The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) paid tribute this week to industry pioneer Dr. Owen J. Newlin, who passed away July 12.
“Dr. Newlin’s influence runs deep as a driving force behind exposing more growers to the international marketplace and ensuring market development organizations, including the Council, had stability with which to do their work. His contributions to our industry cannot be overstated,” said Ryan LeGrand, USGC president and chief executive officer.
“He was a larger-than-life figure in his family, his community and especially in our industry and will be dearly missed.”
Newlin contributed to tremendous growth in the Council during his more than 50 years of involvement, playing an instrumental role in raising funds to support ballot initiatives to create state corn checkoff programs; initiating Pioneer’s overseas missions to educate future farmer leaders; and sustaining efforts to defend the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Market Development (USDA’s FMD) program through more than two decades’ worth of farm bill negotiations.
“I’ve always called him the godfather of the Council,” said Tom Sleight, former USGC president and chief executive officer. “He saw big picture challenges for the Council that he tackled willingly and put everything he had into them, including his own resources.
“He also had an overriding interest in export markets – where are they today and how are we going to build them? He was always very keenly paying attention to what was happening in the marketplace and what could happen in that marketplace.”
Newlin joined Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. (now part of Corteva Agriscience) in 1955 as a research assistant, becoming production manager and then division president before serving as senior vice president with responsibility for the finance, information management, human resources and seed production operations of Pioneer’s North American operations.
Pioneer was represented at the Council from the organization’s very first meeting in 1960. Less than a decade later, Newlin became the company’s official delegate. He remained a Council delegate until his death, serving on various committees throughout his tenure including on the USGC Board of Directors from 1976-1980 and as the Council’s chairman from 1978-1979. In 2005, the Council honored Newlin with a tribute award for a lifetime of distinguished achievement and service.
“He was a tremendous figure, a tremendous asset for the Council and was respected by everyone in U.S. agriculture,” Sleight said. “We knew this day would come, but it is a sad day to see such a titan of the Council pass on.”
The Council’s leadership and membership send the Newlin family their sincere sympathies during this difficult time.
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.