HOUSTON, TEXAS, U.S. – Grain producers and agribusiness representatives met on Feb. 13 to help chart the operational course for the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) during advisory team (A-team) meetings held at the ongoing 15th International Marketing Conference and 58th Annual Membership Meeting in Houston, Texas, U.S.
Deb Keller USGC chairman
 Deb Keller, USGC chairman

“The council’s A-team meetings allow delegates and members to engage directly on the most critical issues related to international trade,” said Council Chairman Deb Keller, a farmer from Iowa. “The council will use this input to guide the development of the council’s programs in more than 50 countries that buy U.S. grains and grains products, like ethanol.”

The council operates seven advisory teams focused on key regions – Asia, Western Hemisphere and the Middle East and Africa – and topics such as ethanol, trade policy, value-added products and innovation and sustainability.

As they do each year at the council's winter meetings, A-Teams conducted in-depth sessions in Houston to help set USGC global strategy and hear from the Council’s global staff members who work to promote the Council’s key products – U.S. corn, sorghum and barley as well as co-products like ethanol and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS).

The teams also got information they can take back to the members of the organizations they represent, including checkoffs, agribusiness companies and general farm organizations. In this way, A-team members and Council delegates are acting as diplomats focused on the importance of strong trade policy and market development for the grains sector.

“A-teams leverage the collective perspectives and experiences of the Council’s grassroots membership,” Keller said. “These insights are critical to the Council’s success, and our members’ outreach on behalf of trade is critical to our continued growth.”

USGC delegates also met Tuesday in sector-specific groups, including for corn, barley and sorghum producers as well as agribusinesses and general farm organizations.

The full USGC Board of Delegates and the USGC Board of Directors will both convene on Feb. 14 during the final day of meetings in Houston.