WASHINGTON — Dennis Stephens has been honored by the North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA) with the Amstutz Award, the association’s highest award recognizing exceptional accomplishment and distinguished leadership in free trade and promotion of agriculture. Mr. Stephens is only the eighth recipient of the award, and is the first non-U.S. citizen to be so honored. He was recognized on Feb. 23 during the association’s Gala Centennial Celebration.

The NAEGA established the award in 1998 in honor of its former president and chief executive officer Daniel G. Amstutz, a longtime U.S. grain industry leader and former undersecretary of agriculture at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Born, raised and educated in Manitoba, Canada, Mr. Stephens spent much of his 45-year industry career involved in international grain trade advocacy. His career began in 1967 at Federal Grain Ltd., a publicly-traded Canadian grain company. He later was one of the first staff members at the Canadian International Grains Institute, where he eventually became its executive director.

He also was assistant deputy minister of the National Grains Bureau at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. He currently is a consultant to the Canada Grains Council, and he also is secretary of the International Grain Trade Coalition (I.G.T.C.), an organization that represents the commercial interests of the grain industry worldwide. Under his leadership, I.G.T.C. membership has grown to 23 trade organizations, including the NAEGA, representing more than 8,000 members operating in more than 80 countries.

The NAEGA presents the Amstutz periodically in recognition of extraordinary and noteworthy contributions in promoting export grain and oilseed trade that are deserving of special recognition. Previous recipients are former NAEGA board of directors chairman Bill Hale of Cargill Inc.; Arvid Hawk, also formerly of Cargill; Walter Muff, formerly of Garnac Grain; U.S. Senators Richard Lugar of Indiana and Pat Roberts of Kansas; and the late Michel Fribourg, chairman and chief executive officer of the former Continental Grain Co.