Bruce Benschoter, a longtime grain industry leader, passed way effects of COVID-19 on Jan. 11.
Benschoter held a number of senior positions in the grain industry and served in a variety of volunteer roles with industry associations, including the Transportation, Elevator, and Grain Merchants Association (TEGMA).
“Bruce (pictured at right) was truly one of a kind. And in his day was a force of nature – he was full of energy and he was a doer, he got things done. He represented the industry and TEGMA on many occasions. We could always count on him," TEGMA President Bob Petersen said.
According to the book "TEGMA - Celebrating 100 Years," Benschoter, began his career in 1960 with The Pillsbury Co. and later joined Vanice Grain in Omaha as president of the firm.
When Bunge Corp. acquired Lauhoff Foods and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Vanice Grain, Benschoter became vice president and Southwest Regional manager for Bunge.
After retiring from Bunge, he joined Farmland Industries, holding a number of senior positions in the Grain Division. When Archer Daniels Midland Co. acquired Farmland’s Grain Division, Benschoter served as general manager of the joint venture, ADM-Farmland.
He retired from ADM in 2005. He then joined DeBruce Grain where he assisted with special projects. He served as chairman of TEGMA in 2000-2001.
His friends, Mark Huston and Al Vergin, shared their thoughts on Bruce’s passing.
"I first met Bruce in the mid 1980’s. He was one of the individuals that was instrumental in guiding our industry through evolving times in the '80s and '90s that we enjoy the benefits of today," said Huston, director, North American Transportation, Louis Dreyfus Company.
"Bruce was a mentor to many, myself included, in this industry. He was not selfish of this time or knowledge and was always there to lead and guide whenever needed. He was a good friend of so many. We will miss his smile, quick wit and his never ending kindness. Our sorrow and prayers go out to his family, Pat, Gib and Tammy. We all have lost a good friend."
"Although extremely devoted to his wife Pat, Bruce found time to dedicate to his work and create a business and social atmosphere that made you want to be with him," said Al Vergin, retired BNSF Ag Products Group executive. "His creative thinking, sense of humor, and thoughtfulness made him unique. I truly admired this man and his spirit of life. I will miss him as a best friend."
Information on services is pending.