and policy-related factors relevant to building and maintaining the market for U.S. grains and co-products in Mexico. Before joining the Council, LeGrand worked for Gavilon as the director of ingredients, located in Guadalajara, Mexico. In this capacity, he managed the company’s feed ingredients trading, import and distribution throughout Mexico. LeGrand also served as the director of exports for Hawkeye Gold, LLC where he exported DDGS to Latin America and Asia, and he began his career as an export merchandiser with Garvey International.
LeGrand earned a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University in international business.
Joe Outlaw, Texas A&M University
Dr. Joe Outlaw is a Regents Fellow, Professor and Extension Economist in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M University. He also serves as the C0-Director of the Agricultural and Food Policy Center (AFPC) at Texas A&M University. In this role, Dr. Outlaw frequently interacts with members of Congress and key agricultural committee staff, as well as stakeholders, to provide feedback on the likely consequences of agricultural policy changes. His extension education and applied research activities are focused on assessing the impacts of commodity programs, crop insurance, renewable energy, and climate change legislation on U.S. agricultural operations.
Dr. Outlaw has received 38 state, regional and national awards for his policy education efforts and has been awarded Fellow of both the Southern and Western Agricultural Economics Associations.
Dr. Outlaw has presented over 1,000 invited presentations across the United States and Internationally. He has secured more than $30 million in funding for his work in agricultural policy and written over 500 extension and research publications and been invited to testify on 13 occasions.
Dr. Outlaw is originally from Devine, Texas. He received his B.S (1987), M.S. (1988), and Ph.D. (1992) degrees from Texas A&M University, all in agricultural economics.
Andrew Brandt, Director of Trade Policy, U.S. Grains Council
Andrew Brandt serves as the Director of Trade Policy for the U.S. Grains Council, a non-profit organization that promotes the use of U.S. barley, corn, sorghum and related products worldwide.
In this capacity, Brandt works with U.S. and foreign government officials as well as members and coalition partners to address policy issues related to the export of U.S. feed grains and their co-products.
Prior to joining the Council, Brandt worked for the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, where he served as an international trade policy advisor, counseling the Committee on international trade policy related to agriculture, biotech, energy and other matters.
Brandt also previously served as legislative assistant to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), offering guidance on agriculture, biotech, international trade, banking and environmental policy.
Before working in the Senate, Brandt worked as legislative director for U.S. Representative Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas), as press assistant for U.S. Representative Jim Talent (R-Missouri) and in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency (USDA’s RMA), where he advised staff on federal crop insurance program policy and worked to help implement provisions of the 2008 Farm Bill.
Brandt holds a master’s of business administration from the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business and a bachelor’s of science degree in agribusiness management from the University of Missouri.
Carlos Suarez, Manager of Sustainability, Policy and Innovation, U.S. Grains Council
Carlos F. Suárez Isaacs serves as the manager of sustainability, policy and innovation for the U.S. Grains Council, a non-profit organization that promotes the use of U.S. barley, corn, sorghum and related products worldwide.
Suarez previously served as a regional ethanol trade specialist in Latin America, working with strategic public and private stakeholders across Latin America to help them achieve policy goals and capture value through fuel ethanol in the current global energy transition, promoting the benefits and comparative advantages of U.S. ethanol.
Prior to the Council, Suarez worked for the Nature Conservancy as the associate director for business development in Latin America. In this capacity, he worked in fundraising with the corporate sector by engaging in consultative selling to structure projects around water security, healthy agricultural systems and sustainable infrastructure, achieving over $3.2 million in total revenue over two years. Suarez also served as the commercial specialist for the U.S. Commercial Service in Colombia, where he was responsible for developing strategies for market penetration projects in the franchising, finance, information technologies, consumer electronics, telecommunications and professional services sectors.
Suarez holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Universidad del Rosario (Colombia), a master’s degree in global risk management (Spain), and a master’s degree in business administration from HEC Montreal (Canada).
Cary Sifferath, Vice President, U.S. Grains Council
Cary Sifferath serves as the vice president for the U.S. Grains Council, a non-profit organization that promotes the global use of U.S. barley, corn, sorghum and related products including ethanol and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS). In this capacity, Sifferath is responsible for oversight of the Council’s 10 international offices and all worldwide programs.
Sifferath has held various positions within the Council since joining in 1993. From 1993 to 1995, Sifferath was the manager of international operations/Asia at the Council’s Washington, D.C., office. He was responsible for managing all programs within the Asia region.
He was promoted in 1995 to assistant director for the Southeast Asia office, based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and in 1997 was promoted again to regional director for Southeast Asia. In that capacity, he was responsible for market development activities throughout the Southeast Asia region.
From 2001 to 2008, Sifferath served as the senior director in the Council’s Tokyo, Japan office and carried out market development and trade activities in Japan.
From 2008 to 2010 he was the senior director in the Council’s Beijing, China office. During this time, he managed the Council’s market development programs and office operations in China.
From 2010 to 2015 he served as the regional director of Middle East, Africa and Europe in the Council’s regional office in Tunis, Tunisia.
From 2015 to 2022, Sifferath was the senior director of global programs at the Council’s headquarters in Washington.
Before joining the Council in 1993, Sifferath was a district sales manager for Kent Feeds, Inc., of Muscatine, Iowa.
During the last 28 years, Sifferath has lived and traveled extensively in and outside of the U.S. collecting information and firsthand knowledge of world grain supply and demand from regular contacts with local feed grain importers, processors, end-users and various agricultural agencies.
Sifferath earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Wisconsin, River Falls, in agricultural economics and animal science.
Josh Miller, Chairman, U.S. Grains Council
Joshua Miller serves as chairman of the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), a non-profit organization that promotes the global use of U.S. barley, corn, sorghum and related products including ethanol and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS). In this capacity, Miller serves as member of the organization’s 15-person board of directors.
Miller is a fifth-generation farmer in Anderson, Indiana, and produces corn and soybeans, primarily as a no-till row crop operation.
He is a member of Indiana Corn Marketing Council. He previously served as an at-large member of the Council’s board of directors.
Miller was a finance officer at Lockheed Martin, a contract officer for the U.S. government and a staff sergeant in the United States Marine Corps. Miller graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Maryland/Wesleyan and a Master of Business Administration from Wesleyan University. He has been awarded the Marine Corps Achievement Medal and the 2018 River Friendly Farmer Award.
Brent Boydston, Vice Chairman, U.S. Grains Council
Brent Boydston serves as the vice chairman of the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), a non-profit organization that promotes the global use of U.S. barley, corn, sorghum and related products including ethanol and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS). In this capacity, Boydston serves as member of the organization’s 15-person board of directors.
Boydston has a farm located in Centerville, Kansas, and has been farming with his family his entire life, but increased operations when his father passed away in 2020. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from Kansas State University and a Master of Business Administration from Colorado State University.
Boydston is the industry affairs lead at Bayer Crop Science. He previously worked for Senator Norm Coleman, Rep. Steve King and with the Colorado Farm Bureau.
Greg Van Brunt, Regional Sales Manager – Trade Development, Georgia Port Authority
Greg Van Brunt joined the Georgia Ports Authority in 2010 as Regional Sales Manager, Trade Development – Beneficial Cargo Owner Sales. Greg’s primary focus of responsibility centers on business development efforts for the Georgia Ports Authority in recruiting and expanding business relationships with importers, exporters and 3PLs to conduct trade and commerce via the Georgia Ports. Prior to joining the Georgia Ports, he spent 15 years in the ocean carrier sector of the maritime industry, working for Sea-Land, Maersk and NYK in various business development roles. He holds a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University.