Ray Starling, chief of staff to Sec. Sonny Perdue, is heading home to his native North Carolina to be closer to family. His last day at USDA will be May 6. Prior to joining USDA, he served as Special Assistant to the President for Agriculture, Trade and Food Assistance as part of the White House National Economic Council and as chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis.
Joby Young, chief of staff for Deputy Secretary Steve Censky will be Perdue’s new chief of staff. Young previously served as chief of staff for USDA’s Rural Development, Office of Congressional Relations, and as chief of staff for Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga.
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association CEO Kendal Frazier will retire at the end of the year, the NCBA announced in a release yesterday. Frazier has been with NCBA - and its predecessor group, the National Cattlemen’s Association - for 34 years and was named CEO in 2016 after holding the title on an interim basis. Before being named CEO, Frazier had a wide variety of roles within NCBA during his time there and also worked for the Kansas Livestock Association and as a farm broadcaster in Kansas. NCBA says a CEO search will begin immediately, and Frazier plans to stay on for a transitional period through the end of the year.
Wes Uhlmeyer, president of Archer Daniels Midland’s (ADM) grain business, has stepped down from his post due to personal reasons. Chris Boerm, current president of ADM’s transportation division, has been appointed to take over as president of ADM’s North America Grain and Transportation divisions. Boerm previously served as president of the grain trading division before taking over the transportation division.
Kraft Heinz will bring on Miguel Patricio to replace their past CEO, Bernardo Hees. Patricio brings over two decades of experience from Anheuser-Busch, where he most recently served as the global chief marketing officer. He will assume his duties in July.
Steve Silverman has headed west to Colorado to start a new position as the deputy commissioner for the Colorado Department of Agriculture. Silverman started his responsibilities on Monday. Silverman has over three decades of experience in public service and most recently served as the director of USDA's National Appeals Division. Throughout his career, he has served as the deputy assistant for the attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Division at the Department of Justice, and as the principal deputy general counsel at USDA, supervising the operations of USDA’s Office of General Counsel and oversaw a diverse portfolio of legal and policy matters. Silverman also served as the acting general counsel of USDA.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer’s top legal adviser, Stephen Vaughn, is leaving USTR. Vaughn served as the general counsel and is being replaced by Joseph Barloon, who currently serves as a lawyer at Skadden Arps. … Sam Scales is joining the U.S. Trade Representative as deputy assistant for the Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement Office. Scales comes from the Ford Motor Company, where he served as the manager of government affairs. He previously worked for the House Natural Resources Committee under Rep. Rod Bishop, R-Utah.
The J.R. Simplot Company named G. Rey Reinhardt the vice president of business development and optimization within its AgriBusiness division. Reinhardt joined Simplot in 2018 to serve as the senior director of retail operations. Before that he served as vice president of retail operations for Agrium.
After 29 years with the American Farm Bureau Federation, Mace Thornton will head back to the Midwest to start a new adventure with the United Soybean Board in Chesterfield, Mo., as the vice president of communications and marketing. Thornton served the last six years with AFBF as the executive director of communications. Thornton’s last day with AFBF will be June 7.
The Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA) promotes Megan Costello to chief operating officer and Catharine Perry to vice president of member programs and services. Costello began her career with GCCA in 2013 as VP of member programs and services and before that she was the managing director of the Association of Corporate Travel Executives. Perry came to GCCA in 2012, and previously worked for the Animal Agriculture Alliance and the National FFA Organization.
Marla Livengood, regulatory affairs manager of the California Strawberry Commission, has announced she will run for Congress for California’s 10th Congressional District. Livengood competed in 2018 for California’s 9th Congressional District and had an unsuccessful run, defeated by Democratic representative Jerry McNerney. California’s 10th Congressional District is currently held by freshman Democrat Rep. Josh Harder, who won over incumbent Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., in the 2018 election.
Kip Tom’s nomination for the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture was confirmed by the Senate in a voice vote. Tom is a seven-generation farmer and chairman of Kip Farms in Indiana. He will be based out of Rome in his new role.
Scott Pruitt, former administrator to the Environmental Protection Agency, registered last week with the Indiana Lobby Registration Commission and identified himself as a self-employed consultant. He listed RailPoint Solutions LLC as his sole client and will lobby under the topics of energy and natural resources
Doug Andres is the new press secretary for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. Andres previously served as a communications aide for former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb and in the press office for former House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.
Jayme Holliday has taken over the agriculture and food, public lands and natural resources, and small business portfolio for Rep. Dwight Evans, D-Pa., as the new legislative director. In her career, she served as a legislative analyst at the USDA and as the government affairs coordinator for USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service.
Clay Boggs advances from legislative assistant to legislative director, covering the agriculture and food, foreign trade and international finance, and public lands and natural resources portfolios for Rep. Norma Torres, D-Calif.
Jamie Geller is the new communications director for Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn. She comes from the office of Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, where she served as communications director and senior adviser … Castro promoted Katherine Schneider from press assistant to communications director to replace Geller.
Aaron MacLean is the new legislative director for Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark. He previously worked as the managing editor for the Washington Free Beacon and was an English instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2007-2014.
