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USDGA provides a voice for durum producers on agricultural policy and the durum industry, while striving to keep producers informed about the latest technology in durum production.


2015 Amber Award Winners:

Del Gates and Hank Thilmony

Del Gates, a durum producer from Mohall, N.D. and Hank Thilmony, executive vice president of Mayco Export Company, received the United States Durum Growers Association’s 2015 Amber Award during the Crop Outlook and International Durum Forum banquet on Nov. 9 in Minot, N.D. The Amber Award recognizes individuals who have shown outstanding commitment and dedication to the durum industry in the areas of production, research or education.


Gates was raised on his family’s farm in Loraine, N.D., which set the stage for his life-long involvement in the agriculture industry. In 1975, after graduating from Mohall high school, he rented his own land and began farming with his parents. He and his wife Vicky raised three children, and are now joined in their farming operation by another generation.


Gates served as a director of the USDGA from 2004-2014. In addition, he held the positions of president and director on the Renville Soil Conservation Board for 12 years. From 1996 to 2002, he served as the director of Renville County Crop Improvement and has served as president and director of North Dakota Crop Improvement, most recently serving as president in 2015. He also served on the North Central Research Extension Center Board of Visitors from 2007 to 2010.  


Thilmony is an Oriska, N.D. native and a graduate of the University of North Dakota. Throughout his career he has been active in the agriculture and durum industries. He started his career as an assistant manager at the Forman Farmers Elevator Association, and later as the assistant manager at LaMoure Farmers Union Grain Co. He then moved into leadership positions at elevators and companies in North Dakota and Waterloo, Iowa. 


Since 1992, Thilmony has worked for Italgrani USA, beginning as the company’s grain trading coordinator. In 1999 he became the executive vice president of Mayco Export Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Italgrani USA. In his current position, Thilmony is responsible for all of Italgrani’s domestic and international durum origination, as well as supervising the Italgrani grain elevator operations in North Dakota.    


“Del and Hank are both very deserving of this award.” says USDGA President Russell Doe. “Hank’s successful and long-standing career is a testimate to his dedication to the durum industry and Del’s commitment and dedication to the durum industry is evident in his production and service on the USDGA Board of Directors.”




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