Chris Novak is taking over as CropLife America’s next president and CEO effective Aug. 20. Novak, who’s been serving as CEO of the National Corn Growers Association, will replace Jay Vroom, who’s held the top job at CropLife since 1989. Vroom announced his planned retirement last fall. Novak has been chief executive at NCGA since 2014. From 2008 to 2014, he led the National Pork Board, and from 2004 to 2008 he was executive director of the Indiana Soybean Alliance.

President Trump has chosen Mary Neumayr to chair the Council on Environmental Quality. Neumayr has been serving as the council’s chief of staff since March 2017. Before that she held a variety of positions with the House Energy and Commerce Committee, including deputy chief counsel, energy and environment; senior energy counsel; and counsel. She also has held high-level positions with the Energy and Justice departments. The president’s first nominee for council chair, Kathleen Hartnett White, withdrew from consideration earlier this year amid opposition from Democrats and some Republicans who questioned her scientific expertise. Membership on the Council on Environmental Quality requires Senate confirmation.

Kellogg Co. named Chris Hood, currently president of Kellogg Europe, as president of Kellogg North America. Hood joined Kellogg in 2012 as part of the Pringles acquisition after 19 years with Procter & Gamble, where he was VP and general manager for Pringles North American business. Taking his role as president, Kellogg Europe, is Dave Lawlor, who’s been serving as vice president, European Cereal Business. The new jobs start July 1.

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has a new chief of staff. He’s Loren Walker, who previously worked as a government policy adviser at Schramm, Williams & Associates. Walker holds an MBA from the Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School… Andrew Fisher, formerly a staffer with Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., has moved over to USDA, where he’s working in the Farm Production and Conservation mission area under Bill Northey, Undersecretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services.

The White House says President Trump plans to nominate Terri L. Donaldson as the Energy Department’s Inspector General. Since September 2017, Donaldson has been serving as general counsel for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. She began her career as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Florida, and later served as general counsel for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue appointed six new members to serve on the National Pork Board. They are: Gary Asay, Oscon, Ill.; Rich Deaton, New Madison, Ohio; Pat FitzSimmons, Dassel, Minn.; David Newman, Myrtle, Mo.; Bill Tentinger, Le Mars, Iowa; and Todd Erickson, Northwood, N.D.  The Board, which administers the Pork Checkoff, is composed of 15 pork producers who are nominated by the National Pork Producers Delegate Body. “The National Pork Board works to help increase domestic demand for pork both domestically and internationally,” Perdue said, pointing out that last year nearly $6.5 billion of U.S. pork was sold in more than 100 countries around the world… Meanwhile, NPB’s board elected Steve Rommereim as its president at the organization’s June board meeting. Rommereim is the owner of Highland Swine, near Alcester, S.D., which markets 10,000 pigs annually. David Newman, from Jonesboro, Ark., was elected vice president, and Mike Skahill, from Williamsburg, Va., is the new treasurer.

Tracey Chow is now federal government affairs specialist at the Western Growers Association. The Cal State-Fresno alum previously was a legislative assistant for Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif.

The National Biodiesel Board announced the promotion of Kaleb Little to director of communications. Little has been with NBB since 2010, most recently as senior communications manager. NBB also named Paul Winters as its director of public affairs and federal communications. Winters joins NBB from the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, where he’d been serving as director of communications in the Industrial & Environmental Section since 2003.

Syngenta this week announced two key leadership appointments in its U.S. seeds business. David Elser, a 21-year veteran with the company, will take on the newly created role of head of Top Producer Grower Segment. Additionally, G.W. Fuhr joins Syngenta as head of U.S. Branded Sales and Biofuels. Fuhr spent more than 19 years at DuPont Pioneer leading teams in both North America and Europe, as well as working globally to develop a long-term portfolio strategy. 

The Biotechnology Innovation Organization elected several chairs and vice chairs for its section governing boards at the recent 2018 BIO International Convention in Boston. Katrine Bosley, the CEO of Editas Medicine, will chair the Emerging Companies Section governing board; Philip Miller, vice president, global corporate affairs for Monsanto, and Ronald Stotish, president and CEO, AquaBounty Technologies, were elected as the new chair and vice chair, respectively, of the Food and Agriculture Section governing board; and Jeremy Levin, chairman and CEO, Ovid Therapeutics, was elected as the new vice chair of the Health Section governing board. BIO’s Board also elected a new slate of executive committee members for the 2018-2019 term. Click here to see a list of the new members and their affiliations.

The Animal Agriculture Alliance has six new board members. They are: Michelle Tollefson, representing Bayer HealthCare; Dave Pyburn, representing the National Pork Board; Paul Schlegel, interim representative for the American Farm Bureau Federation; Evelyn Greene, with American National CattleWomen; Lisa McComb, representing Dairy Management Inc.; and Marc Reiner with the United Soybean Board. AAA also announced 14 renewed seats on the board. To see a complete list of Alliance board members, click here.

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers elected Caterpillar executive Philip Kelliher to its board of directors. Kelliher is Caterpillar’s vice president, Americas & Europe Distribution Services Division. AEM also announced that Anthony Fassino, Caterpillar’s vice president, Building Construction Products Division, was elected to fill an unexpired term on AEM's construction sector board.

The National Wildlife Federation hired Mike Saccone to serve as associate vice president for communications. Most recently, Saccone was communications director for the Keystone Policy Center. He also served in the same position for former Sen. Mark Udall and worked as a reporter with the Daily Sentinel of Grand Junction, Colo.

Jamie Konopacky has joined Sand County Foundation as senior attorney and watershed policy specialist to lead a new effort aimed at reducing farm-runoff pollution in the Mississippi River Basin. The project will examine how a successful model in Wisconsin can be adapted in Illinois and Iowa to improve water quality. Konopacky joins the Foundation having recently completed a post-doctoral fellowship in watershed policy at the Harvard Environmental Policy Initiative. Konopacky also worked on the 2018 Farm Bill reauthorization, focusing on incorporating a strong watershed focus into the farm bill’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program. 

Pharmgate Animal Health is adding two new members to its leadership team. Randy Buller is the new vice president of global sales, marketing and technical services, and Dr. Charles Francisco is director of veterinary technical services. Buller had been serving as president and CEO of Paragon Animal Health since 2017, and previously had held leadership positions at Merial Ltd. and Newport Laboratories, as well as Boehringer Ingelheim, Eli Lilly & Company and Elanco. Francisco joins Wilmington, N.C.-based Pharmgate from JBS United Animal Health where he was the director of technical services.

The world of food lost a powerful advocate with an original voice last week with the death of visionary chef and hypnotic storyteller Anthony Bourdain. In a blog post on the website Meatingplace, Craig Morris, the National Pork Board’s VP for international marketing, provided this assessment of Bourdain’s impact, and we find it tough to beat: “In every episode of his award-winning show, Bourdain sought to develop meaningful relationships with the chefs and the cooks, the butchers and the artisans he met during his travels, and truly understand what inspired them. He genuinely sought that cultural connection, and found it through food. He recognized that food was powerful; that it brings people together, forges bonds, builds memories, and develops nostalgia. He appreciated the final product, and the sum of its parts, for what they were.”  

For more news, go to