Republican Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith won Tuesday's runoff election for U.S. Senate from Mississippi, defeating Democrat Mike Espy by 54 to 46 percent of the votes tallied last night. She will be the state’s first elected female U.S. Senator, joining 23 other women in the Senate – a new record.

Hyde-Smith had the advantage of an incumbent, appointed in April after the ailing Sen. Thad Cochran resigned, and went into the runoff the heavy favorite of farm and agribusiness interests. The former Mississippi state agriculture commissioner enjoyed a greater than 10-1 advantage over Espy, the one-time congressman and U.S. secretary of agriculture in the Clinton Administration, in contributions from food and farm sector political action committees (PACs). Mississippi-based poultry integrator Sanderson Farms PAC gave her $10,800; the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), Alabama Farmers Federation (AFF) and NTCA-Rural Broadband Association each added $10,000. Overall, she had raised $3.6 million to Espy’s $2.4 million through November 7, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

The Senate voted to confirm Stephen Vaden as USDA’s general counsel. The Senate advanced his nomination on a 49-45 procedural vote Monday evening before voting 53-46 Tuesday afternoon to confirm his nomination. Vaden’s nomination has been on hold for a year after Democrats raised concerns about his role in reassignments at the department. Vaden has been serving as principal deputy general counsel at USDA. In a statement, Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue said Vaden’s “roots on a working farm in Tennessee and expertise in the law will well serve the people of American agriculture.”

On Tuesday, Bayer announced the appointment of a pair of Monsanto alums to leadership positions in the new company. Michael Parrish will serve as Bayer’s vice president of government relations, serving as the chief legislative and public policy official for Bayer in the U.S. and leading engagement with the Legislative and Executive branches of Federal, State and local governments.The American University grad has also spent time at the Departments of State and Justice as well as the office of former California Democrat Sam Farr in the U.S. House. Albert J. Mitchell was named Bayer’s vice president of corporate engagement in the U.S. and will be based in St. Louis. Mitchell will be responsible for leading Bayer's community engagement, including country-wide corporate employee volunteer programs such as the company's Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education program. He will also oversee the company’s corporate volunteer activities, including management of the Bayer Foundation, as well as serve as the president of the Monsanto Fund.

Kansas Lieutenant Governor-elect Lynn Rogers, a veteran Farm Credit System executive, has been tapped by incoming Governor Laura Kelly to head a new Kansas Office of Rural Prosperity. Rogers was vice president and relationship manager for CoBank Farm Credit Leasing in 1993-2016. He was director of marketing for the former Farm Credit Bank of Wichita in 1985-93. A Nebraska native, he was a Democratic state senator representing Wichita in 2017-18.

Cassandra A. Kuball, senior director for trade and industry affairs at the Corn Refiners Association, has been named vice president in the Washington public affairs practice of Edelman, a communications marketing firm. She will report to Darci Vetter, general manager for Edelman’s Washington public affairs practice and the firm’s vice chair for agriculture, food and trade. Kuball has experience in international trade policy marketing, analysis and advocacy in the private sector and in state and federal government. She helped lead the North American Market Working Group of the U.S. Food & Agriculture Dialogue for Trade through the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement and serves as Agriculture Co-Chair of Women in International Trade.

American Farmland Trust (AFT) named Jennifer Moore-Kucera director of its climate initiative, supporting the U.S. Climate Alliance’s Natural and Working Lands Challenge and the Global Soil Health Challenge by California and France. She previously was West Region soil health team lead for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Soil Health Division and co-director/NRCS liaison for the USDA-Northwest Climate Hub. She will be based in Corvallis, Oregon, where she is an adjunct faculty member with the Department of Crop and Soil Science at Oregon State University . . . AFT also promoted Nick Herman to vice president of development after 18 months serving as director of development operations responsible for both membership and individual giving. He previously was director of annual giving at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, heading a staff that raised over $20 million annually.

Matthew Teffeau, director of government relations at the Maryland Department of Agriculture the past three years, has been named director of state affairs for RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment), the trade association for specialty agricultural chemicals and fertilizers, based in Washington. Teffeau earlier was assistant director of government relations at the Maryland Farm Bureau, an assistant to U.S. Representative Andy Harris, D-Md., and worked for the Maryland State House Republican Caucus in Annapolis.

Erik Remmler has been named as chief of staff and Lucy Hynes as special counsel to Commodity Futures Trading Commission member Dan Berkovitz. Remmler, who joined CFTC in 2010, has been deputy director in the Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight at CFTC. Hynes was senior trial attorney in CFTC’s Division of Enforcement.

Manfred Bender was appointed chief financial officer of the management board of BRAIN AG, a German industrial biotechnology company. For the past 13 years he has been a member of the management board at Pfeiffer Vacuum Technology AG. Bender will help manage the company’s three business units, including Nutrition and Health.

Better Markets, a think tank promoting financial system oversight, has added Joseph Cisewski as senior derivatives consultant and special counsel, focused on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission derivatives and commodities regulation. He was global head of U.S. Securities and Derivatives Advisory in the global banking and markets division of HSBC Bank and a member of a global derivatives advisory and compliance team at J.P. Morgan Chase. Previously at CFTC, he was co-chief of staff and co-chief operating officer and senior special counsel to CFTC Commissioner Mark P. Wetjen during implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act. Better Markets also named Jack Reidhill chief economist and senior banking consultant and Jason Grimes senior counsel. Reidhill was a federal bank regulator for 33 years at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Grimes was an associate at Covington & Burling.

Wyoming State Engineer Pat Tyrell, the state’s chief water officer, plans to retire in early January 2019 after 18 years in the position, Governor Matt Mead announced Tuesday.

Dianne Mooney plans to retire from the board of Sanderson Farms, Laurel, Mississippi, poultry processor, when her current term ends at the 2019 annual shareholders’ meeting. A director since 2007, Mooney was senior vice president of Southern Living at Home, a division of Southern Progress Corporation, until her 2007 retirement.

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