Grain News

NGFA Members Elect New Industry Officers at 118th Annual Convention

Date Posted: April 4, 2014

NGFA members elected Gary Beachner, president and chief executive officer of Beachner Grain Inc. in Parsons, Kan., as the association’s new industry chairman during the 118th annual convention conducted March 30-April 1 in Hilton Head, S.C.

Beachner is the 65th industry leader to serve at the helm of the NGFA.

He also serves on the NGFA’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee, and previously served a two-year term as second vice chairman.

Elected as NGFA’s new first vice chairman was John Heck, senior vice president for business development at The Scoular Company, Omaha, Neb.

NGFA’s newly elected second vice chairman is Eric Wilkey, president of Arizona Grain Inv., Casa Grande, Ariz.

NGFA’s New Chairman: Gary Beachner has been involved in the grain business for more than 26 years, and his firm operates 30 grain elevator and agricultural retail operations in Kansas and Oklahoma.

He also heads several other related agribusiness companies, including a seed processing company in central Kansas, wholesale seed distribution companies in Missouri and Tennessee, and a commercial cattle feedlot in Kansas.

Beachner began his industry career with Cargill Animal Nutrition’s management training program in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and later joined the merchandising group of Archer Daniels Midland Co.’s Milling Division in Overland Park, Kan.

In 1998, he joined with other family members to found Beachner Grain Inc.

A graduate of Kansas State University, Beachner previously served as chairman and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Kansas Grain and Feed Association.

Active in civic and industry activities, he also spent a dozen years as a member of the Kansas State Board of Agriculture, serving as its chairman for four years.

In addition to his service on the NGFA Board of Directors and Executive Committee, Beachner has been a member of the NGFA’s Country Elevator Committee and Finance and Administration Committee.

In addition, he has served as an arbitrator within the association’s system that resolves commercial trade disputes.

NGFA’s New First Vice Chairman: John Heck began his Scoular career in 1981 as a grain merchandiser.

He subsequently became operations manager of its Nebraska Region in 1984 and vice president responsible for management and operation of the Eastern Region in 1985.

He assumed his current responsibilities as senior vice president, business development in 1992.

Before joining Scoular, he worked as an engineering technician for Shoemaker Consulting Engineers and as a construction estimator for the Union Pacific Railroad.

A native of Council Bluffs, Iowa, he received his undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Iowa in 1977.

In addition to serving on the NGFA Board and Executive Committee, he has chaired the association’s Finance and Administration Committee, which interacts with lenders and provides information to ensure the industry has access to adequate working capital to finance grain, feed and processing hedging and operations.

The committee also has interacted extensively with the Risk Management Committee in addressing customer-protection issues arising in the aftermath of the MF Global and PFG Best futures commission merchant insolvencies.

NGFA’s New Second Vice Chairman: As president of Arizona Grain Inc., Eric Wilkey heads a privately held company that operates in the four-state region of Arizona, California, New Mexico and Colorado.

The company merchandises Desert Durum wheat, feed grains and feed ingredients; operates multiple feed mills; and purchases, conditions and markets its own proprietary varieties of cereal grain seed, alfalfa seed and Bermuda grass seed.

Wilkey joined Arizona Grain in 1991 after working six years with Continental Grain Co.

He was named the company’s president in 2006 after serving since 1996 as its vice president and director of merchandising and risk management.

Since 2011, when Arizona Grain purchased Arizona Plant Breeders (APB), he also has served as president of the wheat and cereal grain breeding company.

In addition to serving on NGFA’s Board and Executive Committee, Wilkey previously served as chairman of the Country Elevator Committee and was a member of the Risk Management Committee.

He also has served previously as chairman of the Transportation, Elevator and Grain Merchants Association (TEGMA).

In addition, he is a past Chairman of the Arizona Grain Research and Promotion Council and continues as a council member, serving since 2004.

An Illinois native, Wilkey received an undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois.

For more information, call 202-289-0873.

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