U.S. Grains Council delegates recently elected Brent Boydston of Bayer Crop Science as Chairman during the 63rd annual Board of Delegates meeting. He talks about his involvement in agriculture and the USGC.
“My involvement basically goes back to when I was born. Some of my first memories are riding on that tractor and in the combine with my dad and granddad when they would be planting and harvesting. And then, I followed that love for agriculture throughout my career, going to Kansas State, then to Washington D.C. I worked on ag policy there, then went to Colorado Farm Bureau. And then I currently work for Bayer Crop Science in St. Louis. So, all facets of the value chain of the grain industry, and then I still have a farm in Kansas.”
Boydston talks about the important role the Council plays in U.S. agriculture.
“A lot of folks just think about trade when they think about the U.S. Grains Council, and that is the main part of what they do in helping facilitate those trade relationships. But it’s more than that. One thing I’ve learned over my time is it’s not just trade. You get into regulatory issues. You can get into issues around maximum residue levels that involve crop protectants. Some countries are a little bit leery about traits that farmers use to offer additional protections. It gets into the uses of the products in the case of ethanol and DDGs. This is all work that the Council does.”
In addition to working for Bayer, Boydston also has experience serving with the Colorado Farm Bureau and spent more than seven years working on Capitol Hill, including work on trade policy. His theme for the year is “Growing the Future.”
“I’m not going to lie; I came up with a sitting on a planter. You can’t just plant a crop in the ground and then go walk away from it. You have prep work you have to do. You plant it, you tend it through the season, you harvest it, you put it in the bins, and you protect the grain until you ultimately send it to whoever you sell it to. That is the exact same as what the Grains Council does. We go into places, into frontier markets, they develop those relationships, they develop those processes that are needed to help facilitate getting those U.S. corn, barley, and sorghum products into those emerging markets and those new markets. It’s also working with our various established markets. It’s not just a plant and walk away. It’s not just meet and walk away. It’s planting. It’s meeting. It’s tending that relationship for one, five, ten, 20, and 50 years.”
Boydston talks about a couple of the projects he’s looking forward to working on.
“The biggest one that I have right now is continuing with some of the partnerships that we have in North and East Africa. When you look at the population of Africa and what it’s projected to do over the next 10 to 15 years, it’s going to be increasing exponentially. And we already have a foothold with the council in Morocco, Tanzania, Kenya, and Tunisia. Also, it’s helping to increase and working to increase those higher levels of ethanol going into some of the Asian markets. We now have an office in Delhi, India, which is going to be very beneficial.”