U.S. Dry Bean Council
June 18, 2008
The purpose of the USBC is to increase the consumption of beans grown and processed in the United States and to create expanded market opportunities for growers and private enterprises involved in the United States bean industry. Programs may include, but are not limited to domestic and international market development, nutrition research, and bean promotion.
The U.S. Dry Bean Council is made up of 14 dealer, grower and corporate members and is divided into ten committees.
The USDBC is a resource of information that collaborates with universities, research centers, and public health organizations. USDBC works to keep beans in the food aid program for both the private and public sector. The Council is constantly working with Congress to help them better understand the bean industry and its issues.
Keeping in contact with other commodity groups within the Washington agricultural community helps USDBC focus on key points and priorities on legislative matters such as NAFTA and the Farm Bill. The staff of USDBC maintains contact with different levels of government at the USDA, USTR and the Ag Trade Coalition to discuss issues of government affairs or agricultural issues.
The Council facilitates trade shows and trade missions globally. Past shows include the 2008 International U.S. Bean and Specialty Crops Congress, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; 2007 Mexico Harvest Tour; China Market Intelligence Mission and more. The goal of bringing buyers and sellers together serves everyone in the dry bean sector.
The export market is very important to the dry bean industry and USDBC representatives are working hard to meet the challenges of overseas markets. Demand trends, planting/production of foreign markets and duties and taxes are all issues dry bean growers deal with and USDBC works diligently on these matters.
Meet the Staff at USDBC
Connie Bradford,FAS Compliance Director
Connie is the FAS compliance director for the USDBC. Connie brings over 25 years of experience working with FAS compliance issues having worked for the USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council for 19 years and the U.S. Dry Bean Council since 2003.
She oversees the accounting department, working on both domestic and international issues; develops yearly reports/marketing plans (UES), contribution reports; and works with auditors to make sure all records are in compliance with FAS regulations. She has done compliance for 25 years with the FAS program and makes sure USDBC complies with all the government regulations.
Robert Sindt, Legal Counsel to U.S. Dry Bean Council
Robert is the Government Affairs Liaison in Washington and has represented USDBC for nearly five years. He provides legislative representation with primary focus on regulatory work. He also provides administrative interfacing with agencies important to the industry and to growers. An important function of his work is with the Government Affairs and Agriculture Issues Committee of the U.S. Dry Bean Council.
Sindt is in contact with other commodity groups within the Washington D.C. agricultural decision making community. He represents the council and engages the bean industry with other commodity coalitions and other agricultural coalitions.
Jeane Wharton, Executive Director USDBC
Jeane Wharton was named executive director of the U.S. Dry Bean Council in April 2008. She will be responsible for overseeing the operational duties at the Council which will also include developing a new website. The mission of the U.S. Dry Bean Council is to increase the consumption of U.S. dry beans. As executive director, Jeane will be part of the team that works toward that goal.
Randy Duckworth, Director of Worldwide Activities
Randy recently moved to the newly created positions of Director of Worldwide Activities and Representative for the Central America and Caribbean regions. The position change allows him to pursue his passion for international marketing and U.S. dry bean promotion while being based abroad. In this new capacity, he coordinates international program activities for the USDBC while also serving as regional representative in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and Costa Rica. There are many opportunities for the U.S. dry bean industry as new retail outlets and the food processing industries develop across the region creating more opportunities for promotion of value-added products. As a USDBC representative Randy will encourage and facilitate importation and consumption of U.S. dry beans by packagers, canners, supermarkets and other bean importers in the region by visiting them personally and sharing information about U.S. production, harvests, special qualities, suppliers, etc. Ultimately, our objective is to create a preference for U.S. dry beans and develop partnerships whereby bean products are identified as being of U.S. origin.
He has previously worked for the U.S. Dry Pea & Lentil Council, the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers, the California Raisin Marketing Board, and most recently as executive director for the U.S. Dry Bean Council from January 2004 - March 2008.