U.S. Grains Council

U.S. Grains Council


The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) is a trade association that “develops export markets for U.S. barley, corn, sorghum and related products” including dried grains and ethanol. [1]

Its website states that “exports are vital to global economic development and U.S. agriculture’s profitability” and lists a commitment to “developing markets”, “enabling trade” and “improving lives”. [1]

USGC members include Koch Industries subsidiary and oil refinery, Flint Hills Resources, agri-chemical and pesticides giants Cargill, Bayer Crop Science and Corteva Agriscience, and major trade bodies the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), the National Corn Grower’s Association and the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation. [2]

The USGC also represents major ethanol producers and trade bodies and has run a dedicated program to expanding and promoting sales of US ethanol worldwide since 2014. [3]

The USGC is active in its attempts to influence trade deals and in 2018 and 2019 lobbied the US government on trade negotiations with both the UK and the European Union (EU). In both cases, the USGC called on the US government to negotiate a “science-based” agreement on issues such as genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and pesticides. [4], [5]

According to campaigners at the Pesticide Action Network, the term “science-based” has a history of being used by US negotiators to criticise the EU’s “precautionary principle”, which enables member states to restrict the use of substances where there is uncertainty over its impacts on health or the environment. [6]

The precautionary principle has been behind EU bans on substances including the bee-killing pesticides neonicotinoids and chlorpyrifos, a pesticide which research suggests may harm children’s neurological development. [7], [8]

The USGC is not known to have paid for lobbying or political campaigning activities in the US, as listed on the Open Secrets transparency website. However, it has previously hired the consultancy, Green Orange, to represent its interests at the European Union. In 2019, USGC member Bayer met with EU officials to discuss issues including pesticides and plant “breeding techniques” – both subjects that the USGC has said are a priority in USEU and USUK trade talks. [4], [9], [4]

The USGC was established as the U.S. Feed Grains Council in 1957,  becoming the U.S. Grains Council under the presidency of Bob Bowman (2005-2020). The current president is Ryan Legrand, who previously led the USGC’s operations in Mexico from 2016-2019, during the negotiation of the US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, or “new Nafta”, renegotiated under President Donald Trump. [10], [11], [12]

The USGC is headquartered in Washington, DC and has a “full-time presence” in China, Colombia, India, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Tanzania and Vietnam as well as “regional offices” in Panama, Malaysia and Tunisia. [13]

Stance on Climate Change

The U.S. Grains Council has not made any public statements on climate change. However it is a powerful voice for the US ethanol industry, representing major ethanol trade bodies including the National Corn Growers Association, the Renewable Fuels Association and Growth Energy as well as individual corn and ethanol producers. [2]

While the US government claims that ethanol is a “carbon neutral” fuel, studies have found that when life-cycle emissions are taken into account ethanol can have a larger carbon footprint than conventional oil and gas. The United States accounts for around 55 percent of the world’s ethanol production and since 2014 the USGC has run a program dedicated to boosting exports, which it credits with leading to a “record” of 1.62 billion gallons of US ethanol exports in 2017/2018. [14], [15], [16][3]


The USGC is funded by member contributions and matched funding from the US government. [17]

In 2018, the USGC received a total of $26.2 million, with member funds accounting for $13.4 million, funding from the US Department of Agriculture’s “Foreign Agricultural Service” accounting for $12.5 million, and funds from the US Department of State accounting for $318,000. [18]

US Department of Agriculture Funding

In 2018 funding from the US Department of Agriculture’s “Foreign Agricultural Service” (FAS) accounted for $12.5 million of the USGC‘s total $26.2 million. [18]

The Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) is a US Department of Agriculture agency that “represents the interests of US farmers and the U.S. food and agricultural sector“ worldwide. It has a presence in over 90 countries, and has provided funding to major agricultural trade bodies including the USGC, the U.S. Dairy Export Council, the U.S. Poultry & Egg Export Council and U.S. Meat Export Federation. [19], [20], [21]

In 2019 it attracted media attention for its praise of an Ethiopian government decision to approve the commercial cultivation of genetically modified (GM) cotton which marked a break with the country’s approach to policy based on the precautionary principle which permits restrictions on products where there is uncertainty over impacts on health and the environment. [22]

In 2019 the USGC received $13.9 million from the “Agriculture Trade Promotion Program,” a $200 million dollar initiative delivered by the Foreign Agricultural Service and established by the Trump administration to help US farmers “identify and access new export markets” in the wake of a US trade war with China. USGC President and CEO, Tom Sleight said the funding would allow USGC members to address what he referred to as a trend of “creeping protectionism” in trade. [25], [26].

It is unclear whether the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program money will be received on top of existing FAS matched funding that is received annually by the USGC.

USGC member funding

As of August 2020, USGC members paid $5000 – $8000 per year to be part of the organisation. The USGC has also received contributions in the form of grants from its members and has been paid by members Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association to provide services as an independent contractor. [18], [23]

See table below for details on funding: (Data from publicly available 990 forms).

