Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) note with deep sadness the passing of industry pioneer Dr. Owen J. Newlin.
Dr. Newlin contributed to tremendous growth in the Council and ASTA during his more than 50 years of involvement, playing an instrumental role in raising funds to support ballot initiatives to create state corn checkoff programs; initiating Pioneer’s overseas missions to educate future farmer leaders; and sustaining efforts to defend the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Market Development (USDA’s FMD) program through more than two decades’ worth of farm bill negotiations.
“The leadership and forward thinking that was the basis of Owen’s participation in ASTA’s Board and grain industry activities was truly monumental,” said Andy LaVigne, ASTA president & CEO.
“The leadership of ASTA cannot put into words the impact Owen had on the association and our position on the U.S. and global levels.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with D.J. and the Newlin family. Owen will truly be missed.”
Newlin joined Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. (now part of Corteva Agriscience) in 1955 as a research assistant, becoming production manager and then division president before serving as senior vice president with responsibility for the finance, information management, human resources and seed production operations of Pioneer’s North American operations.
Pioneer was represented at the Council from the organization’s very first meeting in 1960.
Less than a decade later, Newlin became the company’s official delegate.
He remained a Council delegate until his death, serving on various committees throughout his tenure including on the USGC Board of Directors from 1976-1980 and as the Council’s chairman from 1978-1979.
In 2005, The U.S. Grains Council honored Owen J. Newlin with a tribute award for a lifetime of distinguished achievement and service.
Newlin was also the longest-running ASTA past president who remained an active participant on the ASTA Board of Directors as a lifetime honorary member and chair of the Subcommittee for Strategic and Allied Partnerships.
In 2016, ASTA honored him with its inaugural Lifetime Industry Achievement Award - thereafter known as the Owen J. Newlin Lifetime Seed Industry Achievement Award - which recognizes exceptional professionals whose career contributions to the seed industry span more than 50 years.
“Dr. Newlin’s influence runs deep as a driving force behind exposing more growers to the international marketplace and ensuring market development organizations, including the Council, had stability with which to do their work. His contributions to our industry cannot be overstated,” said Ryan LeGrand, USGC president and chief executive officer.
“He was a larger than life figure in his family, his community and especially in our industry and will be dearly missed.”
The Council and ASTA send the Newlin family our sincere sympathies during this difficult time.