Overseas Directors Are USGC’s “Boots on the Ground”
The upcoming U.S. Grains Council 9th International Marketing Conference and 52nd Annual Membership Meeting (Feb. 13-15) in Panama will offer Council members and attendees an unparalleled opportunity to share information with all 10 of the Grains Council’s international directors.
“As your ‘boots on the ground,’ they are in a unique position to share the latest developments in their regions,” said Tom Sleight, USGC vice president of operations and membership.
“In Panama, we will devote an entire lunch session to a ‘meet your international director’ opportunity,” Sleight explained. “Instead of giving formal presentations, our directors will rotate from table to table to facilitate individual interchanges.”
Director-member exchanges at Council meetings present a dynamic trade in information, according to Cary Sifferath, USGC senior regional director for the Mediterranean and Africa.
“I know members value the chance to ask questions and get the latest word on developments in our overseas markets, but we as international or country directors also benefit from hearing what’s going on in Texas, Idaho or Indiana.
“It’s all about sharing information to connect the dots. What we learn from Council members puts us in a stronger position to speak on behalf of U.S. exports when we go back to our country offices.”
Federal Agency Consolidations Pose Concerns for USGC, Ag Trade
President Obama requested approval from Congress Friday to consolidate six federal trade and commerce agencies. This consolidation plan concerns the U.S. Grains Council, said Rebecca Bratter, vice president of international operations, because of the impact it will have on agricultural trade. Click here to hear what she had to say.
Panama: Much More than a Canal
Long before the Canal, Panama was a strategic link for Spanish conquistadores. Later as part of the Spanish empire, Panama shipped as much as 60 percent of the gold that flowed into Spanish coffers. To explore this history and culture behind modern Panama, register for one, or all, of the optional tours that the U.S. Grains Council will host during the 9th International Marketing Conference and 52nd Annual Membership Meeting.
The Panama City Tour, Sunday, Feb. 12, will take participants back to the early 1500s, where Balboa first saw the Pacific and where the first Spanish city was founded on the misnamed Southern Ocean.
The USGC tour schedule will include historic Spanish ruins, the city’s colonial sector and a panoramic view of the city at the Pacific entrance to the modern Canal.
On Monday, the Malambo Orphanage Tour presents a rare opportunity to “give back” to our host country. Participants will have a chance to practice the Council’s mission by improving the lives of disadvantaged Panamanian children at the San Jose Malambo Orphanage, run by the Catholic Sisters of Mercy.
Opened in 1890, the orphanage depends on individual and corporate donations to serve 180 children and administer a school for 400 more. Space is limited on this tour, so advance registration is necessary.
For a step back into Panama’s pre-Columbian past, Tuesday’s Handicrafts and Jewelry Tour will take participants to one of Panama City’s best handicrafts markets, where members of the Kuna and Embera tribes sell traditional masks, molas and jewelry, much of it modeled after pre-Columbian artifacts.
Finally, Thursday’s Gamboa Rain Forest Tour opens the door to the vibrant Panamanian rain forest, from research ponds of frogs and fresh-water fish to an orchid nursery and butterfly show. The tour will culminate in a cable car ride through a lush forest canopy to a panoramic view of the Canal and Panama’s Parque Nacional Soberania. Don’t miss the exceptional photo opportunities.
Council says Farewell to Sean Callanan
Sean Callanan, current USGC manager of programs, will depart the U.S. Grains Council on Jan. 29, 2012, to join a new initiative at the Cotton Council International (CCI) as program manager – greater Europe. Sean has been a recognized asset at the Council. The knowledge and experience he brought to the position will be missed.
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