MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA, U.S. — In a briefing on Aug. 2, executives from Grain Elevator and Processing Society’s (GEAPS) Grain Company Executive Advisory Council (GCEAC) met with International Center for Grain Operations and Processing (ICGOP) leadership to discuss GEAPS’ involvement in pursuing the ICGOP and any recommendations as to direction.

GEAPS said GCEAC input is extremely important and ensures that GEAPS’ programs remain relevant, valuable and effective. This council serves as a link between GEAPS’ member leadership and the executive levels of the grain operations industry. More specifically, in the case of the ICGOP initiative, these individuals provide GEAPS with strategic guidance on how to best meet the grain industry’s needs and increase the value of a GEAPS membership, which is a main component of the ICGOP.

Executives on the call included: Bailey Ragan, vice-president of Bunge North America; Jerald Kimmerer, chief executive officer and general manager of Pride Ag Resources; Steve Rockhold, director of strategic brewing materials sourcing of MillerCoors; Dave Geers, president of Michigan Ag Commodities; and Tom Madru, general manager Grain Division, Kokomo Grain. ICGOP stakeholder group leaders included: Dr. Charles Hurburgh, Iowa State University, Greater Iowa Chapter; Dr. Dirk Maier, Kansas State University, Great Plains Chapter; Mark Fedje, Team Leader, General Mills, GEAPS International president, Minneapolis Chapter; and Kirk Miller, strategic marketing consultant, GEAPS.

This informative briefing included an overview of the ICGOP structure and description of current progress, anticipated programs and services, and a question and answer session. GEAPS said interactions among participants were extremely positive and supportive with a distinguished buzz regarding the industry and employer benefits of a credentialing program in grain operations management, company training programs, and expanded distance education opportunities.

Overall, GEAPS said these executives reinforced the pressing need for the ICGOP’s development and the related programs by which it will strengthen workforces and the industry as a whole. They voiced support of the current direction of GEAPS’ involvement and asked for continued progress updates.

“I was impressed with what I heard during the briefing. As it has also been identified in our state association, Michigan Agribusiness Association (MABA), the lack of extensive distance education and credentialing is a weakness in our industry. I know the International Center will serve as a great resource to promote our industry’s continued development and growth,” said Dave Geers, president, Michigan Ag Commodities.