Growth Energy will soon have a new vice president of communications and public affairs. She’s Jennifer Morris, who previously served as senior vice president of corporate and public affairs at Edelman. Before that she was the head of global public affairs and financial literacy for Visa Inc. and has had previous communications experience on Capitol Hill. Growth Energy also has hired Leigh Claffey, former press secretary to Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, as its communications director.

Caroline Booth is taking a new job on Capitol Hill. Formerly the communications director for the House Rules Committee, she is now chief of staff to the panel’s chairman, Pete Sessions, R-Texas. Taking Booth’s job on the Rules Committee is Laura Peavey, who has been serving as deputy press secretary for Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa. And filling the empty post of press secretary in Ernst’s office is Kelsi Daniell, who is moving over from EPA where she held a similar position. Daniell starts the new job on Monday.

Jake Wilkins, a deputy press secretary at USDA and a former press assistant at the Republican National Committee, says he’s leaving D.C. “temporarily” for “an exciting opportunity in North Dakota that will last through November.” His last day at USDA is Friday.

Good luck to Jameson Cunningham, who is leaving his post as communications director for Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Ill., for a job with Americans for a Free Syria. Cunningham says he’ll be working in a communications and policy capacity “to advocate for human rights, the rule of law and democracy for the Syrian people.”

DowDuPont has added former U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns and former Cargill CEO Greg Page to its advisory committee for its Corteva Agriscience division. The committee will support the DowDuPont leadership team as it moves toward separating its agriculture, materials science and specialty products divisions following Dow’s year-old merger with DuPont.

Matthew Daigler has joined the Commodity Futures Trading Commission as senior counsel to Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo. Daigler most recently was an associate at Allen & Overy.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue appointed four producers to serve three-year terms on the United Sorghum Checkoff Program Board. They are: Craig A. Poore, Alton, Kan.; Boyd Funk, Garden City, Kan.; Jim Massey IV, Robstown, Texas; and Adam Schindler, Reliance, S.D. (at-large). The 13-member board is composed of nine sorghum farmers who represent Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma, the three states with the largest sorghum production, and four at-large national representatives.

President Trump plans to nominate Martin J. Oberman to be a member of the Surface Transportation Board for the remainder of a five-year term expiring at the end of 2023. Oberman currently serves on the Board of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. He previously served as board chair of Metra, Chicago’s public transit agency, a member of the Chicago City Council and general counsel to the Illinois Racing Board. Oberman graduated from Yale University and earned his law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School.  

Robert F. Powelson plans to resign as a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in mid-August to take on the role of president and CEO of the National Association of Water Companies. Powelson, a Republican, was nominated to the FERC position in May 2017 and confirmed by the Senate in August 2017. He came to FERC from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, where he was chairman from 2011 to 2015. Powelson also is past president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.

Five USDA Foreign Agricultural Service employees were sworn in as Foreign Service officers this week during a ceremony at USDA headquarters in Washington. They will begin their Foreign Service careers serving as agricultural attachés at U.S. embassies and diplomatic missions across the globe. The new officers are: Ryan Bedford, from Ogden, Utah (Manila, Philippines); Barrett Bumpas, from Jacksboro, Texas, (Tokyo); Rhiannon Elms, from Martinsburg, W. Va. (Mexico City); Lindsay Malecha, from Fort Worth, Texas (Guangzhou, China); and Evgenia Ustinova, from Syracuse, N.Y. (Brasilia, Brazil).

FLM Harvest has added Jeff Nawn to the agency’s board of advisors. Nawn most recently worked for Corteva Agriscience, formerly DuPont Pioneer, as its global grain trade and biotech affairs lead. Before joining DuPont Pioneer in 2012, Nawn spent a decade with USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. From 2009-2012, he was the senior agricultural attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, where he was responsible for agricultural trade policy and market access issues, including the 2012 renegotiation of the American beef access agreement with Japan.

The American Feed Industry Association hired Louise Calderwood as its new director of regulatory affairs. Calderwood joined AFIA from the Northeast Agribusiness and Feed Alliance where she served as government relations director. Calderwood also operated an agricultural consulting firm and a maple syrup farm in Vermont.

The Minnesota Turkey Growers Association presented its Allied Lifetime Achievement Award to Tom Bruin, of Ralco, a global supplier of livestock nutrition and animal health products. Bruin has been involved in the turkey industry for more than 40 years. In 2013, he joined Ralco, where he conducts research, provides technical support and performs poultry business development. 

Rafael Chapman, a senior-level executive with over 20 years of non-profit financial and operational experience in and around Washington, has joined the National Association of State Foresters as director of finance and administration​. Chapman takes over for LouAnn Gilmer​, who retired late last month after more than 10 years of service with NASF. 

We are saddened to report that Sterling Liddell, vice president of global data for Rabo AgriFinance in St. Louis, died on July 4 at the age of 48 after a long battle with cancer. He was known professionally for his expertise in markets in a variety of commodity sectors including grains and livestock, as well as ag policy, macroeconomics and more.

L. Gene Lemon passed away on June 30, at the age of 78. Born and raised on an Illinois farm, Lemon began his career as a lawyer for the American Farm Bureau Federation in Chicago after graduating from law school in 1964. In 1969 he began working for Armour & Co. and relocated to Phoenix when the company was acquired by The Greyhound Corporation in 1971. He became general counsel in 1977 and remained with the same company in its many incarnations until his retirement in 1998.

Paul Hammes, who served as a trustee of the Farm Foundation from 2005 to 2014, died July 5 following a long battle with T-cell lymphoma. He was 62. At the time of his retirement in 2014, Hammes was vice president and general manager of agricultural products at the Union Pacific Railroad, where he worked for 11 years. Prior to joining the Union Pacific, Paul worked at Cargill for 25 years in various merchandising, asset management and transportation roles.

Our condolences go out to the family of former Iowa Governor Robert Lee Ray, who died July 8 at the age of 89. Ray served as Iowa’s chief executive from 1969 to 1983, a period that included the social upheaval of the late 1960s and the post-Watergate period of decreased trust in government. David Oman, his former chief of staff, said Ray built the modern state governorship and provided "ethical, moral and strategic leadership" that was recognized nationally and internationally. Ray was noted for his empathy and for his defense of the individual. In 1972, for example, he grounded all Iowa Air National Guard planes until the Pentagon paid damages to a pair of Iowa families whose homes had been destroyed by separate military jet plane crashes.