WASHINGTON — Kendell W. Keith, a 31-year-veteran of the National Grain and Feed Association and the association’s president for the past 25 years, has retired. Randall C. Gordon, a 33-year veteran of the N.G.F.A.’s staff who currently is vice-president of communications and government relations, has been selected to serve as the N.G.F.A.’s acting president.
“The industry is extremely fortunate to have had the benefit of Kendell’s strong leadership, vision, hard work and unswerving dedication for more than three decades,” said Hal Reed, chairman of the N.G.F.A. and chief operating officer for The Andersons, Maumee, Ohio. “Working with our board of directors and industry committees, he literally elevated the N.G.F.A. to the preeminent national leadership role on rail, commodity and futures market, agricultural, grain warehouse, and many other critical public policy areas.”
Mr. Keith is only the fifth person to serve as the N.G.F.A.’s chief staff officer, and only the second to serve a quarter century or longer. Prior to being elected president of the group in 1987, Mr. Keith was vice-president and corporate secretary/treasurer from 1985-87. In that capacity, he administered the operation of the N.G.F.A.’s Trade Rules and Arbitration System.
He joined the N.G.F.A.’s staff in 1980 as director of economic services, with expertise in a range of public policy matters, including government commodity, agricultural policy and grain storage programs; international trade; domestic grain markets; and livestock marketing.
He received his undergraduate, master’s and doctorate degrees in agricultural economics from Oklahoma State University.
Mr. Keith said his work at the N.G.F.A. had been “extremely gratifying.”
“There are few things I would change about that part of my career,” Mr. Keith said. “N.G.F.A., as a major agribusiness organization, has had huge success in Congress and with the federal government in farm policy, trade policy, environmental policy, transportation, feed and food industry issues, and many other areas.”
He attributed those successes to a strong commitment from staff and industry volunteers “to get the job done, and to represent this industry with the highest integrity and in the professional manner it deserves.”
Mr. Keith said perhaps the most satisfying part of his career with the N.G.F.A. involved the consistent application of the organization’s overriding philosophy.
“The N.G.F.A.’s membership believes in free markets and economic growth through free enterprise,” he said. “The organization is committed to a sound and respected government that does not unnecessarily interfere with a capitalist economy, enabling it to perform to its highest potential to generate higher incomes and good jobs.”
Mr. Keith has accepted the N.G.F.A.’s invitation to attend its March 18-20 convention in Charleston, S.C., where he will be recognized for his three decades of service to the industry.