Riceland Foods Appoints New CEO

Jason Brancel named President and Chief Executive Officer

STUTTGART, Ark. (March 14, 2022): Riceland Foods, the world’s largest miller and marketer of rice and one of the Mid-South’s major soybean processors, today announced Jason Brancel has been named President and Chief Executive Officer by the Board of Directors. An extensive, extremely competitive nationwide selection process identified Brancel as successor to Danny Kennedy, who retired from his 21-year career with Riceland in July 2021.

“Jason has nearly three decades of impactful cooperative leadership experience, four years of which were with the largest farmer owned cooperative in the United States,” said Chairman of the Board of Directors, Roger Pohlner. “He is the ideal value-driven, fiscally responsible and forward looking leader for Riceland as it adapts and grows into its second century of service to its farmer-members, employees, customers and suppliers. We enthusiastically welcome Jason to Riceland Foods.”

Brancel’s experience in cooperative leadership was the defining factor in the Board’s hiring decision. As he looks forward to taking the helm, Brancel says, “Successful cooperatives bring an intense focus to the needs of their Members, always keeping them at the heart of the business and its decisions. Member communication and collaboration are of the utmost importance, and these days, communication takes many shapes and forms. Technology provides convenience for spreading information quickly, but there really is no substitute for in-person communication across large and complex cooperatives like Riceland Foods. At the end of the day,” Brancel continued, “my goal is to inspire our team to provide innovative solutions to challenges members find difficult to solve on their own. I eagerly look forward to learning from and working closely with the Riceland Foods team while also traveling throughout our member service area to engage with our farmer-members, so that together we can build upon the success Riceland has found in creating solutions over the last 100 years.”

A Selection Committee comprised of six members of the Board of Directors conducted a rigorous and wide-ranging search beginning in July 2021. FCCS, a provider of specialized executive searches in the cooperative agriculture segment, was engaged to facilitate the recruitment process. A large initial prospect pool of 29 candidates was identified, considered, and narrowed in stages by the Selection Committee until a final round of four candidates was considered by the full Board of Directors. The Board unanimously approved Jason Brancel as the final selection. 

“We’re confident Jason is the right CEO to lead Riceland in its next chapter of growth and success,” said John Cooper, Chairman of the Selection Committee and member of the Board of Directors. “It was evident to the committee almost immediately that Jason’s passion for our mission, business acumen, high performance mindset, and ability to create collaborative relationships between members and the cooperative’s team members would align well with the work of Riceland Foods and the markets we serve.”

Brancel brings over a decade of C-Suite level experience in cooperative leadership, including his current role as President and CEO of Agfinity, Inc of Loveland, Colorado. His employment with Riceland will commence in April. Andrew Dallas, who has been serving as Interim President as well as Vice President and Legal Counsel for the last nine months will continue as Vice President and General Counsel.

ABOUT JASON BRANCEL 

Jason Brancel brings a deep and varied experience of leading agricultural cooperatives to his new role as President and CEO of Riceland Foods. At present, Brancel serves as the President and CEO of Agfinity, Inc of Loveland, Colorado, where he led the rebirth of the cooperative and significant organizational growth. Prior to Agfinity, Brancel held leadership positions including Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Credit Officer, and Executive Vice President –Energy. In his 28+ year career in cooperative leadership, Brancel has developed extensive integration processes to assist cooperatives with strategy execution while bringing teams together across multi-state trade areas. 


Brancel is regularly invited to speak at agribusiness industry events and participate in thought leadership roundtables on topics such as credit and finance, governance, organizational structures, leading change, and the evolving agribusiness landscape. His leadership places an emphasis on organizational culture, collaborative working relationships across members and cooperative team members, integrating effective data-driven tools that promote a positive work environment and a sustainable values-based organizational culture. 

Brancel has a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Wisconsin- Platteville and a true commitment to lifelong learning.  He has completed extensive subsequent coursework to include: Graduate Institute of Cooperative Leadership at the University of Missouri; Cenex Land O’Lakes General Manager’s Leadership Institute; CHS Future 40 Program at the University of Minnesota; FCC Services Advanced Leadership Program; and Leading for Results at North Dakota State University. In service to the ag sector and community, Brancel presently serves on the Land O’Lakes Executive Council representing Region Three, and the Northern Colorado and Wyoming Better Business Bureau’s Board of Directors. His past volunteer leadership activities were centered around youth education, economic development, and financial institution board service.

About Riceland Foods, Inc

Riceland Foods and its family farmers have provided the world with wholesome, nutritious rice since 1921. Grown in the United States, our rice is known for its high quality and versatility, and that’s why Riceland has become a trusted brand around the globe. Riceland is a cooperative, which means we are owned by our 5,500 family farmer members who are also our stockholders and growers. For more information visit: www.riceland.com.

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