990 Forms

Key People

Ryan LeGrand – LeGrand is president and CEO of the USGC and directed the USGC’s Mexico office between 2016 and 2019, representing both US and Mexican producers during the Trump administration’s negotiation of the US-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA) in 2017-2018. The USGC welcomed the USMCA as a “foundational” agreement that was “critical to the growth” of the agricultural sector. However, environmental groups and commentators have warned that the USMCA furthers a “deregulatory agenda” which risks becoming the “new norm” for trade deals. Referring to the trade deal’s provisions on GMOs, the news site Politico called the USCMA a “major step in America’s effort to export its biotech model around the world.” [12], [27], [28], [29], [30], [31]

Board of Directors (2020)

As of July 2020, the USGC board comprised: [32]

  • Ryan LeGrand – President and CEO
  • Darren Armstrong – Chairman
  • Jim Raben – Vice Chairman
  • Chad Willis – Secretary-Treasurer
  • Jim Stitzlein – Past Chairman
  • Duane Aistrope – At-Large Director
  • Brent Boydston – At-Large Director
  • Josh Miller – At-Large Director
  • Ryan Wagner – At-Large Director
  • Greg Hibner – Agribusiness Sector Director
  • Mark Seastrand – Barley Sector Director
  • Wayne Humphreys – Corn Sector Director
  • Rick Schwark – Agribusiness / Ethanol and Co-Products Sector Director
  • Charles Ray Huddleston – Sorghum Sector Director
  • Tadd Nicholson – State Checkoff Sector Director

Board of Directors (2003 – 2020)

Alan Tiemann   YYYYYYY YYY   Past Chairman
Bill Kubecka       YY YYY    Sorghum Sector Director
Brent Boydston               YYAt-Large Director
Chad Willis              YYYVice Chairman
Charles Ray Huddleston             YYY Sorghum Sector Director
Charles Ring         YYYYY   At-Large Director
Chip Councell         YYYYYY  Past Chairman
Craig Floss           YYYY  State Checkoff Sector Director
Dale ArthoYYYYYYY          Past Chairman
Darrel McAlexander       YYYY      At-Large Director
Darren Armstrong             YYYYPast Chairman
Dave LyonsYYYYYYYYYYYY     Agribusiness Sector Director
David Howell          YY     At-Large Director
Davis AndersonYYYYY            Past Chairman
Debra Keller           YYYY  Chairman
Dick Gallagher            YY   Corn Sector Director
Don Duvall                YAt-Large Director
Don Fast   YYYYYYYYY     Past Chairman
Don HutchensYYY              State Checkoff Sector Director
Don JacobyYY               Past Chairman
Doug BoisenYYY              Secretary
Duane Aistrope               YYAt-Large Director
Gary Marshall   YYYY          State Checkoff Sector Director
Gerry SalzmanYYYYYYYYY        At-Large Director
Greg Hibner             YYYYAgribusiness Sector Director
James Tobin       YYYYYY    At-Large Director
Jay Zimmerman   YYY           Sorghum Sector Director
Jere White       YYY       State Checkoff Sector Director
Jim BrotenYYYYYYY          Chairman
Jim Massey                YSorghum Sector Director
Jim Raben            YYYYYChairman
Jim Stitzlein             YYY Past Chairman
Jim Stuever            YYY  At-Large Director
Josh Miller               YYSecretary-Treasurer
Julius Schaaf      YYYYYY     Chairman
Ken GreeneYYYYY            At-Large Director
Ken Kindler     YY          At-Large Director
Kenneth HobbieYYYYYYY          President and CEO
Kim Falcon          Y      State Checkoff Sector Director
Mark Seastrand       YYYYYYYYYYBarley Sector Director
Paul WilliamsYYY              Chairman
Philip McCoun              Y  At-Large Director
Ray Defenbaugh             YYY Agribusiness-Ethanol and Co-products Sector Director – 2018-2019
Rick FruthYYYYYYYYY        Past Chairman
Rick Schwarck                YAgribusiness/Ethanol and Co-Products Sector Director
Ron Gray       YYYYYY    Past Chairman
Ryan LeGrand               YYPresident and CEO
Ryan Wagner               Y At-Large Director
Steve Brody            Y    Agribusiness Sector Director
Tadd Nicholson               YYState Checkoff Sector Director
Terry Vinduska  YYYYYYYY       Past Chairman
Terry WolfYYY              Past Chairman
Thomas C. Dorr       YYY       President and CEO
Thomas Mueller              Y  Illinois Corn Marketing Board
Thomas Sleight          YYYYY  President and CEO
Tim BurrackYYYYYYY          Corn Sector Director
Troy Skarke      Y  Y       Sorghum Sector Director
Verity Ulibarri                YAt-Large Director
Vic MillerYYYYYY           Past Chairman
Wayne Humphreys               YYCorn Sector Director
Wendell Shauman     YYYYYY      Past Chairman

(Based on archives from the USGC website) [32], [33], [34], [35], [36], [37], [38], [39], [40], [41], [42], [43], [44], [45], [46], [47], [48], [49]

Advisory Team Leaders (2020)

The USGC has seven Advisory Teams (“A-Teams” ) which “identify opportunities, set priorities and chart the course for the U.S. Grains Council every year.” These are made up of a mixture of “grain producers and agribusiness representatives.” [50]

As of July 2020, the A-Teams and their leaders were: [51]

