The U.S. Grains Council recently honored Owen Newlin, retired senior vice president of Pioneer Hi-Bred International and long time Simpson Board of Trustee member, with its first-ever tribute award for a lifetime of distinguished achievement and service.
Newlin, who has been involved with the U.S. Grains Council since 1970, was called “the godfather” of the council by Tom Sleight, the organization’s current president and CEO. He presented the award to Newlin at the Council’s 54th annual membership meeting.
“He was the driving force behind so many of our principles and current structure, and his contributions cannot be understated,” said Sleight.
Some of Newlin’s accomplishments include helping to shift the council from a purely agribusiness organization to involve producer organizations; expanding the universe of seed companies to participate in the Council; creating the Pioneer Fellows Leadership Development Program; and establishing the Agribusiness Coalition to help influence the continued funding of the Foreign Market Development Program.
Newlin states it more simply: “My motive for working with the Council was to help the U.S. corn farmer and U.S. agriculture while at the same time helping to feed the world.”
And he accomplished that goal. With his guidance, the Council became a more diverse organization by bringing producers, agribusiness, industry and the U.S. Government to the same table.
Newlin has seen many changes in agriculture over his many decades of involvement. “Corn yields in the 1930’s were about 30 bushels per acre, plus or minus,” he says. “Today it is 158 bushels per acre on 12% less land. That is over a 500% increase.”
“It is important to develop markets and enable trade for the surplus of U.S. grain corn and help get that grain utilized which improves lives,” Newlin added.