Congratulations to Glen R. Smith who was confirmed by the Senate Tuesday as a member of the Farm Credit Administration Board. Smith owns a family farm in western Iowa that includes 2,000 acres of corn and soybeans. He also is the co-founder of Smith Land Services, a company that specializes in farm management, land appraisal and farmland brokerage services.
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts named Steve Wellman as the new director of the state's Department of Agriculture. Wellman, a fourth-generation farmer and a former president of the American Soybean Association, replaces Greg Ibach, who is now undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs at USDA.
The Environmental Protection Agency hired Molly Block as a press secretary. The University of Michigan alum previously held that position with the House Natural Resources Committee under Chairman Rob Bishop, R-Utah. EPA has also taken on Kelsi Daniell as press secretary for Administrator Scott Pruitt. She had been working as scheduling director for Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark.
Mary-Louise Wagner is the new minority staff director for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee under the panel’s ranking Democrat, Maria Cantwell of Washington. Wagner previously was a senior policy adviser at the Department of Energy. She is replacing Angela Becker-Dippmann.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue named five pork producers to serve three-year terms on the National Pork Board, the 15-member body that administers the pork checkoff program. They are: Brett Kaysen, Nunn, Colo.; Steven R. Rommereim, Alcester, S.D.; Scott Phillips, Drexel, Mo.; Heather Hill, Greenfield, Ind.; and Deb Balance, Fremont, N.C. You can find a full list of board members on the National Pork Board’s website.
Land O’Lakes Inc. promoted Beth Ford to chief operating officer in charge of the co-op’s businesses, and Brad Oelmann to COO for Land O’Lakes Services. Ford joined Land O’Lakes in 2011 from International Flavors and Fragrances where she was responsible for optimizing the company’s global manufacturing infrastructure. She will continue profit-and-loss responsibility for both the Purina Animal Nutrition and the Land O’Lakes Dairy Foods businesses and retain her previous responsibilities for system-wide supply chain operations and IT. At the same time, her role will expand to include responsibility for the WinField United business. Oelmann was named executive vice president for member relations and business development services this past spring. His new role will bring together all services Land O’Lakes offers to its co-op members. In addition, Oelmann will add overall responsibility for Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN, Crop Nutrients, FLM Harvest and Government Relations. Both promotions are effective with the new year.
The National Biodiesel Board recently voted to fill eight board openings. The new members are: Kent Engelbrecht, ADM; Ron Heck, Iowa Soybean Association; Steve Nogel, Ag Environmental Products; Ryan Pederson, North Dakota Soybean Council; Harry Simpson, Crimson Renewable Energy LP; Paul Soanes, RBP Port Neches LLC; Robert Stobaugh, Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board; and Chad Stone, REG Inc. The board also re-elected the current slate of officers with Kent Engelbrecht serving as chairman, Mike Cunningham as vice chairman, Greg Anderson as treasurer and Chad Stone as secretary.
Mark Sanborn has returned to USDA, this time as a senior adviser to USDA’s Rural Development program. He formerly ran the Agriculture Department’s Rural Business co-op service. Most recently, he handled public affairs for the Transportation Department’s Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. He also was the New Hampshire political director in the Trump for President campaign.
Jeremy Freking has started a new job as outreach and operations director with the Ag Development Division at the South Dakota Department of Agriculture. He previously served as the executive director and CEO at the South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council and the South Dakota Soybean Association.
Kent Wilson joined Nestle as manager for policy and public affairs. He most recently managed state legislative activities in the Mid-Atlantic and New York for Target after spending a decade lobbying for General Mills. Earlier in his career, he worked for Michael Torrey Associates and he lobbied for the Grocery Manufacturers Association.
John Zeloski is settling into his new role as director, Mazuri Exotic Animal Nutrition with Purina Mills. He’s returning to Purina after spending six years as vice president, marketing, with Rabo AgriFinance.
Mark Jirik has been selected as the next president of the Northern Crops Institute. He’s replacing Mark Weber, who’s retiring at the end of 2017 after leading NCI for the past six years. Jirik brings to the job more than 17 years of experience in commodity merchandising and commercial management at Cargill. Fargo, North Dakota-based NCI conducts educational and technical programs that expand and maintain markets for northern-grown crops.
Farmworker Justice has registered Adrienne DerVartanian, the group's director of immigration and labor rights, to lobby on behalf of the organization on a variety of issues, including the Agricultural Guestworker Act of 2017, according to Senate records.
The Japanese government has awarded the late Clayton Yeutter one of its highest honors, the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun, for his efforts to strengthen economic relations with Japan while serving as U.S. Trade Representative from 1985-1989. Yeutter’s wife, Cristena, accepted the award at a reception last week at the Japanese Embassy in Washington. Yeutter, a former U.S. agriculture secretary and a one-time chairman of the Republic National Committee, died on March 4, 2017, at the age of 86.