  •        Asia Advisory Team: John Greer – Nebraska Corn Board
  •        Ethanol Advisory Team: Eric Baukol – Granite Falls Energy
  •        Innovation and Sustainability: Mark Wilson – Illinois Corn Marketing Board
  •        Middle East / Africa / South Asia: Troy Schneider – Colorado Corn Administrative Committee
  •        Trade Policy: Dennis McNinch – Kansas Corn Commission
  •        Value-added: Isaac Crawford – POET
  •        Western Hemisphere: Mark Mueller – Iowa Corn Growers Association

Advisory Team Leaders (2012 – 2020)

Adam Baldwin   YY    United Sorghum Checkoff Program
Bill Christ  Y      Illinois Corn Marketing Board
Brandon Hunnicutt   YYY   Nebraska Corn Board
Brent Hoerr        YIllinois Corn Marketing Board
Brian Arnold  Y      DeLong Co., Inc.
Dan Urnikis      Y  Bayer CropScience
Darren Armstrong   YY    Past Chairman
David HowellY        At-Large Director
Dean Taylor   YY    Iowa Corn Growers Association
Debra KellerYY       Chairman
Dennis McNinch       YYKansas Corn Commission
Dick Gallagher YY      Corn Sector Director
Duane Aistrope     Y   At-Large Director
Eric Baukol        YGranite Falls Energy, LLC
Fred Miller      Y  Ohio Corn Marketing Program
Gary Porter   YYY   Missouri Corn Growers Association
Greg Hibner   Y     Agribusiness Sector Director
Isaac Crawford       YYPOET
Jeffrey Nawn     Y   DuPont Pioneer
Jim Galvin     YY  Lakeview Energy, LLC
Jim StueverYYY      At-Large Director
John Greer      YY Nebraska Corn Board
Mark Mueller       YYIowa Corn Growers Association
Mark Wilson      YYYIllinois Corn Marketing Board
Martin Kerschen      Y  United Sorghum Checkoff Program
Paul Jeschke      Y  Illinois Corn Marketing Board
Philip McCoun  Y      At-Large Director
Randy IvesYY       Gavilon
Ray Defenbaugh   YY    Agribusiness-Ethanol and Co-products Sector Director – 2018-2019
Rex MartinYYY      Syngenta
Rick Schwarck       Y Agribusiness/Ethanol and Co-Products Sector Director
Sean Broderick    YY   CHS
Steve BrodyYYY      Agribusiness Sector Director
Thomas Mueller     Y   Illinois Corn Marketing Board
Troy Schneider       YYColorado Corn Administrative Committee

(Data from the USGC website) [51], [52], [53], [54], [55], [56], [57], [58], [59]

Employees (2018)

USGC employees, as listed on its 2018 990 form:

  • Debra Keller – Past Chairman
  • Lyndsey Erb – Director of Industrial Relations
  • Ray Defenbaugh – Agbus-Ethanol Sector Director
  • Thomas Mueller – Corn Sector Director
  • Philip Mccoun – Past Chairman (Term end August 2018)
  • Jim Stuever – At-Large Director (Term end August 2018)
  • Craig Floss – Checkoff Sector Director (Term end Aug 2018)
  • Thomas N Sleight – President and CEO
  • Mike Dwyer – Chief Economist
  • Bryan Lohmar – Director, China
  • Kimberley Atkins – Vice President and COO
  • Cary Sifferath – Senior Director of Global Programs
  • Floyd Gaibler – Director of Trade Policy and Biotechnology
  • Kurt Shultz – Senior Director of Global Strategies
  • Helen Elmore – Director of Finance and Administration
  • Melissa Kessler – Director of Communications
  • Marri Carrow – Regional Director, Latin America
  • Alvaro Cordero – Manager of Global Trade


January 29, 2019

In a January 2019 hearing, Floyd Gaibler, a representative for the USGC, set out the USGC’s demands for a post-Brexit Trade Deal between the US and the UK. This included requirements that the UK significantly roll back regulations around pesticides and GMOs.

Gaibler said that current regulations “negatively impactUS imports, and called for the UK to adopt a new “science-based” approach, abandoning the use of the EU’s “precautionary principle”, which has led to restrictions on a large number of US pesticides due to health and environmental concerns.

Gaibler and the USGC also called for the removal of tariffs on US ethanol for fuel use, and for the end of the EU anti-dumping duty on ethanol, which was removed by EU regulators later that year. The anti-dumping duty was imposed by the EU in 2013 after European ethanol producers complained US producers were selling to the EU at unfairly low prices. In May 2019, the EU Commission eliminated the duties, claiming there was no longer a legal basis for the policy. [4], [6], [16], [60], [61]

December 6, 2019

The USGC was one of several biofuels trade bodies to give presentations at the annual UN climate summit, COP25, in Madrid. A press statement released by the “global coalition” of biofuels producers, which included the USGC, the Renewable Fuels Association and Ethanol Europe, described ethanol as “[an] immediate and cost-effective climate action measure” and said that the groups had “pressed government leaders” to “further bolster support for ethanol as a renewable fuel” and an alternative to petrol. [62], [63]

September 19, 2018

The USGC and two of its member associations, the Renewable Fuels Association and Growth Energy, submitted comments to the UK Department of Transport as part of a UK government consultation on standardising the use of  “E10” for road vehicles. [2], [64], [65]

