Each year during its summer meeting, the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) recognizes its agribusiness and general farm organization members for their years of service. During the 60th Annual Board of Delegates Meeting, held virtually this July, the Council recognized two agribusiness members for five years of service: Steve Rust with Phibro Ethanol Performance Group and David Flakne with Syngenta.
The broad representation from across the agribusiness sector is why a colleague of Rust’s recommended he get involved with the Council when he began working as the director of industry relations at Phibro Ethanol Performance Group.
“I was talking with Randy Ives, a good friend of mine, who told me that we needed to get involved with the Council,” Rust said. “Randy had a membership application in less than an hour to me and told me the Council needed to have businesses in the ethanol space become members to provide additional industry expertise.”
Ives was a long-time agribusiness delegate to the Council and an active member in the organization’s Advisory Teams (A-Teams) before his passing in 2019. He encouraged Rust to apply for the Value-Added A-Team, which he has served on since 2016. Rust enjoys the connections with fellow agribusiness members, producers and Council staff during the annual meetings. He carries the work – focused on the common goal of finding new markets and addressing trade issues – back to his colleagues in the ethanol industry.
“There has been true joy in getting to know the leadership of the Council. The can-do attitude that is exhibited in all the meetings is great to be a part of,” Rust said. “The production of U.S. ethanol has grown to levels that require the need for new markets for both ethanol and DDGS, so the work to develop new export markets is key.
“The Council is equipped to tell the story on the environmental benefits that ethanol-enriched fuel brings in helping address air quality issues around the world.”
Like Rust, Flakne joined the Council to help support the ethanol industry, adding in his perspective as the senior director of state affairs for Syngenta. He has been an active member of the Ethanol A-Team for the last four years.
“The opportunities provided for engagement, learning and relationship building has been fantastic,” Flakne said. “Both the Council meetings in Panama and Colombia included key learnings about trade and opportunities for ethanol with key partners as well as the geopolitical realities that we face with many complex trading relationships.
“We need free, fair and reciprocal trade to feed a hungry world into the future, and anything I can do to help that is very important to me personally, Syngenta and the Council.”
Please join the Council in thanking these agribusiness leaders for their years of service!
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.