WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — Dr. Hussein Soliman, director of the U.S. Grains Council's (USGC) Egypt office, retired from the council effective Sept. 30. He served as a director in Egypt since 1990 and as associate regional director from 1988-90.
Soliman worked on behalf of the council and its members, while also helping modernize Egypt's livestock and poultry production and supporting the development of aquaculture. Until the recent flood of Black Sea production, compounded by political upheaval in the country, Soliman's efforts and implementation of council programs established Egypt as a consistent top importer of U.S. feed grains, the USGC said.
"Soliman is certainly the founder of modern Egyptian agriculture," said Thomas Sleight, the council's president and chief executive officer. "He is an unbridled and passionate advocate for U.S. coarse grains and literally has friends all over the world."
One project that saw much success was the "cattleman's bank" – also known as the "buffalo fattening project." The project launched with a grant from the U.S. and helped create jobs while raising buffalo calves from birth to 450 kg live weight, instead of being sacrificed at 60 kg as was standard practice at the time. The first year saw 30,000 head raised, which led to an additional grant and Egypt's government coming on board.
"We raise about 350,000 head on feed – in the trough – working for the American farmer. It's mutual trade with mutual benefits. American farmers send grain to Egypt and Egyptians have a good source of energy for feed," Soliman said last fall at Export Exchange.
Before joining the council, Soliman was a professor of animal nutrition at Ain Shams University in Egypt. He received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Egypt and his PhD in animal nutrition form Aberdeen University in Scotland.
His expertise in animal nutrition allowed him to help the dairy and dairy buffalo sectors use modern feed formulations, and he repeated these successes with poultry and aquaculture. He helped introduce American Holstein cattle to the country and as well as the use of semen for breeding. He tirelessly promoted the advantages of quality feed ingredients, including U.S. corn, high-oil corn, corn gluten meal, corn gluten feed and distiller's dried grains with solubles.
"The result was a market that went from 1.48 million bushels to 250 million bushels between 1991 and 2012," Soliman said.
Deb Keller, USGC at-large director and a farmer from Clarion, Iowa, U.S., traveled to Egypt with Soliman several years ago.
"He helped introduce me to the council and showed me what the U.S. and USGC could do for the people of Egypt, and for me as a producer. I'm really grateful for that, for opening my eyes to all the possibilities," she said. "He had amazing compassion for people in Egypt and saw all sorts of possibilities where others could not."
At Export Exchange last fall, Soliman reflected on his time at the council.
"It was a joy working for the council," he said. "I worked with a family. My family is the USGC and the members, the executives, the board of directors and the agri-industrial sector. All of them are my friends."
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