E10 is a blend of petrol with 10% ethanol and is used in countries including Germany, France, Belgium and Finland. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, who announced the roll out of a consultation on the fuel, said the proposed new fuel was a step towards a “net zero future.” [65]

The overall benefits of ethanol are contested, with some scientists arguing that the greenhouse effects are equal to, or greater than, conventional petrol. [15], [66]


USGC is comprised of over 140 members which include private agricultural and agri-chemical producers, grain and biofuels trade groups, and state “checkoff boards,” programs run by state governments which take funding from producers in return for marketing their products. [2]

Notable members of the USGC include:

  • The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) – The AFBF, a trade body for US agri-businesses, has consistently opposed climate policies and aligned its positions with the oil and gas industries, while senior figures at the organisation have denied climate science. In 2020, the AFBF became part of the Transport Fairness Alliance, a coalition of predominantly oil and gas trade associations set up to lobby against cleaner transport measures.  The AFBF claims to represent 6 million “member families” and spent $3.3 million on lobbying in 2019, according to OpenSecrets data. [67], [68], [69]
  • Cargill – Cargill is the largest privately held company in the US and one of the largest agricultural businesses in the world. Cargill trades in products including cocoa, soy, grains and palm oil, and is one of the United States’ largest producers of beef. In 2020, Cargill was profiled as “the worst company in the world” by the campaigning organisation Mighty Earth and former Democrat Congressman, Henry Waxman. This is in large part due to criticism surrounding Cargill’s contribution to the deforestation of the Amazon and for “taking advantage” of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s rollback of environmental protections, despite the company’s pledge to end deforestation for all commodities in its supply chain by 2020. Cargill has also been criticised for its contribution to the contamination of water sources, including to the 8,200 square-mile so-called “dead-zone” in the Gulf of Mexico, which has been created from toxins released into waterways during meat production. [70], [71], [72], [73], [74]
  • The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) – The IFBF is the Iowa state affiliate of the AFBF. The IFBF has repeatedly lobbied against federal and state policies to reduce carbon emissions, and, as of 2017, had around $462 million invested in fossil fuels through its insurance arm, the FBL Financial Group. The IFBF has previously promoted climate denial, with the policy platform for the organisation in 2015 stating “man’s effect on climate change is uncertain, and science does not give clear direction for any federal or state policy option.” [67], [75], [76]
  • Bayer Crop Science  – Bayer Crop Science is the agrochemical and biotechnology division of the German life sciences company, Bayer Ag. As of February 2020, it was one of the five biggest pesticides manufacturers in the world and in July 2018 it completed a $63 billion acquisition of fellow global pesticides company Monsanto. [77], [78]
  • Corteva-Agriscience – Corteva-Agriscience is an agrochemical and seed company and another of the world’s five largest manufacturers of pesticides, as of February 2020. Corteva was formed from the agricultural unit of DowDuPont, becoming a standalone company in June 2018. [77], [79]
  • Syngenta – Another of the five biggest manufacturers of pesticides, Syngenta has, along with Bayer CropScience, protested an EU ban on “neonicotinoids”, pesticides which have been linked to declines in bee populations. Research by Syngenta which argued there was a “low risk” to bees from the pesticides was described by scientists at St Andrews University as “inadequate.” [77], [7]

Members (2010, 2012, 2020)

