USA – U.S. Grains Council (USGC) has appointed Ryan LeGrand, current council director in Mexico as new president and chief executive officer, effective mid-June.

He succeeds Tom Sleight, who announced his retirement from the council this February.

LeGrand joined USGC in Mexico in 2015 and has served as the director of the council’s Mexico City office since 2016.

He has overseen the expansion of the council’s programming in that country to include ethanol promotion and worked to steady relations with the U.S. and Mexican feed and livestock industries during the negotiations of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

“His steadfast and level-headed leadership comes at a critical time amid challenges around the world for U.S. trade and a rapidly growing program of Council activities in markets that show potential for new demand,” said Jim Stitzlein, USGC chairman.

“Ryan has shown dedication to measured growth for U.S. grains and co-products in Mexico, our most important export market and neighbour.

“We are certain the Council is in good hands with Ryan’s confident leadership and look forward to working.”

During his tenure in Mexico, he is said to have contributed the council’s expansion including increasing U.S. DDGS demand, cultivating both large and small craft brewers to purchase more U.S. barley and encouraging sorghum use by Mexican livestock producers.

He had earlier worked a year in USGC’s Washington, D.C.-based office as a manager of international operations.

Prior to USGC, LeGrand worked for Gavilon as the director of ingredients in Mexico, located in Guadalajara, managing the company’s feed ingredients trading, import and distribution throughout the country.

LeGrand also served as the director of exports for Hawkeye Gold, LLC, exporting DDGS to Latin America and Asia.

Speaking on his appointment, LeGrand said: “I am honored to have been selected for this role at the council and look forward to expanding trade opportunities for the grain, ethanol and related products we promote around the world.

“The American farmer works extremely hard each year to produce quality crops, and I look forward to working with our members and staff to continue our mission of opening, maintaining and defending foreign markets.”

He holds a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University in international business.