Grocery Manufacturers Association CEO Geoff Freeman, who was installed in June, has announced four new members of his leadership team. Betsy Booren is joining GMA as senior vice president of science and technology; Brandon Partridge is coming aboard as senior vice president of member engagement; Katie McBreen will be vice president of communications and research; and Katie Denis is the new senior director of industry narrative. Booren currently serves as a senior policy advisor on regulatory compliance, food safety, nutrition and related topics at Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Matz. Partridge is senior vice president for industry development at the American Frozen Food Institute. McBreen comes from the National Retail Federation, where she led strategic campaigns around NRF’s industry and advocacy priorities. And Denis previously worked for the U.S. Travel Association. Says Freeman: “We’re bringing together a highly effective, results-driven team with proven association experience to shepherd the organization into its next chapter.”  

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue officiated at the swearing-in of Scott Angle, the new director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, who will be overseeing the planned move of NIFA outside of Washington, D.C. He previously was CEO of the International Fertilizer Development Center in Muscle Shoals, Ala., and before that served as the dean and director of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at the University of Georgia for 10 years.

Neil Chatterjee, a former adviser to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on farm policy and other issues, was named by President Trump to be chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Chatterjee joined FERC, which regulates the interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas and oil and licenses hydropower projects, in August 2017.

West Virginia University’s Daniel J. Robison was named the next endowed dean of Iowa State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and director of the Iowa Agricultural and Home Economics Experiment Station. Robison, dean of the WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, and director of the West Virginia Agriculture and Forestry Experiment Station, will begin the new job March 31, 2019.

Bradley McKinney is settling into his new job as senior advisor, global markets, at the Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration. McKinney, a former director of government affairs at Michael Torrey Associates, is the son of Ted McKinney, USDA’s undersecretary for trade and foreign affairs.

Business Roundtable has hired Paul H. DeLaney III as a vice president overseeing trade and international engagement policy. DeLaney, currently a partner at the Kyle House Group, will join the CEO organization on Nov. 5. In the past, Delaney has served as international trade counsel for the Senate Finance Committee and deputy chief of staff at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. He succeeds David Thomas, who previously led trade policy efforts at the Roundtable and is serving as chairman of Trade for America.

Phil Karsting was named the new vice president of policy for the World Food Program USA. Karsting is a former administrator of the Foreign Agricultural Service at USDA. WFP USA supports the mission of the UN World Food Programme, the world’s leading humanitarian agency dedicated to ending global hunger. Prior to joining FAS, Karsting served in several key positions on Capitol Hill, including chief of staff to Senator Herb Kohl, D-Wis. Karsting also served as senior analyst for the Senate Budget Committee.

The Trump administration appointed Barry Bushue as the new state executive director for the USDA Oregon Farm Service Agency. Earlier this month Bushue stepped down as president of the Oregon Farm Bureau after serving in the post for nearly 20 years. Moving up as the new state Farm Bureau president is Sharon Waterman, a rancher with timber, cattle and sheep in Bandon, Ore., and a member of the OFB board since 1999.

Congratulations to Sarah McKay on her promotion at the National Corn Growers Association. McKay had been manager of market development – now she’s the director. McKay, who joined NCGA in August 2017, replaces Jim Bauman, who was promoted to the position of vice president of market development.

AGCO Corporation appointed Eric Hansotia to the new position of chief operating officer, effective Jan. 1. Hansotia is currently senior vice president, global cycle and fuse-connected services. In the new job he’ll be responsible for AGCO’s regional commercial operations as well as its global product management, engineering, manufacturing and supply chain functions. Before joining AGCO in 2013, Hansotia spent 20 years with Deere & Co. where he held several leadership positions including senior vice president, Global Harvesting, and vice president, Global Crop Care.

Retired Marine Corps Lieutenant General John Castellaw has been appointed to the board of directors of the international development organization Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture. Castellaw is CEO of Farmspace Systems LLC, a drone-based precision agriculture data collection company he co-founded following a 36-year career in Marine Corps aviation. 