Member Name201020122020
Abengoa Bioenergy Trading U.S. Y 
Absolute Energy, LLC YY
Accenture Y 
Ace Ethanol  Y
Adams Grain Company  Y
Advanta US Inc. Y 
Ag Processing Inc. (AGP)YYY
Agniel Commodities LLCYYY
AgReliant Genetics LLCYYY
Agri Alpha Inc.Y  
Agribase International Y 
AgriStar Global Networks, Ltd.Y  
Al-Corn Clean Fuel  Y
Amaizing Energy Denison, LLCYY 
American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE)  Y
American Farm Bureau FederationYYY
American Feed Industry AssociationY  
American Seed Trade AssociationYYY
Archer Daniels Midland CompanyYYY
Arkansas Corn and Grain Sorghum BoardYYY
Arkansas Farm BureauYYY
aT Grain Company (AGC) Y 
Attebury Grain , LLC YY
Badger State Ethanol, LLC  Y
BASF Plant ScienceY  
Bayer CropScienceYYY
Beck’s Superior HybridsYYY
Big River ResourcesYYY
Blue Water Shipping Company  Y
Bluegrass Farms of Ohio, Inc.  Y
Boardman Enterprises  Y
Bratney CompaniesYY 
Brea Commodities Inc.Y  
Bunge North America Inc.YY 
Bureau Veritas AgriFood  Y
C&D (USA) Inc YY
Carbon Green BioEnergy, LLC YY
Cardinal Ethanol, LLC  Y
Central Life Sciences  Y
Ceroilfood (New York) Inc Y 
CF Industries Enterprises, LLC  Y
CF Industries, Inc.YY 
Channel Bio Corp.YY 
Chief Ethanol Fuels  Y
CHS Renewable Fuels Global Trading  Y
CME GroupYY 
Co-Alliance LLPY  
Colorado Corn Administrative Committee  Y
Colorado Corn Growers Association  Y
Commodity & Ingredient Hedging LLC  Y
Commonwealth Agri-Energy, LLC  Y
Conestoga Energy Partners, LLC  Y
Consolidated Grain and Barge Co.YYY
Corn Growers Association of North Carolina, Inc.YYY
Corn Marketing Program of MichiganYYY
Corn Producers Association of TexasYYY
Corn Products International Y 
Corn Refiners Association, Inc.YYY
Corteva Agriscience  Y
Cotecna Inspection Inc.  Y
Crosbyton Seed CompanyY  
Custom Marketing CompanyYY 
Deere & Company YY
Deerfield Ag Services  Y
DeKalb County Farm BureauYY 
DeLong Company Inc.YYY
Denco II, LLC  Y
Didion, Inc  Y
Dow AgroSciences L.L.C.YYY
DuPont Pioneer  Y
Eco-Energy  Y
Ecolab, Inc  Y
Elanco Animal HealthYYY
Elite Octane  Y
Engelhart CTP  Y
Eurofins GeneScan Inc.Y  
Evercorn  Y
Farm Credit Services of America YY
Flint Hills Resources Fairbank LLC Y 
Flint Hills Resources Iowa Falls LLC Y 
Flint Hills Resources LLC  Y
Flint Hills Resources Menlo LLC Y 
Flint Hills Resources Shell Rock LLC Y 
Fluid Quip Process Technologies  Y
Fornazor International Inc. YY
Frey  Y
Furst McNessYY 
Glacial Lakes Energy, LLC Y 
Global Ethanol, LLCY  
Golden Grain EnergyYYY
Grain Densification International  Y
Granite Falls Energy, LLCYYY
Green Plains Renewable Energy Inc. YY
Gro Alliance, LLCY  
Growth Energy  Y
GSI Group, LLC Y 
H & B Specialties, Inc.YY 
Hang Tung Resources Co., LTD  Y
Hawkeye Gold LLCYY 
Hawkeye Menlo, LLCY  
Hawkeye Renewables, LLC – FairbanksY  
Hawkeye Renewables, LLC – Iowa FallsY  
Hawkeye Shell Rock, LLCY  
Heron Lake BioEnergy, LLC  Y
Homeland Energy SolutionsYY 
Husker Ag, LLC.  Y
ICM Inc.  Y
Idaho Barley CommissionYYY
Illinois Corn Growers AssociationYYY
Illinois Corn Marketing BoardYYY
Illinois Department of AgricultureYY 
Illinois Farm BureauYYY
Illinois Renewable Fuels Association YY
Independent Professional Seed Association  Y
Indiana Corn Marketing CouncilYYY
Indiana Farm Bureau, IncY Y
Innovative Ag Services  Y
International FeedYYY
Intertek Agri  Y
Iowa Corn Growers AssociationYYY
Iowa Corn Promotion BoardYYY
Iowa Economic Development Authority  Y
Iowa Farm Bureau FederationYYY
Iowa Renewable Fuels Association  Y
Iroquois Bio-Energy Company, LLC  Y
J.D. Heiskell & CompanyYY 
J.D. Heiskell Gold Office  Y
KAAPA Ethanol LLC  Y
Kansas Corn CommissionYYY
Kansas Department of Agriculture  Y
Kansas Ethanol, LLC  Y
Kansas Farm Bureau  Y
Kansas Grain Sorghum CommissionYYY
