Business Briefs

By Staff | September 18, 2015

The U.S. Grains Council has announced Michael Dwyer as its new chief economist at its Washington, D.C., headquarters. In the newly created position, Dwyer will provide regular reports and analysis of developments in global supply and demand for coarse grains and products, help staff and members stay abreast of developments in the global market, and develop and maintain information on changing market conditions that will benefit the USGC’s overseas contacts. The position was created in an effort to expand the USGC’s strategic thinking about the global marketplace. Prior to joining the USGC, Dwyer served as director of global policy analysis at the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, where he was responsible for conducting and coordinating analyses on a variety of issues that affected U.S. and world agricultural trade, including those that affected the emerging global biofuels market. The USGC also announced Kimberly Atkins, a long-time staffer and previous director of global programs, as the council’s next vice president and chief operating officer. Atkins has been with the USGC for 10 years, working in roles focused on management and execution of the council’s global operations. Cary Sifferath, who previously served as 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 USGC for 22 years, Sifferath has run regional offices in Southeast Asia and North Africa and country offices in Japan and China. In addition, the USGC announced Haksoo Kim has joined its staff as assistant director in the USGC’s Korea office. He will work with the director in Korea to develop a strategy and plan to identify and address relevant trade, technical and policy-related factors relevant to building and maintaining the market for U.S. coarse grains and coproducts in Korea. In addition, he will assist in directing programs, including strategic analysis, program planning, implementation and evaluation, budget and accounting, personnel, administration and communications. Prior to joining the USGC, Kim was employed by Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp. He also has experience with the USGC from his time as president of aT Grain Corp. when he served as a USGC delegate and sat on the Asia Advisory Team.

The Advanced Biofuels Association has elected Wayne Simmons, president and CEO of Sundrop Fuels, as chairman; Neville Fernandes, president of Neste Oil U.S. Inc., as vice chairman; Wes Bolsen, head of business development and public affairs at Cool Planet, as treasurer; and Phil Caplan, partner at Ensyn Development Partners, as secretary. Appointed as new members to its executive committee were Paul Woods, president and CEO of Algenol; Laurel Harmon, vice president of government relations at LanzaTech; and Rebecca Boudreaux, president of Oberon Fuels.  

New Holland has appointed Bret Lieberman to lead the brand as vice president of North America. Bret joined New Holland in 1990 with a position in service parts. Most recently, he served as head of North America manufacturing, where he has been responsible for all agricultural and construction manufacturing plants since 2009.

UNICA, the Brazilian sugarcane industry association, has joined the Global Renewable Fuels Alliance. Created in 1997, UNICA is the largest organization in Brazil representing sugar, ethanol and bioelectricity producers. The association’s members represent more than 50 percent of all the ethanol produced in Brazil and 60 percent of the country’s sugar production. GRFA members now represent more than 90 percent of the global biofuels production from 45 countries.

The USDA has named Robert Johansson as its chief economist. Johansson has served as USDA’s acting chief economist since January and as deputy chief economist since 2012. He joined USDA in 2001. As chief economist, Johansson is responsible for USDA’s agricultural forecasts and projections and for advising the secretary of agriculture on economic implications of programs, regulations, and legislative proposals. His responsibilities include the Office of the Chief Economist, the World Agricultural Outlook Board, the Office of Risk Assessment and Cost-Benefit analysis, the Global Change Program Office, and the Office of Energy Policy and New Uses. He also serves as chairman of the federal crop insurance board of directors.

Gevo Inc. has appointed Johannes Minho Roth to its board of directors. Roth is the founder and CEO of FiveT Capital Holding AG, a Zurich-based independent asset management firm that specializes in investment solutions for high net-worth clients, family offices and institutional investors. He is also a member of the board of directors for Plug Power Inc. Ganesh Kishore, who joined the Gevo board in 2008, has resigned.

The National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling recently presented the NCGA’s President’s Award to Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D. The award is given annually to a leader who has worked to advance issues important to corn farmers and agriculture. Heitkamp sits on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, on which she helped write, negotiate and pass the 2014 Farm Bill. She has been a leader in pressing the U.S. EPA to set strong renewable volume obligations for renewable fuels, helped introduce bipartisan legislation to require the EPA to redo its proposed Waters of the U.S. rule, and to help support and improve the export of American agricultural commodities to Cuba.

Blume Distillation LLC has announced the sale of its first African-based biorefinery to Numbitrax LLC, based in Touwsriver, Western Cape, South Africa. Numbitrax has completed a purchase agreement and fund transfer for a Blume biorefinery system. The company plans to produce ethanol and additional high-return offtake products.

The Advanced Ethanol Council has expanded its scope and changed its name to the Advanced Biofuels Business Council. Founded in 2011 to represent advanced and cellulosic ethanol producers and technology providers, the rebranded organization has expanded its organizational charter to include other types of advanced biofuels. As part of the expansion, two existing members, Poet-DSM and Cellerate, a cellulosic biofuel joint venture between Quad County Corn Processors and  Syngenta, will take seats on the board of directors. New member company Aemetis will also join the board, while Sweetwater Energy will join the ABBC as a corporate member.

Delegates at the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Congress elected five farmers to serve as the organization’s corn board. Taking office Oct. 1, are new board members Jim Reed of Illinois, Bruce Rohwer of Iowa and Jeff Sandborn of Michigan. Current board members Keith Alverson of South Dakota and Anthony Bush of Ohio were re-elected.