Mike Traxinger, the in-house corporate attorney for the Agtegra Cooperative, is the new president-elect of the American Agricultural Law Association. Aberdeen, S.D.-based Agtegra was formed earlier this year when the South Dakota Wheat Growers merged with the North Central Farmers Elevator.

The National Grocers Association is adding two new members to its board of directors. They are: Jay Ard, vice president of industry affairs at The Coca-Cola Company, and Kevin Proctor, chief investment officer of Save-A-Lot Food Stores. NGA is the trade association representing the independent supermarket industry.

Longtime Campbell Soup lobbyist Kelly Johnston deregistered as a lobbyist last week after being criticized for tweeting that George Soros’ Open Society Foundation had planned and was executing the migrant caravan moving through Mexico. (Open Society says it has nothing to do with the caravan.) A company spokesman said the opinions expressed by Johnston, Campbell’s executive VP for government affairs, are his own and do not represent the position of Campbell Soup. Keith McLoughlin, the company’s interim CEO and president, wrote to Open Society saying that Johnston had been planning to leave the company next month. Johnston previously served as secretary of the U.S. Senate and as staff director for the Republican Policy Committee.

Ron Ratto, president of Ratto Bros. Inc. near Modesto, Calif., is the new board chairman at Western Growers. Ratto Bros. farms over 1,000 acres, producing a variety of crops including fresh herbs, greens and other vegetables. Ratto joined Western Growers board in 2013 and has served in numerous roles including senior vice chairman and Political Action Committee chair. He will serve as board chair for one year, replacing Craig Reade, partner at Bonipak Produce.

Cargill is making some changes to its top leadership team. David Dines will become the company’s chief financial officer as of Dec. 1. He has previously led global trading businesses in the financial and industrial sectors and is responsible for the creation and growth of Cargill’s risk management business. The current CFO, Marcel Smits, will move into a new strategic role, assuming leadership of Cargill Asia Pacific region. Anna Richo will join Cargill in January as general counsel, chief compliance officer and corporate secretary. She most recently served as executive vice president and general counsel of UCB, a Belgium-based global biopharmaceutical company. She succeeds Laura Witte, who retired as Cargill’s general counsel on May 31, after 33 years of service.  

Greg Fogel has left the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, after nearly a decade with the organization, most recently as policy director. Prior to joining NSAC, Fogel worked as a campaign coordinator, an educator, a researcher, and an advocate in the U.S. and abroad.

A new FFA leadership team was elected at the organization’s National Convention last week in Indianapolis. Luke O’Leary, a California resident attending Texas A&M, is the new national president, and Layni LeBlanc, from Louisiana State, is the new secretary; Adrian Schunk, Michigan State, was elected eastern region vice president; Ridge Hughbanks, Oklahoma State, is the new VP for the central region; Jordan Stowe, Auburn University, was elected southern region VP; and Shea Booster, Oregon State University, is the new western region vice president.

U.S. dairy giant Borden appointed Eduardo Martinez vice president of direct store delivery. Martinez joins Borden from PepsiCo, where he spent 20 years in various leadership roles. Most recently, he led the Gatorade, Tropicana, Naked and Hydration brands for the 7-Eleven team.

The United Egg Producers elected new board officers at its recent annual meeting in Maui, Hawaii. Brian Barrett of Texas is the new chairman; Tom Hertzfeld Jr. of Ohio is vice chair; Craig Giroux of New York is treasurer; and Mike West of California is the new secretary. The organization also honored four individuals “who have made a lasting impact on the U.S. egg farming community.” They include: Linda Reickard, who worked for UEP for over 35 years, before retiring in 2012; Dr. Jeff Armstrong, currently the president of California Polytechnic State University, who helped establish UEP’s certified animal welfare program in 2002; and Kurt Lausecker, an organic egg farmer in Raymond, Ohio, who, as chair of UEP’s Long Range Planning Committee, was instrumental in the consolidation of UEP’s regional offices to a headquarters location in Atlanta. The group also posthumously honored longtime UEP member and industry leader Gregg Clanton with its highest honor, Egg Producer of the Year. Clanton, who died in February, had served on the UEP board since 1997.

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