Kentucky Corn Promotion CouncilYYY
KimShe International Grain & Feed, LLC Y 
Land O’Lakes, IncYY 
Landus Cooperative  Y
Lansing Trade GroupYY 
Lincolnland Agri-Energy YY
Lindsay CorporationY  
Little Sioux Corn ProcessorsYYY
Los Angeles Harbor Grain Terminal Y 
Louis Dreyfus CommoditiesYYY
Louisiana Soybean and Grain Research and Promotion BoardYYY
Macon County Farm BureauYY 
Macquarie Bank Limited Y 
Marinex Grains Inc. Y 
Marquis Grain Inc. YY
Maryland Grain Producers Utilization BoardYYY
McCaulay Dalton & Company USA LLC Y 
McKay Seed Company  Y
Michigan Corn Growers Association  Y
Midwest Ag Enterprises, Inc.Y  
Midwest AgEnergy Group  Y
Midwest Shippers Association Y 
Minnesota Corn Growers AssociationYYY
Minnesota Corn Research and Promotion CouncilYYY
Minnesota Department of AgricultureYYY
Mirasco Inc. Y 
Missouri Corn Growers AssociationYYY
Missouri Corn Merchandising CouncilY Y
Missouri Department of Agriculture  Y
Monsanto CompanyYYY
Monsanto/Corn States Hybrid Service, LLCYY 
Montana Wheat and Barley CommitteeYYY
Murex LLC  Y
National Barley Growers AssociationYYY
National Corn Growers AssociationYYY
National Sorghum ProducersYYY
Nebraska Corn BoardYYY
Nebraska Corn Growers Association  Y
Nebraska Department of AgricultureYYY
Nebraska Ethanol Board  Y
Nebraska Farm Bureau FederationYYY
Nebraska Grain Sorghum BoardYY 
North Dakota Barley CouncilYYY
North Dakota Corn Utilization CouncilYYY
North Star Grain International LLCY  
Northwest Grains International, LLC Y 
Novus InternationalYY 
Nutriquest, LLC  Y
OCP Research, LLC  Y
Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association  Y
Ohio Corn Growers AssociationYY 
Ohio Corn Marketing ProgramYYY
Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, Inc.YY 
One Earth Energy  Y
Pacific Ethanol, Inc.  Y
Pasternak, Baum & Co., IncYY 
Patriot Renewable Fuels LLCYY 
Pellet Technology USA, LLC  Y
Perdue AgriBusiness, LLC  Y
Phibro Ethanol Performance GroupYYY
Pioneer Hi-Bred, A DuPont Company Y 
Pioneer, A DuPont CompanyY  
Platinum Ethanol LLCYY 
Premium Ag ProductsY  
Quality Technology International, Inc.YY 
Rail Transfer Incorporated  Y
Raizen North America  Y
RBC Logistics LLC Y 
Remington Seeds LLCYY 
Renewable Fuels Association  Y
Renewable Products Marketing Group (RPMG)YYY
Russell Marine Group  Y
Rycom Trading Ltd. Y 
SCAFCO Grain SystemsYY 
Scoular  Y
Seedburo Equipment CompanyYY 
Siouxland Energy Cooperative  Y
South Dakota Corn Growers AssociationYYY
South Dakota Corn Utilization CouncilYYY
South Dakota Farm BureauYYY
Southport Agencies Inc.  Y
Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy, LLC  Y
Specialty Soya and Grains Alliance  Y
Stone Arch Commodities  Y
StoneX Group Inc.  Y
Syngenta Seeds, Inc.YY 
T. Parker Host  Y
Tate & Lyle Food and Industrial Ingredients, AmericasYY 
Tate & Lyle Ingredients Americas Inc.  Y
Texas Corn Producers BoardYYY
Texas Farm BureauYYY
Texas Grain Sorghum AssociationYYY
Texas Grain Sorghum Producers BoardYYY
Tharaldson Ethanol Plant I, LLC  Y
The Hale Group Ltd.YY 
The Scoular CompanyYY 
Touton USA LimitedYY 
Trans Coastal Supply Co. Inc.YY 
United Grain Corporation (UGC) Y 
United Sorghum Checkoff ProgramYYY
United Wisconsin Grain Producers LLC YY
Valero  Y
Valero Marketing & Supply CompanyYY 
Value-Added Science and Technologies (V-AST)Y  
Value-Added Science and Technologies (V-AST) LLC Y 
Virginia Corn BoardYYY
Washington Grain CommissionYYY
West Plains CompanyY Y
Western New York Energy LLCYYY
Western Plains Energy, LLC  Y
White Energy Holding Company, LLC  Y
Wisconsin Corn Promotion Board, Inc.YYY
Wyffels Hybrids, Inc.YYY
Zeeland Farm Services, Inc YY
Feed Management Systems, IncY  
Illinois Foundation Seeds, Inc.Y  
Uriman Inc. Y 

