Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue last week filled a number of empty administrator slots in key USDA agencies. Ken Isley is taking over at the Foreign Agricultural Service; Martin Barbre was named to head the Risk Management Agency, and Joel Baxley is now running the Rural Housing Service. Agri-Pulse had earlier predicted Isley’s and Barbre’s selections. Perdue also announced the appointment of Tommie Williams as Minister-Counselor for Agriculture at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture in Rome. Isley most recently served as Special Adviser for Corteva Agriscience, the agriculture division of DowDuPont. He began his career with Dow back in 1989. Barbre is a past president of the National Corn Growers Association Corn Board, and Baxley previously was senior real estate technical consultant with the Financial Advisory Services of RMS US. Williams is a former onion farmer from Toombs County, Georgia, who served as majority leader and president pro tempore of the Georgia State Senate before retiring in 2006. During that time he was an ally of Perdue, who was the state’s governor from 2003 to 2011.

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, named Gary Andres as the panel’s new majority staff director. Andres held the same job with the House Energy and Commerce Committee from January 2011 until February 2017. He also served Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush as deputy assistant to the president for legislative affairs.

Michael Catanzaro is heading back to his former lobbying firm, the CGCN Group, after a year at the White House as special assistant to the president for domestic energy and environmental policy. His clients at CGCN included major oil companies and oilfield service providers, including Hess Corp., Noble Energy Inc. and Halliburton Co., as well as the American Chemistry Council. Federal law prohibits former White House officials from lobbying their previous agency for one year after their departure. Catanzaro also served on Capitol Hill as a senior policy adviser to the House Speaker and a deputy Republican staff director on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

Senate Rules Committee Chairman Roy Blunt, R-Mo., tapped Fitzhugh Elder as the panel’s new staff director. Elder has been serving as deputy staff director for the Senate Appropriations Committee. A former senior policy adviser with The Russell Group, Elder also worked as a lobbyist for the National Rural Water Association.

Brian Reuwee moves to a new job as a director with Osborn and Barr in their St. Louis office, where he will work on the United Soybean Board account. For the past four and a half years, Reuwee has been director of communications and marketing with the Agricultural Retailers Association.

Peter Matz is the new director of food and health policy at the Food Marketing Institute. Matz joins FMI from OFW Law, where he spent most of the past decade as a government relations adviser, helping companies and trade associations across the food, beverage and ag sectors devise legislative strategies.

President Trump plans to nominate Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum and World Food Bank CEO Richard Lackey to the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development. Trump picked Keenum, an agricultural economist who served as a USDA undersecretary under President George W. Bush, to be board chairman. Board members provide advice on U.S. international assistance efforts in areas such as global food security and world hunger.

University of Arkansas professor Marty Matlock is the 2018 winner of the Borlaug CAST Communications Award. The Council on Agricultural Science and Technology says Matlock “has become the world’s leader in the science of agricultural sustainability during the past 10 years through his global communications effort.” The winner was announced Tuesday at USDA headquarters in Washington.

Meat giant JBS USA, which is a majority shareholder in Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., named Lance Kotschwar head of ethics and compliance for the company’s operations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Prior to joining JBS USA and Pilgrim’s, Kotschwar served as the chief ethics and compliance officer and vice president for government and industry affairs at The Gavilon Group LLC, a leading commodity management firm. Kotschwar was also a top lawyer on both the Senate and House Agriculture committees and the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Agweek writer Jonathan Knutson has assumed the presidency of the North American Agricultural Journalists after serving as vice president. He’s replacing Ed White, with Winnipeg-based Western Producer.

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