The Senate Agriculture Committee yesterday unanimously approved the nomination of Jim Hubbard to be Undersecretary of Agriculture for Natural Resources and the Environment. The nomination now goes to the full Senate. The undersecretary position involves oversight of the U.S. Forest Service. Hubbard worked for the Colorado Forest Service for 35 years, serving as State Forester for the final 20 of those years. In 2004, Hubbard joined the Interior Department as director of the Office of Wildland Fire Coordination, and two years later he was appointed deputy chief for state and private forestry at the USFS. The Agriculture Committee also approved the nomination of Dan Berkovitz to fill a Democratic seat on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Berkovitz is a partner at law firm WilmerHale and a former general counsel to the CFTC.
Land O’Lakes board of directors selected Beth Ford to succeed Chris Policinski as president and CEO. Ford was named the chief operating officer of Land O’Lakes Businesses in December 2017. Before that she headed the co-op’s Dairy Foods and Purina Animal Nutrition businesses. Before joining Land O'Lakes in 2011, Ford held executive positions with International Flavors and Fragrances, Mobil Corporation, and PepsiCo. Policinski retired at the end of June after serving as Land O’Lakes president and CEO since 2005.
Andrew Witmer has left the staff of Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., where he’s been serving as communications director since 2014. Word is he’s heading back to school for an MBA. Meg Wagner, Lucas’ former scheduler, is now handling the press … Ryan McManus is settling into his new job as legislative director for Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Va., with a portfolio that includes ag issues. The William and Mary alum formerly was Comstock’s senior legislative assistant.
The National Turkey Federation has a new vice president of communications and marketing. She’s Beth Breeding, who previously spent more than six years as communications director for Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.
Bill Kuckuck plans to retire as CropLife America’s executive vice president and chief operating officer on Dec. 31. Kuckuck joined CLA a decade ago to oversee the finance, communications and administrative efforts of the association. His announcement follows that of Jay Vroom, CLA’s president and CEO, who said last September that he would retire from his position, after nearly 30 years, at the end of 2018. National Corn Growers Association President and CEO Chris Novak has been selected to succeed Vroom.
The Western Governors’ Association hired Kevin Moss as a policy associate with a portfolio that includes rural connectivity and national parks, as well as land exchanges. The Colorado College grad joins the policy team after serving as a WGA Policy Fellow. Moss has also worked in outdoor education, leading extended wilderness trips in Colorado, Utah and West Virginia.
John Monaghan, a Fonterra board member since 2008, was selected to replace John Wilson as chairman of the New Zealand-based dairy co-op group as Wilson recovers from what Fonterra calls a “serious health scare.” Fonterra says Wilson had recently undergone a significant surgery and requires ongoing treatment but said he will remain a director until the co-op’s annual meeting in November, when he will retire from the board. Wilson’s resignation follows a turbulent period at Fonterra, which wrote down the value of a Chinese investment by about $275 million in March and said its chief executive, Theo Spierings, would step down before the end of the year. Monaghan has been closely involved in the process to appoint a new CEO.
Scott Richman is joining the Renewable Fuels Association as its chief economist. Most recently, Richman served as senior vice president and co-head of North America consulting for Informa Agribusiness Consulting. While at Informa, Richman conducted multiple studies for RFA, as well as individual clients involved in ethanol production and marketing, private equity firms and other bioenergy investors, the USDA, and organizations like the National Corn Growers Association, U.S. Grains Council, and Growth Energy.
Syngenta has hired Eric Boeck as head of marketing for its U.S. Seeds business. Boeck joins Syngenta after more than 20 years with DuPont Pioneer, now Corteva Agriscience, most recently as commercial digital leader.
Clay Gaspar, president and chief operating officer at WPX Energy, has joined the board of directors of Michigan Potash Co. Previously, Gaspar served as vice president for Newfield Exploration Co. He also spent 16 years with Anadarko Petroleum Corp.
President Trump nominated William Cooper to be general counsel at the Energy Department. Cooper is currently senior counsel and director of McConnell Valdés law firm in Washington. Before that he was staff director for the Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee of the House Natural Resources Committee. He was also the executive director, and later president, of the Center for Liquefied Natural Gas and counsel to the House Energy and Commerce Committee. In early 2017, Cooper was rumored to be in the mix to run the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
GROWMARK appointed Rod Wells to the new position of executive director for enterprise supply chain optimization. Wells has been with the Illinois-based agricultural co-op for 31 years, most recently as manager of the Crop Nutrients Division. GROWMARK also announced the promotion of Joe Tearney as manager for barge and rail logistics. Tearney, a 27-year GROWMARK employee, previously served as traffic manager in the Energy and Logistics Division.
Kohlberg & Company has completed its acquisition of Tyson Foods frozen bakery business and named Craig Bahner as CEO of the new entity, which is being called Sara Lee Frozen Bakery. The business includes Sara Lee, Van’s, Chef Pierre and Bistro Collection brands. Bahner was previously president of U.S. Morning Foods at the Kellogg Co., and before that was chief marketing officer at Wendy’s Co. Bahner will be joined by new president and head of sales Don Davis, who was most recently senior vice-president of sales for Tyson Foodservice.
Dallas-based Borden Dairy Co. appointed Adrienne Chance as its senior director of corporate communications. Previously, the University of Florida alum led the communications team at global sports entertainment brand Topgolf.
The Arkansas Plant Board unanimously approved the appointment of former Arkansas Agriculture Secretary Butch Calhoun to serve as its director. He was selected last week after Plant Board Director Terry Walker abruptly retired. Calhoun, who worked as a row crop farmer for almost four decades, served as the state ag secretary from 2012-2014. He begins the new job Aug. 13.
Agriculture Future of America added Megan Weidner to its board of directors. Weidner joined Bunge North America in 2015 as its vice president of corporate responsibility and sustainability. A native of northeast Ohio, Weidner is active in the industry with organizations such as Field to Market and MANRRS – Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Services. On its website, AFA says the organization “builds bridges for young leaders to foster engagement and innovation in food and agriculture.”
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