(Data available from the USGC‘s website and archived webpages). [2], [80], [81]

Independent contractors

The USGC has used the following independent contractors, according to its 990 form in 2018.

  • Green Orange LLC. – Has represented the USGC at the European Union, according to the EU Transparency Register. [9]
  • Hogan Lovells
  • Centrec Consulting Group
  • Stefan Unnasch

Coalition membership

  • The International Grain Trade Coalition (IGTC) – The USGC is a member of the IGTC, a coalition of over fifteen major grain-related trade bodies from the US, Australia, South Africa, the EU, China, Argentina, Canada, Brazil and Mexico. The IGTC has previously lobbied the European Union over its GMO legislation and called on it not to include gene-editing techniques under legislation used for GMOs. [82], [83]
  • The USGC was part of a “global alliance” of “agriculture and biofuels partners” that pressed global leaders at the 2019 COP25 climate conference in Madrid to “bolster support for ethanol as a renewable fuel.” Other members of the coalition included Growth Energy, the Renewable Fuels Association, the World Bioenergy Association, Ethanol Europe, Solutions from the Land, and the Climate Ethanol Alliance. [62], [63]

Contact & Address

20 F Street NW,

Suite 900,


DC 20001

T: 202.789.0789 [84]

Social Media


  1. About the Council,” U.S. Grains Council. Archived July 22, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/8FAnt  
  2. Member directory,” U.S. Grains Council. Archived August 19, 2020. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.  
  3. Ethanol Market Development,” U.S. Grains Council. Archived August 19, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/SqWQ3  
  4. Transcript – Public Hearing on Negotiating Objectives for a USUK Trade Agreement (PDF),” Trade Policy Staff Committee, Office of the United States Trade Representative. January 29, 2019. Archived July 23, 2020. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.  
  5. Comments on the negotiating objectives for a U.S – EU Agreement,” U.S. Grains Council. Archived August 19, 2020. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog  
  6. The Pesticide Action Network UK, Sustain and Dr Emily Lydgate. “Toxic Trade: How Trade Deals Threaten to Weaken UK Pesticide Standards,” Pesticide Action Network UK. Archived August 12, 2020. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.  
  7. Philip Case. “Bayer and NFU battling to overturn neonicotinoids ban,” Farmers Weekly, June 4, 2020. Archived August 12, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/RwhG9  
  8. Natasha Foote. “EU Commission set to vote on ban of controversial organophosphate pesticides,” Euractiv. December 4, 2019. Archived August 12, 2020. Archive.fo URLhttp://archive.fo/GjYaM  
  9. Green Orange,” EU Transparency register. Archived August 19, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/sBBH  
  10. All About Sorghum,” Sorghum Checkoff. Archived August 20, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/QgOFl  
  11. Building Trust Over Time: USGC Recognizes Bob Bowman for 15 Years of Service,” U.S. Grains Council. Archived August 20, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/OVqAi  
  12. U.S. Grains Council Board Names LeGrand as Next President and CEO – Press Release,” U.S. Grains Council, May 2, 2019. Archived August 20, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/WGkUw  
  13. USGC Global Presence,” U.S. Grains Council. Archived August 20, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/OVqAi  
  14. Biofuels Explained,” US Energy Information Administration. Archived August 6, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/IAB8p  
  15. David Biello. Biofuels are Bad for Feeding People and Combating Climate Change,” Scientific American, February 7, 2009. Archived August 6, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/xG1Go  
  16. Sybille de La Hamaide. “European ethanol makers fear influx from U.S. and Brazil,” Reuters, May 6, 2020. Archived August 20, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/WDjFW  
  17. US Grain Council – About Us,” AgriProFocus. Archived August 20, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/dlQIe  
  18. USGC Annual Report – 2018,” U.S. Grains Council. Archived August 20, 2020. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.  
  19. Foreign Agricultural Service,” U.S. Federal Register. Archived August 20, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/7XQ8  
  20. About Us,” U.S. Dairy Export Council. Archived July 20, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/zFblG  
  21. USAPECC awarded nearly $6 million from USDA Foreign Agricultural Service,” WATTAgNet. Archived August 20, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/SSip9  
  22. Teshome Hunduma. “GMO debate is democratic test for liberalizing Ethiopia,” Ethiopia Insight, June 3, 2020. Archived August 20, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/G5oZB  
  23. About USGC membership,” U.S. Grains Council. Archived August 28, 2020. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/SVpmJ  
  24. Foreign Agricultural Service,” United States Mission to the European Union website. Archived July 20, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/akQpG  
  25. Aerin Einstein-Curtis. “US grains commodity group awarded over $13m in USDA funding,” Feed Navigator, February 5, 2019. Archived August 20, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/RINat  
  26. USDA Launches Trade Mitigation Programs – Press Release,” U.S. Department of Agriculture, September 4, 2018. Archived August 20, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/3cccy  
  27. U.S Grains Council Appoints Ryan LeGrand as President and CEO Effective Mid-June,” Grain Net, May 2, 2019. Archived August 20, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/3GeU1  
  28. USMCA Enters Into Force, Paves Way for Improved Agricultural Market Access – Trade Policy Update,” U.S. Grains Council, July 2, 2020. Archived August 20, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/gkEQY  
  29. Sharon Treat. “‘New NAFTA” imposes hurdles to delay and weaken public protections,” Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, October 2018. Archived August 20, 2020. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.  
  30. Kyla Tienhaara. “Nafta 2.0: What are the implications for environmental governance?Earth System Governance, Vol 1. January 2019. Archived August 20, 2020. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.  
  31. Sabrina Rodriquez. “Treasury’s currency report due today,” Politico Weekly Trade (newsletter), October 15, 2018. Archived August 20, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/GOtSV  
  32. Board of Directors,” U.S. Grains Council. Archived July 22, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/LJ4LM  
  33. Board of Directors,” U.S. Grains Council. Archived July 22, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/LJ4LM  
  34. Board of Directors,” U.S. Grains Council. Archived November 4, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/8AKQe  
  35. Board of Directors,” U.S. Grains Council. Archived July 8, 2017. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/aF4RC  
  36. Board of Directors,” U.S. Grains Council. Archived August 8, 2016. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/0ZoG1  
