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USCP welcomes executive director

The United Sorghum Checkoff Program is pleased to welcome Virgil Smail of Manhattan, Kan., as the new USCP executive director.

With a strong history of industry and commodity association management, Smail will bring great experience and leadership to the USCP. As president and CEO of the American Institute of Baking, Smail was responsible for drastically expanding institute programs and worked with a board of directors representing the top 30 baking and allied industry presidents and senior vice presidents. In his most recent career accomplishment, Snail served as Senior Director of Research and Development for the Milling Division of ConAgra Foods.

"The USCP Board and I look forward to working with Virgil and are extremely confident in his leadership ability," Bill Greving, USCP Board Chair, said. "He brings a successful track record from his past employment and brings a level of expertise that we believe will be beneficial in furthering Checkoff Program initiatives to improve profitability for sorghum producers."

Smail served as the first full-time Director and CEO of the National Association of Wheat Growers Foundation in Washington, D.C., and collaborated closely with growers and industry representatives while implementing Foundation activities. He also worked with sorghum breeding programs as the Vice-President of Corporate Development for Biotechnica Agriculture and on the Egyptian Major Cereals Improvement Program in Egypt, a USAID funded project.

"I am excited about the opportunity to work closely with the USCP Board to make significant progress in improving the sorghum industry. I plan to hit the ground running in this new position," Smail said. "The USCP is a huge step forward for this industry. From producers to end-users, I am confident that sorghum has a bright future."

Smail has worked in the grain industry for 25 years. Among his many career accomplishments, are serving as the Department Head for the Grain and Science Industry at Kansas State University and as Center Director for the Grain Marketing and Production Research Center for USDA/ARS. His past positions will serve him well as he begins as USCP Executive Director.

The United Sorghum Checkoff Program is a producer funded self-help program that promotes research, promotion and education to improve profitability for sorghum producers.



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