President Trump has renominated three individuals to key positions at USDA. Mindy Brashears was tapped again to be undersecretary for food safety, Naomi Earp to be assistant secretary of agriculture for civil rights, and Scott Hutchins to be the department’s chief scientist. The trio were originally nominated during the last Congress but the Senate failed to act on the nominations. The president also renominated Kip Tom to be U.S. Representative to the U.N. Agencies for Food and Agriculture.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last week announced Democratic additions to the House Agriculture Committee, a group that includes a number of freshmen. The rookies include: Cindy Axne of Iowa; Anthony Brindisi and Antonio Delgado of New York; Salud Carbajal, Josh Harder, and TJ Cox of California; Angie Craig of Minnesota; Jahana Hayes of Connecticut; Kim Schrier of Washington; Abigail Spanberger from Virginia, and Jeff Van Drew from New Jersey. Click here to see a full list of the panel’s 26 Democratic members. The committee’s GOP side hasn’t been named yet, but it will have 21 members, three of whom will be new, said ranking member Mike Conaway, R-Texas.
Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., hired Micah Chambers as his senior legislative assistant to cover his work on the Environment and Public Works Committee. Chambers previously served as Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s deputy director of congressional and legislative affairs and before that, as his deputy chief of staff and legislative director. Zinke resigned last month amid several investigations into his behavior in office and into real estate dealings in his home state of Montana.
Smithfield Foods has a new leadership team in place, highlighted by the promotion of Dennis Organ to chief operating officer, a new position. Organ has been with Smithfield for eight years. Brady Stewart, who’s been promoted to executive vice president for U.S. hog production, is in line to take the job of president of U.S. hog production at the end of 2019 when Greg Schmidt retires. Under the new structure, the following members of Smithfield’s leadership team will report to Organ: Jason Richter, executive vice president, U.S. fresh pork; Russ Dokken, executive vice president, U.S. packaged meats; Scott Saunders, executive vice president, U.S. supply chain; and Joe Weber, executive vice president, U.S. growth and emerging businesses. The company also created a chief commercial officer for packaged meats, a position filled by John Pauley, and promoted Keira Lombardo to executive vice president of corporate affairs and compliance. The company says the new structure signifies the ultimate realization of “One Smithfield,” an initiative to unify all of Smithfield’s operations, brands and more than 54,000 employees globally under one corporate umbrella.
Two new members have been elected to the American Farm Bureau Federation's board of directors. Arizona Farm Bureau President Stefanie Smallhouse and Wyoming Farm Bureau President Todd Fornstrom will both serve two-year terms representing the organization's western region. Fourteen other state presidents were reelected to two-year terms on the board: Montana's Hans McPherson, Maryland's Chuck Fry, Connecticut's Don Tuller, Tennessee's Jeff Aiken, Louisiana's Ronnie Anderson, Texas' Russell Boening, Georgia's Gerald Long, Mississippi's Mike McCormick, Oklahoma's Rodd Moesel, North Carolina's Larry Wooten, Kansas' Richard Felts, Illinois' Richard Guebert, Iowa's Craig Hill, and Minnesota's Kevin Paap.
DuPont announced the U.S. Government Affairs team for the Specialty Products Division of DowDuPont, which is expected to become an independent company (future DuPont) by June 1, 2019. Government Affairs will report to William Feehery, President of the Industrial Biosciences business. Nancy Clark will serve as Global Government Affairs Leader. Jason Gonzalez will lead State Government Affairs. James Carstensen and Lorraine Gershman will lead Federal Government Affairs and Shane Warren will lead the International Government Affairs work. Clark previously led U.S. Federal and State advocacy for the biotechnology portfolio in the DuPont Industrial Biosciences business. Gonzalez worked as Director of Government Affairs for New Jersey American Water and for New Jersey Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts. Carstensen, an Iowa native, spent more than twenty years in the House of Representatives where he served four different Members of Congress. Lorraine Gershman served as the Vice President of Regulatory Affairs for the National Oilseed Processors Association and Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs for the American Chemistry Council. Shane Warren previously served as Chief International Trade Counsel for the Senate Finance Committee, Assistant General Counsel at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and Assistant Legal Advisor at the U.S. Mission to the World Trade Organization in Geneva.
Jean Henning was appointed interim executive director of the North Dakota Corn Utilization Council. The position became open with the death of Dale Ihry earlier this year. Henning has been serving as the organization’s financial and research director. The council says Henning has had more than 20 years of accounting experience in the manufacturing and service industries.
Morgan Beach is settling in as director of government relations for the Pet Food Institute. Previously, Beach was the trade policy manager for the National Milk Producers Federation and the U.S. Dairy Export Council.
Farm Journal CEO Andy Weber selected Rob McClelland as president of the firm’s new Data-Driven Performance Marketing division, where he will oversee Farm Journal's Business Intelligence, Digital Solutions and Content Services units. Previously, McClelland spent 20 years launching technology and services businesses and has held executive leadership positions with FLM Harvest and Adayana.
Sara Fagen has taken a new job after eight years with the consulting firm DDC Public Affairs. She is now CEO at the marketing technology company Deep Root Analytics.
AeroFarms, an indoor vertical-farming company based in Newark, N.J., hired Roger Post as its chief operating officer. The company says Post brings to the job 28 years of experience in manufacturing and supply chain operation including positions with Danone and Kraft Nabisco.
Steve Wenzel of Little Falls, Minn., was elected board chairman of the Center for Rural Policy and Development. Wenzel served in the Minnesota State Legislature from 1972-2001 and was the Minnesota state director of rural development from 2001 to 2009.
Best of luck to Dave Torgerson, executive director of the Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers and the Minnesota Wheat Research and Promotion Council, who says he’s retiring at the end of March. Torgerson has served wheat growers in the state for more than 30 years.
Who is 2018’s Potato Man for All Seasons? He’s John Keeling, the executive VP and CEO of the National Potato Council. NPC members nominated Keeling for the award, which was presented recently following the group’s annual meeting in Austin, Texas. Keeling will retire later this year. NPC also presented its Gold Potato Award for leadership to Justin Dagen, who has been active in the organization since 1995 and was elected president of NPC in 2011.
A previous version of this story reported Lorraine Gershman and James Carstensen had been added to the team at Corteva Agriscience.
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