Atkins named Vice President and COO of U.S. Grains Council

Farm Forum

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Kimberly Atkins, a longtime staffer and current director of global programs for the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), will be the next vice president and chief operating officer (COO) of the organization.

In her new role, she will oversee the daily operations and management of the Council including relationships with strategic and member partners and oversight of the Council’s strategic plan. Atkins has been with the Council for 10 years, working in roles focused on management and execution of the Council’s global operations. She will assume the VP/COO role as of Aug. 1.

“Having worked with Kim for many years, I am confident that her understanding of the complexities of the Council both managerially and organizationally will serve her well,” said USGC President and CEO Tom Sleight. “She is a skilled team builder and a pays close attention to detail, which are critical skills to running a high-functioning organization.”

Cary Sifferath, currently USGC’s regional director for the Middle East and Africa, will take oversight of the organization’s global offices as senior director of global programs. With the Council 22 years, Sifferath has run regional offices in Southeast Asia and North Africa and country offices in Japan and China.

Atkins’ and Sifferath’s appointments are the cornerstones of a staff leadership realignment to enhance the Council’s global integration and capacity to respond to both near-term market developments and long-term market opportunities. The changes are prompted in part by the pending retirement of Dr. Erick Erickson, the organization’s current vice president, on Aug. 7.

“The work of the Council to sustain and build markets, take on increasing competition, capture value-added opportunities and maintain our relationships with customers and members requires constant vigilance and creativity,” Sleight said. “These changes to our leadership team give me every confidence we are ready to take our programs and our operations to the next level.”

The Council is a private, non-profit partnership of farmers and agribusinesses committed to building and expanding international markets for U.S. barley, corn, sorghum and their co-products, including distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and ethanol.

The Council is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and has 10 international offices that oversee programs in more than 50 countries. Financial support for the Council’s programs is provided from private industry members, including state checkoffs, agribusinesses, state entities and others, as well as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) via export market development programs included in the 2012 Farm Bill.

More about the Council’s work is available at or on social media at and