Taking the Helm at the Distillers Grains Technology Council

The DGTC board of directors has now asked me to serve as the next CEO and executive director. It is an honor to carry on this long-standing legacy. Yes, much work has been done over the past several decades, but much more work must be done.
By Kurt A. Rosentrater | February 15, 2014

Long before issues such as the Food Safety and Modernization Act, the blend wall or import tariffs, our industry faced the 10-Million-Ton Question.  You may recall in the early 2000s that this centered on the question: What could we ever do with 10 million tons of distillers grains? Surely we could never use all of these mountains of distillers grains and they would go to waste. Over the years, many in our industry have worked diligently to ensure that these coproducts can increasingly be used in livestock and poultry diets, both domestically and overseas. So far, we haven’t seen our coproducts going to waste. Rather, distillers grains have become the largest feed coproduct in the marketplace.

Ironically, something similar was asked back in the 1940s, when the distilleries were producing increasing quantities of coproducts. “Grain Distillers have developed equipment and an attractive market for their recovered grains,” C.S. Boruff wrote in his paper, “Recovery of fermentation residues as feeds” in the Industrial & Engineering Chemistry journal in 1947. In 1952, he wrote in the journal article, “Grain distilleries,” “Distillers are recovering, drying, and marketing their destarched grain stillage as distillers dried grains and dried solubles.” It appears that the question about value-added coproduct use has been around for quite some time, and it also appears that a viable solution had already been developed as far back as the 1940s. During this period, the Distillers Feed Research Council began researching how best to feed distillery coproducts to animals, instead of disposing of them in the rivers, and to educating livestock producers and animal nutritionists on best use in diets. One of its primary educational events has been an annual symposium.

In 1996, the board of directors voted to change the name of the organization to the Distillers Grains Technology Council with Charlie Staff serving as the CEO and executive director. The DGTC has continued to serve the beverage alcohol industry, the fuel ethanol industry and the livestock industry, focusing on improving the value and utilization of distillers grains in animal feeds. After 17 very successful years at the helm, Staff retired earlier this year.

The DGTC board of directors has now asked me to serve as the next CEO and executive director. It is an honor to carry on this long-standing legacy. Yes, much work has been done over the past several decades, but much more work must be done. The industry continues to evolve, as do our challenges and opportunities.  

Some of the issues that we must address are new, but some have been around for quite some time. First and foremost on everyone’s minds is the upcoming implementation of new FSMA rules. Many in the animal feed industry are working to understand the implications of these rules, and are providing comments and feedback to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 

On another note, the ethanol industry has adopted oil removal technologies at an astonishing rate in just a few years time, but research has not quite kept pace. The industry needs more research conducted on how best to use both the lower-oil content distillers grains in livestock diets, as well as how best to use the distillers oil. Yes, dozens of feeding trials have been conducted over the past several decades, but we do need more to understand how to optimally use these new coproducts. 

Speaking of distillers oil, at the midyear meeting of the Association of American Feed Control Officers held in New Orleans in January, the AAFCO definition, T33.10 Distillers Oil, Feed Grade, was recommended for “tentative” status. Formal acceptance of the definition is pending approval by the membership at next summer’s annual meeting. This is a very positive step forward, and thanks are due to the efforts of many to get to this point, especially the ethanol plants that provided data, the Renewable Fuels Association and the DGTC. Other issues that must still be addressed will be topics of future columns.

The DGTC will continue to build upon its legacy. We will endeavor to foster partnerships with ethanol producers, livestock nutritionists and producers, affiliated companies, trade associations across these industries and universities. We will also continue outreach and educational efforts, including our annual symposium. The 2014 symposium will be held May 14-15, in Dallas, Texas. We are developing a slate of compelling speakers, and we invite you to attend. More information can be found on our website at www.distillersgrains.org, or you can check out the Facebook page for the Distillers Grains Technology Council.

If you have any questions or need any assistance, please feel free to contact us. We look forward to continuing to work with you.


Author: Kurt A. Rosentrater
Executive Director, Distillers Grains Technology Council 
[email protected]


Distillers Grains Technology Council Members

Full Members
Alltech Inc.
Archer Daniels Midland
Barton 1792 Distillery
Beam Global Spirits & Wine Inc.
Interstate Commodities Inc.
Land O’Lakes, Purina Feed LLC

Associate Members
Afec Commodities Inc.
American Feed Industry Assoc.
Beta-Tec Hop Products
Brown Forman Corp.
Commonweath Agri-Energy
DSM Food Specialties
FEC Solutions
Ferm Solutions 
Flint Hill Resources LP
Hawkeye Gold LLC
Hoxie Feedyard
International Ingredient Corp.
Katzen International Inc.
Lallemand Biofuels & Distilled Spirits
Lifeline Foods Inc.
Nobel Mansfield Commodity Services
Novozymes North America Inc.
Pioneer, a DuPont Co.
Poet Nutrition
Renewable Fuels Association
The Andersons Inc.
Trilogy Analytical Laboratory
United Bio Energy
U.S. Commodities
Valero Energy Renewable Fuels