  37. Board of Directors,” U.S. Grains Council. Archived August 1, 2015. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/eQIUo  
  38. Board of Directors,” U.S. Grains Council. Archived July 27, 2014. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/6WDGP  
  39. Board of Directors,” U.S. Grains Council. Archived March 28, 2013. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/yFh7z  
  40. Board of Directors,” U.S. Grains Council. Archived April 6, 2012. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/xTAH8  
  41. Board of Directors,” U.S. Grains Council. Archived April 10, 2011. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/1Hzag  
  42. Board of Directors,” U.S. Grains Council. Archived November 29, 2010. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/UFTGF  
  43. Board of Directors,” U.S. Grains Council. Archived April 23, 2009. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/9zSUJ  
  44. Board of Directors,” U.S. Grains Council. Archived May 19, 2008. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/M4xxs  
  45. Board of Directors,” U.S. Grains Council. Archived July 4, 2007. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/1YwLw  
  46. Board of Directors,” U.S. Grains Council. Archived September 30, 2006. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/TkvBC  
  47. Board of Directors,” U.S. Grains Council. Archived April 27, 2005. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/wPael  
  48. Board of Directors,” U.S. Grains Council. Archived May 9, 2004. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/m8t3K  
  49. Board of Directors,” U.S. Grains Council. Archived August 20, 2003. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/pdN48  
  50. Advisory Teams,” U.S. Grains Council. Archived July 22, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/wGWoc  
  51. Advisory Team Leaders,” U.S. Grains Council. Archived June 11, 2020. Archive.fo URL
  52. Advisory Team Leaders,” U.S. Grains Council.  Archived December 1, 2019. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/z5C33
  53. Advisory Team Leaders,” U.S. Grains Council.  Archived October 5, 2018. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/0LCt6
  54. Advisory Team Leaders,” U.S. Grains Council.  Archived July 8, 2017. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/T9opo
  55. Advisory Team Leaders,” U.S. Grains Council.  Archived April 24, 2016. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/hHoNm
  56. Advisory Team Leaders,” U.S. Grains Council.  Archived August 4, 2015. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/eQIUo
  57. Advisory Team Leaders,” U.S. Grains Council.  Archived July 27, 2014. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/iDltw
  58. Advisory Team Leaders,” U.S. Grains Council.  Archived March 28, 2013. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/ah3nY
  59. Advisory Team Leaders,” U.S. Grains Council.  Archived June 21, 2012. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/8cJmA
  60. Sarantis Michalopoulos. Commission repeals US anti-dumping duties on ethanol, irritates industry,” Euractiv, May 17, 2019. Archived July 22, 2020. Archive.fo URL:http://archive.fo/bRNrs
  61. Erin Voegele. “EU repeals anti-dumping duties on US ethanol,” Ethanol Producer Magazine, May 15, 2019. Archived August 20, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/3idrn
  62. U.S. farm leaders tout role at COP25 meeting,” The Fence Post, December 6, 2019. Archived August 20, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/4IoJA
  63. U.S. Grains Council et al. “COP25 Ethanol Press Release,Ethanol Europe. December 5, 2019. Archived August 20, 2020. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
  64. Growth Energy, USGC, RFA Submit Comments to UK Department of Transport on Benefits of E10 – Press Release,” Growth Energy, September 19, 2018. Archived August 20, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/2mgLd
  65. E10 petrol: UK to standardise higher ethanol blend,” The Guardian, March 4, 2020. Archived August 20, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/KsMiH
  66. C. Ford Runge. “The Case Against More Ethanol: It’s Simply Bad fro the Environment,” Yale Environment 360, May 25, 2016. Archived August 20, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/Uqp4y
  67. Neela Banerjee, Georgina Gustin, John H. Cushman Jr. “The Farm Bureau: Big Oil’s Unnoticed Ally Fighting Climate Science and Policy,” Inside Climate News, December 21, 2018. Archived August 20, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/2LH96
  68. Kevin Grandia. Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman believes in global cooling,” Desmog, July 16, 2009
  69. Impact Report – 2018,” American Farm Bureau Federation. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
  70. Chloe Sorvino. “Silent Giant: America’s Biggest Private Company Reveals its Plan to Get Even Bigger,” Forbes, October 22, 2018. Archived August 20, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/lbml2
  71. Sustainable Beef,” Cargill. Archived August 20, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/V9t5o
  72. David Yaffe-Bellany. “From Environmental Leader to Worst Company in the World,” The New York Times, July 29, 2019. Archived August 20, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/oVyO0
  73. Cargill named worst company in the world,” Mighty Earth, July 11, 2019. Archived August 20, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/KucdW
  74. Oliver Milman. “Meat industry blamed for largest ever ‘dead zone’ in Gulf of Mexico,” The Guardian, August 1, 2017. Archived August 20, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/0iKbW
  75. Austin Frerick highlights another Iowa Farm Bureau conflict of interest,” Bleeding Heartland, February 26, 2020. Archived August 20, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/95Lac
  76. Resolutions Adopted at the 9th Annual Summer Policy Conference September 4, 2014,” Iowa Farm Bureau Federation. Archived August 20, 2020. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog
  77. Crispin Dowler. “Revealed: The pesticide giants making billions on toxic and bee-harming chemicals,” Unearthed, February 2, 2020. Archived August 20, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/lPZS5
  78. Ruth Bender. “How Bayer-Monsanto became one of the worst corporate deals – in 12 charts,” The Wall Street Journal, August 28, 2019. Archived August 20, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/9ZGtC
  79. Corteva ™ Separates from DowDuPont to Form Leading Pure-Play Agriculture Company,” Corteva Agriscience, June 3, 2019. Archived August 20, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/f9Iux
  80. Our members,” U.S. Grains Council. Archived April 3, 2010. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
  81. Our members,“ U.S. Grains Council. Archived September 2, 2012. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
  82. Production Innovation – Biotechnology,” U.S. Grains Council. Archived August 20, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/ffxht
  83. Sarantis Michalopoulos. “Trade body: don’t lump ‘new plant breeding techniques’ in with GMOs,” Euractiv, May 3, 2016. Archived August 20, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/lWIdC
  84. Home,U.S. Grains Council. Archived July 20, 2020. Archived July 22, 2020. Archive.fo URL: http://archive.fo/4pgDJ

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