The American Soybean Association (ASA) board tapped Ryan Findlay to lead the organization. He fills a position previously held by Steve Censky, who left ASA last year after he was nominated to serve as Deputy Secretary of Agriculture at USDA. Most recently, Findlay worked as Syngenta’s industry relations lead for North America. Prior to joining Syngenta, Findlay worked as a regional representative and national legislative counsel for the Michigan Farm Bureau. Before that, he was office manager for former Michigan State Senator Cameron Brown.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association says Pam Bailey will be stepping down as president and CEO of the organization later this year. Her resignation, after nearly 10 years at the helm of GMA, follows the recent departure of several important members from the association. Denzel McGuire, GMA’s executive VP for government relations, left GMA earlier this month after four years on the job. She’s been replaced by Brian Folkerts, who served as vice president of public and government affairs for Mondelez International from 2012 to 2016, following five years as VP of U.S. government affairs for Kraft Foods Inc. More recently, he led the confirmation effort for U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.

President Trump nominated Naomi C. Earp, who chaired the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under President George W. Bush, to be an Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for Civil Rights. A lawyer, Earp’s federal equal opportunity, civil rights compliance, and public policy career includes positions with the Departments of Commerce and Agriculture, and the National Institutes of Health.

Michael Torrey Associates expands by adding Barbara Patterson as Director of Government Affairs and Marissa Dake to support client projects. Most recently, Patterson served as Government Relations Director at the National Farmers Union. The Michigan native also managed a cooperative agreement with the Food and Drug Administration to provide education to local food producers and processors on food safety and the Food Safety Modernization Act. Dake previously served in administrative roles for Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kansas.

Daren Williams is leaving the Denver area for the Golden State where he’s taking over as senior director of global communications for the Almond Board of California. Williams has been serving as senior executive director for communications for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association since 2006.

Greg Nickerson is the new board chairman at Bader Rutter, the Wisconsin-based marketing and advertising agency, and the firm’s president, Jeff Young, will also serve as CEO. The moves are part of a multiyear succession plan designed to accommodate the agency’s growth since its purchase by employees in 2008.

Michael Watson was named associate administrator for USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. He’d been serving as associate deputy administrator for APHIS’ Marketing and Regulatory Programs Business Services since last July. Mark Davidson, associate deputy administrator for Veterinary Services overseeing National Import-Export Services, is taking over that position.

Three key staff members of Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts were presented with “Friends of Wheat” awards by the National Association of Wheat Growers and the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers. This year’s recipients include James Glueck, Wayne Stoskopf and Will Stafford.

Mike Bloomquist was promoted to staff director for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is chaired by Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore.  He’s been serving as deputy staff director. Bloomquist has been with the committee since 2011 and has served as deputy general counsel and general counsel.

The U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) board of directors elected new officers for the year starting in July. Current Vice Chairman Chris Kolstad of Ledger, Mont., will be the new chairman; current Secretary-Treasurer Doug Goyings of Paulding, Ohio, will move up as vice chairman; and Darren Padget of Grass Valley, Ore., was elected secretary-treasurer.

CME Group says Leo Melamed, the chairman emeritus of CME’s board of directors, will retire from the board when his current term ends in May 2018. Melamed, who is recognized as the founder of financial futures, introduced the International Monetary Market in 1972. CME also said retired Chairman Jack Sander will step down from the group’s board in May. Sander has been on the board 1978 and a member of CME for more than 45 years. Both Melamed and Sander will serve as consultants to the board for two years after their retirement.

Directors of the American Coalition for Ethanol re-elected Duane Kristensen as president of the ACE board. Kristensen is general manager of Chief Ethanol Fuels, which owns ethanol plants in Hastings and Lexington, Neb. Ron Alverson, with Dakota Ethanol in Wentworth, S.D., is treasurer after serving as ACE’s board president for the past five years. Dave Sovereign, with Golden Grain Energy in Mason City, Iowa, is the board’s vice president. Greg Krissek, with the Kansas Corn Growers Association, is board secretary. All of the above were elected to ACE’s executive committee, as was Troy Knecht, with South Dakota Corn Growers Association.

Ted Schneider, from Lake Providence, La., will serve as president of Cotton Council International (CCI) for 2018. Schneider succeeds Eduardo L. (Eddy) Esteve, a merchant from Dallas, who is now CCI board chairman. Schneider is the owner/operator of a 3,600-acre diversified farming operation in northeast Louisiana and southeast Arkansas. Other officers elected include: first vice president, Hank Reichle, Greenwood, Miss.; second vice president, Richard L. (Ricky) Clarke, III, Cordova, Tenn.; and treasurer, Ted Sheely, Lemoore, Calif. In addition, Gary Adams, Cordova, Tenn., was elected as secretary and Bruce Atherley, Washington, D.C., was elected as assistant secretary.

Lori Apodaca joined the California Citrus Mutual staff as director of regulatory affairs. Apodaca graduated from UC-Berkeley in 2001 and spent the early part of her career working at the International Trade Commission as a senior trade analyst. She also worked in program management for the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development. At CMM, her initial focus will be on crop protection tools, air quality, and water use proposals.

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam recognized Martha Rhodes Roberts as the 2017 Woman of the Year in Agriculture for her outstanding contributions to agriculture in the state. Roberts dedicated 35 years of service to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, beginning in 1968, where she championed policy changes for the advancement of Florida’s agriculture industry, trade and production practices. She was appointed Assistant Commissioner of Agriculture in 1984. She also served 13 years as Director of Industry Relations and then as Special Assistant for Government Affairs for the University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Carolyn Morrow Cheney, a longtime Capitol Hill staffer who later became an influential lobbyist in Washington, died Feb. 8 at the age of 77. Cheney came to D.C. in 1972 to serve on the staff of newly elected Rep. James R. Jones, D-Okla. From 1976 to 1983, she worked for the Commission on Administrative Review and as staff director of the Agriculture Subcommittee on Domestic Marketing and Nutrition, helping to forge the 1981 farm bill. She later worked in government relations for Philip Morris and Staley Continental. Beginning in 1991, Cheney represented the Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida. She was a founding member of the American Sugar Alliance and at the time of her death was on the ASA board. A funeral service will be celebrated on Feb. 20 at 11 a.m. at the Christ Church + Washington Parish, 620 G Street SE, Washington, DC.

The veterinary world is mourning the passing of Saul T. Wilson, who is recognized as a visionary leader in the control and eradication of animal diseases. Wilson received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Tuskegee University in 1950 before beginning his career with USDA’s Bureau of Animal Industries (which later became part of APHIS) as a field veterinarian and one of the country’s early African-American public veterinarians. He worked on the Mexico-U.S. Foot-and-Mouth Disease Eradication Commission and served in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps during the Korean War. He later returned to APHIS Veterinary Services, where he was pivotal in the eradication of many livestock diseases including hog cholera and exotic Newcastle disease. In 1986, he received the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Executive Service and USDA’s Distinguished Service and Superior Service Awards. After retiring from APHIS in 1989, Dr. Wilson returned to his alma mater and served as a professor of epidemiology and director of the Center for Tropical Animal Health.

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