The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) recognized Kerry Wefald from the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) for five years of service this week at the organization’s virtual 60th Annual Board of Delegates Meeting.
Wefald joined KDA in 2014 and serves as the director of agriculture advocacy, marketing and outreach. This division oversees domestic and international market development and provides agency economic and statistical data supporting the Kansas agriculture industry.
In 2015, the Kansas Department of Agriculture began work on a strategic plan for the Kansas agriculture sector. Research on state exports revealed that meat and cereal grains made up 70 to 75 percent of total Kansas agricultural exports. Using this data, the Kansas Ag Growth Strategy developed in 2015/2016 identified a deeper need to develop and support international market development. As a result, KDA joined the Council to connect Kansas farmers with their global customers.
“We serve Kansas farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses and the consumers and customers they serve daily – including international customers,” Wefald said. “As a division, we evaluated organizations and determined that a Council membership would be a solid investment for our Kansas farmers. Adding in ethanol to the Council’s portfolio adds another Kansas industry sub-sector receiving benefits from the work of the organization.”
Wefald maintains a personal interest in advancing Kansas agriculture, having grown up on a family farm in Kansas. Her brother, Brent Boydston, is also active in the Council and serves as an at-large director on the USGC Board of Directors.
“Interacting with the U.S. Grains Council has become a family affair,” Wefald said. “For fun, it should be noted that my involvement with the Council began prior to Brent’s involvement.”
In the past five years, Wefald has actively participated in several Council events, including a Council trade mission to China to support the 2015/2016 corn quality report rollout.
“Our Kansas farmers were able to establish new relationships with end users in Beijing, Qingdao and Jinan and advocate for grains and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) use within the Chinese market,” Wefald said. “[Council Director in China] Bryan Lohmar and his colleagues organized an incredible trip, and our farmers walked away from the mission having gained new friends and customers across the globe.”
Wefald looks forward to continuing to build these connections between Kansas farmers and international buyers and end-users, saying, “We really appreciate our colleagues at the Council and are grateful for inclusion within the organization.”
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.