James Hubbard was confirmed by the Senate Tuesday as the USDA’s undersecretary for natural resources and environment, with 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 … The Senate also confirmed Republican Dawn DeBerry Stump and Democrat Dan Michael Berkovitz as commissioners of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The confirmation of Berkovitz and Stump brings a full complement of commissioners to the five-member CFTC for the first time since 2014. 

The North American Meat Institute will soon have a new CEO and president. Julie Anna Potts takes over those positions on Sept. 24 after serving as executive vice president and treasurer of the American Farm Bureau Federation since 2011. Potts first joined AFBF in 2004, working as general counsel until 2009 when she was named chief counsel of the Senate Agriculture Committee under then-Chairman Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas. At NAMI, Potts will succeed Barry Carpenter, who is retiring.

Courtney Knupp has moved into USDA where she’s a senior policy adviser for the Foreign Agricultural Service. The Iowa State alum previously worked at the National Pork Producers Council as director of international trade policy.

Kathleen Merrigan was named the first executive director of the Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems at Arizona State University. As U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture from 2009-2013, Merrigan managed the “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” initiative to support local and regional food systems. Most recently, she was the executive director of sustainability at George Washington University.

The National Biodiesel Board hired Samantha Turner as its new communications manager. Turner comes to NBB from Monsanto, where she served as the food and nutrition engagement communications manager. Turner previously worked for an array of agriculture and membership organizations including the Missouri Soybean Association, Missouri Farm Bureau, Osborn Barr, and the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.

National Corn Growers Association VP of Communications Mary Hagan has left NCGA “to pursue other opportunities.” Mary Quigley and Fred Stemme are handling communications matters until a replacement is named. Hagan had held the job since April 2016. NCGA says Debby Wicks, an administrative assistant, has also left the association.

Anne Knapke has left her post as legislative director for Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. She’s now a senior program officer with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Beth Breeding, former staff member for Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., is now vice president of communications and marketing for the National Turkey Federation. Breeding served as Goodlatte’s deputy chief of staff and communications director. She previously worked for Representatives H. Morgan Griffith of Virginia and Randy Neugebauer of Texas. NTF also announced the promotions ofLisa Wallenda Picard to senior vice president of policy, trade and regulatory affairs and Leslee Odento the position of vice president of legislative affairs.

Just a few weeks after Geoff Freeman took over as GMA’s new CEO, it looks like a major restructuring is underway at the top. Departures include Steve McCroddan, senior vice president and CFO: Jim Flannery, senior executive vice president of operations and industry collaboration; Leon Bruner, executive vice president for scientific and regulatory affairs; Carla Mitchell, senior vice president of human resources; and Brian Folkerts, executive vice president of government affairs.

Alan Sams was named to succeed Dan Arp as the dean of Oregon State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences. Arp is retiring at the end of August. Sams has spent the last nine years as executive associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M. He will also serve as director of the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station on campus in Corvallis. He begins his new duties Oct. 31. Bill Boggess, executive associate dean of the college, will serve as interim dean from Sept. 1 through Oct. 30 following Arp’s retirement…. The World Food Prize is adding Iowa State University President Wendy Wintersteen to its Council of Advisors.

The American Coalition for Ethanol has two new board members. Recently elected to three-year terms were Pam Miller, representing Siouxland Ethanol, and Bill Dartt, from Cardinal Ethanol. In addition, six board members were reelected during the board’s meeting prior to ACE’s annual conference in Minneapolis. They are Ron Alverson, Dakota Ethanol; John Christianson, Christianson PLLP;  Kenton Johnson, Granite Falls Energy; Anthony Mock, the North Dakota Corn Growers Association;Doug Punke, RPMG; and Brian Vasa, representing Nebraska Public Power District.

Byron Brown has left his post as EPA's deputy chief of staff for policy, a position he held for 18 months. Brown was among the EPA staffers who had formerly worked for Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., a list that also includes acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler and chief of staff Ryan Jackson. Brown previously was senior counsel on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

Dr. Patty Bennett is the new director of the Marketing Order and Agreement Division of USDA’s Specialty Crops Program of the Agricultural Marketing Service. Bennett’s been serving with the Food Safety and Inspection Service for 13 years, including as the agency’s top veterinarian.

Jennifer Rushlow was named to direct Vermont Law School’s Environmental Law Center. Rushlow has been working at the Conservation Law Foundation, where she was a senior attorney and director of Farm & Food. She starts the new job Sept. 10.

Today is the last day the public can vote for their favorite finalist for America’s Pig Farmer of the Year for 2018. The four finalists chosen by the National Pork Board have produced videos that can be viewed at www.americaspigfarmer.com. They are: Patrick Bane, Arrowsmith, Ill.; Bill Luckey, Columbus, Neb.; Brad Lundell, Kiron, Iowa; and Kevin Rasmussen, Goldfield, Iowa. The winner will be announced the week of Oct. 1.

