WASHINGTON, Oct. 25, 20178 - The U.S. Trade Representative’s Office is a step closer to having a new chief agriculture negotiator. This, after the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday approved Gregg Doud,for the position, unanimously in a voice vote. The nomination now goes to the full Senate. Most recently, Doud is president of the Commodity Markets Council and previously served as a professional staff member for the Senate Agriculture Committee and chief economist for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

Congratulations to Wendy Wintersteen on her appointment as the 16th president of Iowa State University. Wintersteen is currently the endowed dean of ISU’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and director of the Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station. On Nov. 20, she’ll succeed Benjamin Allen, who has served as interim president since May 8. Steven Leath, Iowa State’s 15th president, assumed the presidency at Auburn University last spring. Wintersteen has been with Iowa State since 1979, leaving only briefly (1989 to 1990) to serve as acting leader of the National Pesticide Education Program for USDA’s Extension Service.

The EPA could soon have more of its top leadership in place. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee meets today to consider nominees for four assistant administrator positions: Michael Dourson, Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention; William Wehrum, Air and Radiation; Matthew Leopold, General Counsel; and David Ross, Water. Democrats on the committee are strongly opposed to Dourson, a toxicologist with ties to the chemical industries that he would be charged with regulating. If approved, the nominees will still need confirmation by the full Senate.

Alan Tracy, a former president of U.S. Wheat Associates, has signed on as a part-time contractor to assist Bayer Crop Science in matters involving their wheat program and to advise the company on related trade policy issues.  

Rep. Collin Peterson, the ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee, has hired Prescott Martin to serve as counsel to the panel’s minority staff. Peterson, D-Minn., says Martin will play an important role as the committee begins its work on a new farm bill. A North Carolina native, Martin worked for the American Sugar Alliance during consideration of the 2008 and 2014 farm bills.

Matthew Ellison is returning to Capitol Hill as legislative director for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., after spending the last year as policy and communications director for the South Carolina Democratic Party. Before that the Georgetown Law School grad spent more than five years working as a legislative assistant for Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C.

Erin Wilson has moved to USDA from the office of Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Pa., where the legislative aide handled agricultural issues, among other things. At USDA, Wilson will be working as a confidential assistant and policy adviser to the Food and Nutrition Service.

Rabobank is expanding its RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness team with the addition of Christine McCracken as executive director, Animal Protein. McCracken will cover the North American poultry and hog sector. Before joining the RaboResearch team, McCracken spent 18 years as a sell-side Food & Agribusiness analyst.

Todd Batta has been named executive assistant to Farm Credit Administration Chairman and CEO Dallas Tonsager. He replaces Wendy Laguarda, who was recently named FCA inspector general. Before joining FCA last January as deputy director for congressional affairs, Batta served in various high-level positions at USDA, most recently as an assistant secretary for congressional relations.

Farm Credit East Vice President David GaNun was elected as the new president of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers (ASFMRA). The New Jersey native is the first active Farm Credit employee nationally to be elected to this position.

Jim Dinkins has been named president of Coca-Cola Co.’s North American operations effective Jan. 1, succeeding Sandy Douglas, who is retiring. Dinkins is president of Coke’s Minute Maid unit and chief retail sales officer for Coca-Cola North America. Dinkins and Douglas both joined Coca-Cola in 1988.

Albertsons has selected Jim Perkins as president of Safeway’s Eastern Division. He succeeds Dan Valenzuela, who left to pursue other opportunities, the company said. Perkins will remain executive VP, retail operations and special projects at Albertsons, and he also remains president of the Acme chain in the Philadelphia region. Safeway’s Eastern Division operates more than 120 locations in the Baltimore-Washington area. Perkins had been overseeing the integration of the 76 stores that Albertsons acquired from A&P through bankruptcy.

The board of directors of Brazilian meat giant JBS SA elected Jeremiah O’Callaghan as its new chairman. He replaces Tarek Farahat who took over in May after Joesley Batista stepped down amid a bribery and food-safety scandal. O’Callaghan joined JBS in 1996 and has served as the company’s investor relations officer for the past 10 years.

Indoor Farms of America has hired Jake Arterbury as staff biologist and crop scientist, and executive chef Georg Paulussen as global director of culinary operations. Arterbury is a graduate of Baylor University with a strong emphasis on field research and plant physiology. Company CEO David Martin said Paulussen has more than three decades of experience as an executive chef or director of food and beverage for five-star resort companies around the world. Indoor Farms of America has a showroom with demonstration farms operating in Las Vegas and in several locations in Canada and in South Africa, where its patented vertical aeroponic equipment is on display.

David Lapan is joining the Bipartisan Policy Center as its senior director of communications and public affairs. Lapan is a former spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security. He starts the new job Oct. 30.