Peterson currently is vice-president of overseas operations for USW, a position he has held since August 2004. He began his career in 1974 as a grain merchandiser with General Mills, later moving to the grain export side of the business before joining USW in 1985.
“First, I want to thank the board for their confidence in me following the great work that Alan has done leading this organization for the last 20 years,” Peterson said. “This day would not be possible for me without the work and support of all the overseas staff and my colleagues here in our U.S. offices. I want all of them and the board to know that I will do all I can to continue this organization’s strong service to American wheat farmers and their overseas customers.”
Jason Scott, chairman of USW and a wheat farmer from Easton, Maryland, U.S., called Peterson “the right person at the right time” to fill the president’s position.
“He has spent his entire career in the grain trade and has been a steady hand directing overseas marketing efforts for USW over the last 31 years,” Scott said. “This also represents a very practical way to make this transition.”
Tracy joined USW in 1997, after serving for seven years as the Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Before that, from 1986 to 1989, he worked in the White House as special assistant to the president for agricultural trade and food assistance. He earlier held several positions at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, including deputy assistant secretary of agriculture for marketing and inspection services, deputy undersecretary for international affairs and commodity programs, and general sales manager.
Alan T. Tracy, current president of USW.
After Tracy informed the USW board in July 2016 of his intention to retire, Scott formed a search committee and appointed Brian O’Toole, a past chairman of USW and a wheat farmer from Crystal, North Dakota, U.S., as its chair.
“During our initial meetings, the committee decided to focus the search for Alan’s replacement inside the wheat industry,” O’Toole said. “Vince expressed his interest in the position and it quickly became clear that he was the most qualified candidate with obvious respect across the entire wheat industry. The committee voted unanimously to recommend him to the directors, and they agreed with us.”
USW’s mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance the profitability of U.S. wheat producers and their customers.” Its activities are made possible by producer checkoff dollars managed by 19 state wheat commissions and through cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.