Heather Frierson, who worked as the communications director for Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., has left D.C. to head to the Kansas City area to start a career as a news reporter for KCTV. Cleaver’s office has not yet hired a new communications director, but Matt Helfant has taken over the responsibilities in the meantime.
Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig hired Keely Coppess as his new communications director. She comes from Two Rivers Marketing, where she served as the public relations director. Naig’s former executive assistant, Lexi Marek, has transitioned into the role of communications coordinator, and Maddy VanderLinden now fills the position of executive assistant.
Settling in as the new legislative correspondent covering the agriculture and food and public lands and natural resources portfolios for Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Calif., is Maria Martirosyan. She previously served as Gomez’s scheduler.
Molly Fishman has left the office of Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., as legislative director to become the director of federal government relations at the California Life Sciences Association.
Alex Damato has been moved to legislative director for Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Calif. Damato covers foreign trade, science and technology, and transportation issues and previously served as technology and telecommunications adviser and senior legislative assistant.
Kenny LaSalle shifted from staff assistant to legislative aide in the office of California Democrat Rep. Antonio Cardenas. LaSalle has been with Cardenas since June 2014.
The portfolio for international affairs for Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., will be handed off to Matt Squeri, who is serving as the foreign policy adviser. He comes from North Dakota senator Heidi Heitkamp’s office where he served as legislative assistant.
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., has hired Paulina Glass on as the new legislative correspondent covering the veterans and foreign policy portfolio.
Troy Dougall will be covering trade issues for Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah., as his new legislative aide. Dougall previously served as staff assistant.
Rep. Raul Ruiz, D-Calif., promoted Isaac Rubin from legislative correspondent to press secretary. Before Ruiz’s office, Rubin worked as a public affairs assistant at Kivvit.
Chris Leuchten joins Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s, D-Ariz., staff as a counsel and policy adviser. Leuchten previously worked as an associate for Baker & McKenzie LLP.
From staff assistant to press secretary, Anika Legrand-Wittich begins new responsibilities in the office of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. She previously worked on Ocasio-Cortez's campaign as deputy communications director.
Thomas Hester has left the office of Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas. He served as the legislative director for McCaul and served on the staffs of former Texas representatives Jeb Hensarling and Sam Johnson. Thomas Rice has replaced Hester as LD and will cover the portfolios for telecommunications, science and technology, foreign trade and appropriations.
Oklahoma republican Rep. Frank Lucas promoted Mitchell Wilkinson to legislative assistant from correspondent.
Kayla Hamedi will move up to legislative assistant for Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y. She also serves as press assistant.
Brandon Wear is starting his career as a legislative correspondent for Rep. Garret Graves, R-La. He just wrapped up an internship with Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La.
Vijay Menon joins the staff of Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, as a policy adviser for the Joint Economic Committee. Menon previously worked as a research assistant for the Heritage Foundation.
Sarah Monteith is transferring to the staff of California Democrat Rep. Josh Harder, as his new legislative assistant. Monteith comes from the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and worked for Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wa.
Drew Spence is the new policy chief of staff for Kamala Harris’s, D-Calif., presidential campaign. He was serving as her legislative aide in the California Democrat's Senate office.
Dan Latu is a new legislative assistant covering animal issues for Rep. Albio Sires, D-N.J. Latu was serving as legislative correspondent.
Ernesto Rodriguez is joining the staff of Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán, D-Calif., as her new legislative director. He comes from the Joint Economic Committee, where he served as senior counsel for Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M. … Joshua Izaak also joins the staff of Diaz Barragán as the new senior policy counsel. He comes from the office of Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., where he was a legislative correspondent.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., adds Eric Altamura as his new legislative aide. He previously worked as an adjunct research assistant for the Center for a New American Security.
Scott Wilson has left the office of Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., where he served as legislative assistant. Leahy’s office has not yet filled this position.
Bryan Doyle has left the office of Rep. Antonio Cárdenas, D-Calif., where he served as communications director. Cárdenas’s office has not named a replacement for this position.
Yesterday, the funeral of Joseph “Maurice” Cutchember took place at Briscoe-Tonic funeral home in Mechanicsville, MD. Cutchember unexpectedly passed away last week at the age of 66. He had over 40 years of government service, with 20 of those years spent at USDA. In his last position at USDA, he served in the Office of External Affairs.
John Attaway Sr., the author who wrote three books on how natural disasters changed the agriculture industry, has died at the age of 88. Attaway wrote “A History of Florida Citrus Freezes,” Hurricanes and Florida Agriculture,” and “Florida Citrus 2004-2005 Hurricanes.” Earlier in his career, Attaway joined the Florida Department of Citrus as a researcher in 1959 then received his doctorate in organic chemistry from Duke University. He became the department’s director in 1968 and retired in 1995. During his time with the department, he guided research that improved orange juice quality and found new uses for orange byproducts such as peels, oils, and pulp.
Correction: In last week’s newsletter we stated the Des Moines Water Works lawsuit was against three Iowa conservation districts, when it should have stated the lawsuit was against three Iowa drainage districts.
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