A shared passion for promoting U.S. agriculture abroad and aligned international projects attracted David Heckman, global marketing consultant for Elanco Animal Health, to the U.S. Grains Council. Fifteen years later, the Council’s mission of improving lives and the people immersed in that work – from fellow members to overseas customers – are why he continues to stay engaged.
“Involvement with the Council comes back to a personal passion for the promotion of agriculture,” Heckman said. “So much of what we do is so important – not only feeding the world, but providing infrastructure in rural communities and financial well-being and health to millions of people around the world. The Council epitomizes that as part of its mission.”
Heckman explained Elanco and the Council have worked jointly in developing markets, particularly related to poultry feed, through conducting customer seminars, providing expert speakers for meetings and supporting both overseas missions and trade teams traveling to the United States.
“At the end of the day, we have common objectives in the advancement of agriculture,” Heckman said. “The biggest connection comes in that the majority of the products the Council promotes go to the same customers that the majority of our products do – poultry and swine producers around the world.
“We are both working to help producers, through energy, health solutions and value-added programs and services. Shared values and outcomes create synergies focused on the same decision-makers and stakeholders.”
The Council recognized Heckman for his 15 years of service during the organization’s 59th Annual Board of Delegates Meeting this summer in Cincinnati, Ohio. Heckman said the Council’s biannual meetings are one of his favorite parts of working with the organization, as they provide the opportunity to interact with other members and participate in the Council’s Advisory Teams (A-teams).
“The sincerity and the approachability of the people that are part of the Council is the highlight,” Heckman said. “I look forward to these meetings because you get to see long-term friends, network with new people and obtain another view of agriculture from a different perspective.
“You really get involved in some of the Council’s behind-the-scenes work and hope in some small way one is making a contribution to the organization and making a difference in the agricultural world.”
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 13 key markets and representatives in an additional 15 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.