U.S. Grains Council celebrates Gary Marshall’s career contributions to market development
Gary Marshall, CEO of the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council and the Missouri Corn Growers Association, may have missed seeing the pyramids on his first trip to Egypt many years ago, but the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) staff with him made sure he saw nearly every farm in the country that was participating in a USGC program.
The overseas mission was only one of many for Marshall during his career, each emphasizing the importance of connecting farmers directly with their international customers.
“One of the most important things about the council is that relationships are important,” Marshall said. “The ability for our farmers to go and meet their customers or our customers to come to U.S. farms — that’s invaluable to the work that we do. Countries don’t trade; people trade.”
As he now prepares to retire in April, the council recognized Marshall for his years of service during the 18th International Marketing Conference and 61st Annual Membership Meeting.
“Gary is a longtime friend of the council, and we are honored to acknowledge his service,” Ryan LeGrand, USGC president and CEO said. “We thank him for his contributions to the U.S. grains industry and his support of our work to develop markets, enable trade and improve lives around the world.”
Marshall recalled how Missouri Corn members increased their involvement in the council over a long history, even before the state had a checkoff program. After Missouri enacted a corn checkoff program in 1985, the organization started to invest in international markets and travel to see the council’s work firsthand.
In his early days working with the U.S. Grains Council, Marshall served on both the Expanded Executive Committee and the Market Development Committee. He represented U.S. farmers during outreach to Morocco, Egypt, Russia, Ukraine and the Panama Canal. He also served on the council’s board of directors from 2006 to 2010 and was the board liaison to the Trade Policy A-Team in 2009.
Throughout his career, Marshall has actively participated in the Council’s work to meet the specific needs of end-users and promote new products. He highlighted Missouri Corn’s partnership with the council and swine producers in the Mexican state of Sonora to purchase stingers, which helped those end-users increase the efficiency of DDGS shipments arriving at the rail terminal.
He also emphasized the importance of the Council’s work to expand its market development efforts into promoting U.S. ethanol, highlighting the economic and environmental benefits to those who buy the U.S.-produced renewable fuel.
In each of these examples, Marshall reiterated the importance of farmers’ direct involvement in relationship-building and information-sharing market development efforts.
“At the end of the day, people matter,” Marshall said. “I’m going to be watching as we move forward because our farmers must continue to control their own destinies. If farmers don’t do it, who’s going to do it for us? And that is why it’s so important for us to continue to build these markets.”