Dairy processing giant Borden has hired Tom Martin, the Sam’s Team lead for Quaker products at PepsiCo., as vice president of Walmart. He has also served as the Walmart director of customer management and the Sam’s director of customer management for the Frito-Lay Division at PepsiCo.

Arable, an agriculture sensor and analytics startup, named Jim Ethington as its CEO. Ethington is the former head of product at The Climate Corporation, Monsanto’s digital agriculture division. He’s taking over the top post at Arable from Adam Wolf, the company’s co-founder who is now chief scientist.

The Soil Health Partnership has a new executive director. She’s Shefali Mehta, the founder and CEO of the ag-tech startup Ceres Wave. She also has served as vice chairwoman of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever.

The U.S. Apple Association named Kaari Stannard, a New York grower, packer and marketer of apples, as the board chair for the 2018-2019 term. Stannard owns New York Apples Inc., one of the largest marketers of New York state apples. Stannard succeeds Mark Boyer, co-owner of Ridgetop Orchards near Fishertown, Pa.

Ben & Jerry's has a new CEO. He’s Matthew McCarthy, a 21-year veteran of parent company Unilever. McCarthy replaced Jostein Solheim, who ran Vermont-based ice cream business for eight years. Solheim was promoted to executive VP of foods and restaurants at Unilever in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

The Solar Energy Industries Association has hired two new top executives. John Smirnow is rejoining SEIA as general counsel and vice president of market strategy, and Tony Chen will serve in the newly created position of vice president of business development.

Einar Wathne has stepped down as CEO of Cargill Aqua Nutrition. He was replaced by Cargill’s VP of North America Adriano Marcon. Wathne, who held the top job at Cargill’s aquaculture business since 2015, is now taking a strategic role as head of seafood in Cargill Animal Nutrition, while looking ahead to his retirement from the company.

Candice Wilson is now manager of ethanol trade policy with the U.S. Grains Council. Wilson, who joined USGC a year ago as the graduate fellow in economics and ethanol, holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in ag economics from Kansas State University. She also worked as an intern with the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service in Brussels.

Max Finberg was named the next CEO and president of Food Resource Bank, which is soon to be renamed Growing Hope Worldwide. He starts the new job Sept. 1. Finberg has 25 years of experience working to end hunger and poverty in the U.S. and around the world, most recently as a director of the U.N.’s World Food Program, the world’s largest humanitarian agency. He also served as a senior advisor to former USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Country Financial is searching for a replacement for CEO Kurt Bock, who plans on retiring as of Jan. 31. Bock has held the top post at Country Financial since 2012.

Four leaders working in diverse areas of the nation's food and agriculture sector have been elected to serve on the Farm Foundation Board of Directors. They are: Dan Basse, CEO of AgResources Inc.; University of Illinois Chancellor Robert Jones, a crop physiology scientist; Six-time Olympic medalistJackie Joyner-Kersee, who heads up the foundation that bears her name; and Andy LaVigne, president of the American Seed Trade Association.

Ryan Bennett was chosen as the new executive director of the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Poultry & Eggs and the International Poultry Welfare Alliance. Bennett formerly served as the senior director of industry and environmental affairs at the National Milk Producers Federation.

Don Lerch, a founding member of the Ag Relations Council and one of the first inductees to the Agricultural Public Relations Hall of Fame, passed away earlier this month at the age of 99. Lerch, who started in broadcasting at pioneer radio station KDKA AM in Pittsburgh, was one of the first members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting, back when it was still the National Association of Rural Farm Directors, and was a member of the organization for 72 years. His career included working with CBS Director of News Edward R. Murrow as the producer of Columbia Broadcast’s Country Journal.

Leonard Boswell, a farmer and a decorated Vietnam War helicopter pilot who later served 16 years as a congressman from Iowa, and Dody, his wife of more than 60 years who died earlier this month within eight days of her husband, were buried this past weekend near their home in Lamoni, Iowa. Leonard was 84 and Doty, a longtime educator, 82. Boswell returned to Iowa after a 20-year Army career and got involved in politics during the farm crisis of the 1980s when neighbors asked his help in saving a local grain elevator threatened with bankruptcy. He was elected to the state Senate in 1984 and won re-election twice, demonstrating a centrist Democrat's knack for drawing Republican votes. Boswell was elected to Congress in 1996.

Kofi Annan, who served as secretary-general of the United Nations from 1997 through 2006, died Aug. 18 after a short illness. He was 80. During his career and leadership of the U.N. he was an ardent champion of peace, sustainable development, human rights and the rule of law. In 2001, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, along with the U.N., “for their work for a better organized and more peaceful world.”

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