USGC Chairman Chip Councell
Chip Councell, USGC's newly elected chairman.

WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) announced on July 29 the election of Chip Councell as the new USGC chairman during the organization’s 56th annual board of delegates meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.

Councell produces corn, wheat and soybeans. Through work with USGC and the Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board, Councell has become a leading farm educator and conservationist, USGC said.

“At this point in my life, my passions are my family, my farm and the U.S. Grains Council," Councell said. "Our programs are having a true impact around the world, and despite challenges facing the farm economy now, I am excited and optimistic about the future of our industry."

Councell told delegates the organization will continue to focus on its core market development mission for feed grains while building export markets for U.S. ethanol. The group also will continue to  communicate to customers about the work the U.S. grains industry does to produce reliable and high-quality crops.

"Our mission statement – developing markets, enabling trade and improving lives – is direct and to the point,” Councell said. “Those six words guide us in every commodity, in every market, in every country around the world.Over the next year, we will expand on what we have done for 56 years – we will continue to develop markets and look for new opportunities for barley, sorghum, corn, DDGS, ethanol and beyond."

Councell has served for two years as an officer of the organization and in community and farm organization leadership positions both locally and nationally. In 2010, the Councell’s family was selected as Talbot County’s Soil Conservation District Cooperators of the Year for their conservation efforts. In 2014, Councell was selected for the Maryland Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame for his contributions to the local industry.

At the meeting, the board of delegates also elected other members of the council’s 2016-17 board of directors. That body now includes:

  • Philip Councell, Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board, chairman
  • Deb Keller, Iowa Corn Promotion Board, vice-chairman
  • Jim Stitzlein, Consolidated Grain and Barge Co., secretary/treasurer
  • Alan Tiemann, Nebraska Corn Board, past chairman
  • Thomas Sleight, U.S. Grains Council, president and chief executive officer
  • Darren Armstrong, Corn Growers Association of North Carolina, Inc., at-large board member
  • Ray Defenbaugh, Big River Resources LLC, agribusiness sector/ethanol and co-products director
  • Craig Floss, Iowa Corn Promotion Board, checkoff sector director
  • Dick Gallagher, Iowa Corn Promotion Board, corn sector director
  • Greg Hibner, Hawkeye Gold, LLC, a J.D. Heiskell Company, agribusiness sector director
  • Charles Ray Huddleston, Texas Grain Sorghum Association, sorghum sector director
  • James Raben, Illinois Corn Marketing Board, at-large director
  • Charles Ring, Texas Corn Producers Board, at-large director
  • Mark Seastrand, North Dakota Barley Council, barley sector director
  • Jim Stuever, Missouri Corn Merchandising Council, at-large director

The new board will serve until July 2017.