Handcock was raised on a South Dakota, U.S., wheat farm and received a degree in agricultural industries management from Colorado State University. He farmed and ranched in South Dakota until 1984, when he joined the South Dakota Department of Agriculture as director of rural development. He joined the South Dakota Wheat Commission in 1985 as executive director, where he was involved in market development, wheat research and promotional programs.
At the time of his appointment to the WQC in 1992, Craig L. Hamlin of ADM Milling Co. and Timothy W. Cranor of Cereal Food Processors, Inc., members of the WQC board and its search committee, said, “Handcock brings to the council the enthusiasm and experience to succeed in accomplishing our objectives. We are committed to the improvement of wheat varieties in North America for the benefit of the producer, processor and end user.”
Twenty-five years later, Handcock can step down knowing he met the expectations placed on him at the time of his appointment.
“Ben had a big task in 1992 to coordinate the merger of all wheat class entities and committees under one umbrella,” said Brian Walker, technical services manager at Miller Milling and a member of the WQC executive committee. “This was not without its significant challenges, merging three proud organizations in a time of continued consolidation in milling and baking, with shrinking resources and participants. But for me personally, I am proud to call Ben and his wife, Patsy, my friend. And just a word about Patsy Handcock — she kept this organization organized, in this unique partnership, we will probably not see the likes of again. Ben’s passion for wheat in all areas of improvement, education and collaboration has helped many people in this industry appreciate what we do and how we do it. Lastly, anyone who has known Ben over the last 25 years knows one thing — Ben has always been true to being Ben!”
Glen Weaver, a food scientist and research fellow for Ardent Mills and a member of the WQC board, added, “He is a professional with a sense of perspective that has served the wheat industry well. Ben realizes this is just a start as he passes the baton.”
Dave Katzke, senior technology manager at General Mills, Inc. and a member of the WQC executive committee, said Handcock’s passion for wheat and quality “is without equal.”
“Ben has driven the Wheat Quality Council to a vibrant sustainable unified organization that reaches all aspects of the wheat industry,” Katzke said. “His charismatic style is refreshing, and his ability to work towards a common goal for multiple interests is a case study to replicate. The wheat industry needs more friends like Ben and all who have worked with Ben are forever changed.”
Prior to Handcock, Thomas C. Roberts led the WQC from its inception in 1980 until his retirement in 1992. The WQC was formed through the merger of two predecessor organizations — the Wheat Improvement Association and the Hard Winter Wheat Quality Advisory Council.
For more information on the position, e-mail a letter of application and resume by May 31, to Ben Handcock email@example.com call 1.303.558.0101.