Washington, D.C. – Chip Councell, a 10th generation farmer from Talbot County, Maryland, was elected as the new U.S. Grains Council (USGC) chairman during the organization’s 56th Annual Board of Delegates Meeting this week in Louisville, Kentucky.
Councell and his family produce corn, wheat and soybeans and operate a a farm stand selling local consumers a wide variety of produce including watermelons, sweet corn and pumpkins. Through work with USGC and the Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board, he has become a leading farm educator and conservationist.
“At this point in my life, my passions are my family, my farm and the U.S. Grains Council,” Councell told USGC delegates shortly after his election. “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 and communicating 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. Those six words guide us in every commodity, in every market, in every country around the world,” he said. “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.”
He takes the helm at the Council having 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 family was selected as Talbot County’s Soil Conservation District Cooperators of the Year for their conservation efforts and in 2014, Councell was selected for the Maryland Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame for his contributions to the local industry.
At the Louisville meeting, the Board of Delegates also elected other members of the Council’s 2016-2017 Board of Directors. That body now includes:
- Philip “Chip” 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 was seated Wednesday and will serve until July 2017.