The U.S. Grains Council named its Mexico council director Ryan LeGrand as its new president and CEO. LeGrand succeeds Tom Sleight who has served as president and CEO since 2012. LeGrand has been with USGC in Mexico since 2015, and has served as the director of the Council’s Mexico City office since 2016. Before joining USGC, he worked for Gavilon as the director of ingredients in Mexico, located in Guadalajara. LeGrand also served as the director of exports for Hawkeye Gold, LLC, exporting DDGs to Latin America and Asia.

President Donald Trump nominated Rob Wallace to serve as assistant secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks at the Department of the Interior. The Wyoming native has over 45 years of experience, having served as a seasonal ranger, assistant director of legislative and congressional affairs for the National Park Service, chief of staff to former Sen. Malcolm Wallop, R-Wyo., and Wyoming Gov. Jim Geringer. He served as government relations manager for GE Energy, and currently works with ranchers, energy companies, conservationists and regulators to balance the needs of conservation and energy development in the West.

The Congressional Wine Caucus announced Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., has been selected to serve as the new co-chair of the Wine Caucus. Newhouse is a farmer, wine grower, and represents the wine growing regions of Washington’s Columbia Valley, Yakima Valley and the Walla Walla Valley. Newhouse will serve as the fifth co-chair of the Wine Caucus, and is the first co-chair from outside the state of California.

Constance Cullman

The American Feed Industry Association picked Constance Cullman to succeed Joel Newman as its new president and CEO, effective July 2019. Cullman previously served as president of the Farm Foundation, a role she has served in for the past three years. Before that, she worked for Dow AgroSciences as their government affairs leader and as the senior director of regulatory, technical and international affairs at the Corn Refiners Association. She also spent time working at USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service and was the vice president of agricultural ecology at the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation.

Riya Mehta has left the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee where she served as a fellow to start a new position in Rep. Jimmy Panetta’s, D-Calif., office as his new agriculture legislative assistant.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., has hired Julia Rossman to serve as her staff assistant for the Senate Agriculture Committee. Stabenow has also promoted Rosalyn Brummette to policy analyst, where she will focus on conservation and climate issues.

Tracey Massey has been promoted to global president of Mars Pet Nutrition, effective June 3. She previously served as Mars Wrigley North America regional president and has been with the company for over 20 years. Anton Vincent has been chosen to succeed Massey as the regional president for Mars Wrigley North America, bringing along over 20 years of experience in the U.S. food industry and most recently working for Greencore Group plc. where he was CEO.

President Donald Trump nominated Rob Wallace to serve as assistant secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks at the Department of the Interior. The Wyoming native has over 45 years of experience, having served as a seasonal ranger, assistant director of legislative and congressional affairs for the National Park Service, chief of staff to former Sen. Malcolm Wallop, R-Wyo., and Wyoming Gov. Jim Geringer. He served as government relations manager for GE Energy, and currently works with ranchers, energy companies, conservationists and regulators to balance the needs of conservation and energy development in the West.

Ephraim Leibtag has been appointed to take over as the acting administrator for the Economic Research Service. He steps in to take over after Chris Hartley stepped down due to tenure limits.

Courtney Knupp

Courtney Knupp

Courtney Knupp is now the chief of staff for USDA’s Research, Education, and Economics mission area. She previously served as a senior policy adviser to the Foreign Agricultural Service. 

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture promoted Aline DeLucia to senior director of public policy. Before joining NASDA, DeLucia served as a manager of federal government relations for Syngenta. She succeeds Nathan Bowen who served as executive director of public policy and has been with the organization for 10 years. Bowen will depart NASDA on May 31 to grow a career in the food and agriculture sector in London.

Jeff Sands is the new director of government affairs for USA Rice. He will manage policy issues affecting the rice industry as well as facilitating the day-to-day operations of the USA Rice Political Action Committee. Before joining USA Rice, Sands worked for the Agricultural Retailers Association and Syngenta. 

Ian Lee is now the communications director and senior adviser for Rep. Josh Harder, D-Calif. He previously served as the communications director for Rep. Sean Maloney, D-N.Y. Maloney’s office is currently searching for a new communications director.

Matt Simon is the new chief of staff for Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Ariz. Simon will also cover the portfolios of energy, commerce, foreign trade, natural resources, and environmental protection.

Covering the environmental protection portfolio as the new legislative assistant for Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., is Jessica Seigel. She previously worked for the National Rural Health Association as an advocacy communications manager.

Correction: In last week’s Farm Hands on the Potomac we stated Misty Ann Giles has been with USDA since 2007, when it should have stated 2017.