The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) this week marked the passing of a titan of the organization’s history – Darwin E. Stolte, 86, who died March 21. Stolte served as USGC president and chief executive officer from 1970 to 1989.
Stolte, who was a “larger than life” figure in USGC’s story, started with the Council in 1966 as the Council’s livestock development specialist for Europe, based in Rome. At the time, Europe was the top market for U.S. coarse grains. Stolte’s work included spearheading the cultivation of a commercial beef industry in Italy’s Po Valley.
After becoming president and CEO, Stolte was intricately involved in a wide range of initiatives that changed the Council’s strategic direction, including shifting activities to the growing Asian market.
In 1977, he participated in early discussions on agricultural trade with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), and he was a key figure in the opening of agricultural relations with China in 1979. In the 1980s, he directed continued market expansion in Asia, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe in response to a variety of adverse market conditions due to high U.S. corn stocks.
“He inculcated a sense of ‘international professionalism’ that expanded the Council’s presence and well-deserved global reputation for partnership and excellence,” said retired USGC President and CEO Tom Sleight. “I interviewed with the Council in 1983. Darwin was the last person to interview me, and the only one to do so one-on-one. I was immediately impressed with his energy and vision, and I said to myself, ‘I want to be part of this.’’’
Known for his legacy of service and his vision, Stolte will be remembered, and the Council mourns his passing.
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.