Jim Hubbard is a step closer to a possible job as USDA undersecretary for natural resources and the environment after being grilled yesterday by members of the Senate Agriculture Committee about his nomination. Afterward, the panel’s chairman, Pat Roberts of Kansas, said Hubbard was “very qualified” for the position, which entails oversight of the U.S. Forest Service. Hubbard worked for the Colorado Forest Service for 35 years, serving as the state’s chief forester for the last 20. Roberts provided the same assessment – “well qualified” – for Dan Michael Berkovitz, who Trump has tapped to fill a Democratic vacancy on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. He would replace Sharon Bowen, who has resigned. Berkovitz previously served as general counsel of the CFTC and was the agency's deputy representative to the Financial Stability Oversight Council. Berkovitz is currently a partner and co-chair of the futures and derivatives practice at the law firm of WilmerHale. Both men still need a vote of approval by the committee, and by the full Senate.

After 17 years at the helm of the Renewable Fuels Association, Bob Dinneen will be stepping down in October. He’ll be succeeded by Geoff Cooper, who joined RFA in 2008 and has been serving as executive vice president since 2016. Dinneen is staying on with the association as a senior strategic advisor.

Jennifer Andberg is the new director of the Office of External Relations with the U.S. International Trade Commission. Before joining USITC, Andberg was the deputy director of the Commerce Department’s Office of Business Liaison.

Delegates to the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Congress in Washington last week elected three farmers to serve on the organization’s Corn Board. They are: Deb Gangwish of Nebraska, Dennis Maple of Indiana and Harold Wolle Jr. of Minnesota. The trio will take office Oct. 1 with the start of NCGA’s 2019 fiscal year. Current board members Bruce Rohwer of Iowa and Jeff Sandborn of Michigan were re-elected.

Marc Short, who was often seen on TV explaining Trump administration policies, has left White House and his job as legislative affairs director. He’s accepted a teaching position at University of Virginia’s business school where he’ll also be a research fellow at UVA’s Miller Center. In addition, he’ll be joining the Guidepost Strategies consulting firm. Short is being succeeded at the White House by Shahira Knight, who has been serving as the deputy director of the National Economic Council.

Syngenta adds Andrew Lauver as Manager, Industry Relations. Raised on an Iowa farm, the Iowa State grad has experience in sales with DuPont Pioneer and has interned for Senator Charles Grassley as well as the American Seed Trade Association.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue this week named 12 individuals to serve on the Federal Grain Inspection Service’s (FGIS) Grain Inspection Advisory Committee. Members appointed for three years are: John W. Lindgren, Vancouver, Wash.; Rick L. Robinette, South Sioux City, Neb.; Mark A. Watne, Jamestown, N.D.; Randall W. Burns, Malverne, Ark.; and Errol B. Turnipseed, Brooking, S.D. Appointed for two years are: Bruce A. Sutherland, Okemos, Mich.; John J. Morgan, Crowley, La.; Linsey Mofit-Tobin, Long Grove, Iowa; Sarah Sexton-Bowsher, Mayetta, Kan.; and Chad R. Becnel, Gonzales, La. Members selected as alternates to serve one-year terms are: Aaron T. Anseeuw, Virginia Beach, Va., and Patricia Dumoulin, Hampshire, Ill. Established in 1981, the Advisory Committee represents the interests of all segments of the U.S. grain industry from producer to exporter. The 15-member committee typically includes grain processors, merchandisers, handlers, exporters, consumers, grain inspection agencies and scientists.

Dallas-based Borden Dairy Co. has made two major additions to its leadership team. Barry Card was appointed vice president of Go-to-Market, and Patrick George was named VP of engineering. Both positions are new. Card most recently served as the global director of Go-to-Market Systems Capability at PepsiCo. While George joins Borden from the Dr Pepper Snapple Group where he served as the director of engineering for 12 years.

Paige Frautschy was appointed agriculture strategy manager at the Nature Conservancy. For the past year, she has been on an agriculture fellowship with the Conservancy, helping farmers incorporate more conservation practices into their farming systems. Frautschy holds a master’s degree in agroecology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative partnered with the Nature Conservancy to fund Frautschy’s new position.

Kati Migliaccio will take over as chair of the Agriculture and Biological Engineering Department at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences on Aug. 1, replacing Dorota Haman, who recently retired. Migliaccio, who has been working as a professor in the department, earned her Ph.D. in biological and agricultural engineering at the University of Arkansas. She specializes in water conservation, hydrology, and irrigation in agricultural, natural, and urban systems.

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