Syngenta has tapped Chris Davison to serve as head of business sustainability for North America, effective June 1. Davison joined Syngenta in 2012 and previously served as head of corporate and government affairs in Canada. In his new position, he will move to Washington, D.C., and help Syngenta accelerate its innovation in support of challenges faced by farmers and the environment.

Samantha Buchalter has been promoted to legislative manager at The Russell Group. Buchalter has been with The Russell Group since 2017 where she began as a legislative and regulatory analyst. She most recently served as a legislative assistant.

Ken Colombini

Samantha Buchalter

Rachel Cone has been selected to serve as the new coordinator of food safety programs at the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA). In this role, Cone will manage agreements with the Food and Drug Administration to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act. Cone recently graduated from Colorado State University and has interned with the Colorado Farm Bureau and the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association.

Josie Wagler will join the International Dairy Foods Association team on June 17, as the executive assistant to president and CEO Michael Dykes and chief of staff Heather Soubra. Wagler is serving as the constituent services specialist and deputy scheduler for Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa … Gary Wynne joins Grassley's staff as his new staff assistant. Wynne is a recent graduate of Iowa State University.

Alexandra Menardy was promoted to senior legislative assistant for Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash. Menardy handles the portfolios for energy, environmental protection, and public lands and natural resources.

Ryan Dierker has left the office of Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio. to join the U.S. Marine Corps. He served as the senior legislative assistant covering agriculture and trade. Luke Graeter has taken over the agriculture portfolio and also covers energy and telecommunications issues.

Andrew Robreno has been promoted from legislative director to deputy chief of staff for Rep. Lloyd Smucker, R-Pa. Robreno covers the portfolios for appropriations, foreign trade, and public lands and natural resources.

Andrew Lowenthal is now chief of staff for Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y. Lowenthal comes from Reorg, where he served as a senior policy analyst and he previously worked at Monument Policy Group LLC. He succeeds Mike Iger, who left to join The Glover Park Group as a new vice president.

Jami Burgess has joined the staff of Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., as the new chief of staff. Burgess previously served as the chief of staff for Rep. Denny Heck, D-Wash. Heck promoted Brendan Woodbury to serve as his new chief of staff. He previously served as legislative director.

Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., promoted Alison Slagell to legislative director. She handles the portfolio for agriculture and food, animals, energy, environmental protection, foreign trade, and natural resources.

Mike Viggiano joined the staff of Rep. Norma Torres, D-Calif., as her new legislative assistant. He covers the portfolio for environment, labor, small business, trade, and transportation. He previously worked in the office of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., as her legislative correspondent and legislative assistant.

Sarah Sinovic joined the staff of Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., to serve as the new communications director and digital director. Sinovic’s past experience includes working as a senior communications and digital associate for Marathon Strategies LLC.

Kristine Fargotstein has left the House Energy and Commerce Committee where she served as a Federal Communications Commission detailee for the communications and technology subcommittee for Rep. Bob Latta, R-Ohio. She now works for the U.S. Telecom Association as the vice president for policy and advocacy.

Ken Colombini

Ken Colombini

Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Ark., brings on Kayley Corley to serve as his new legislative correspondent. Elizabeth Teed also joins Westerman’s staff as his new staff assistant. She was previously serving as an intern in Westerman’s office.

Rep. Gwen Moore’s, D-Wis., new press secretary is Samara Sheff. She comes from the office of Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., where she served as press assistant.

A graduate of Brown University, Charlie Andrews joined the staff of Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., as a deputy press secretary.

The Renewable Fuels Association added Ken Colombini to its staff as the new communications director. Colombini has been working as a freelance communications consultant since 2016. He has also served in the communications department at the National Corn Growers Association and helped create and lead the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance. He also has worked at Anheuser-Busch and in the California state government as the governor’s speechwriter and as the chief communications officer for the California State Parks system.

Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) announced another internal company realignment, which will combine four divisions of the company into three. The origination and oilseed businesses will merge and now be called Ag Services & Oilseeds, effective July 1. Greg Morris, current Oilseeds president, will lead the new division. Stefano Rettore, president of the Origination division, has decided to leave ADM for personal reasons.

Tad Sonstegard is the first CEO of Acceligen, a Recombinetics company focused on precision breeding. Sonstegard will also continue to lead scientific developments as chief scientific officer. He has been with Recombinetics/Acceligen since 2015. Sonstegard also served 17 years with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, most recently serving as the acting national program leader for food animal production.

Carol Kitchen

Carol Kitchen

Carol Kitchen has been tapped to serve as GROWMARK’s vice president of energy and logistics. She succeeds Mike Builta, who unexpectedly passed away in April. Kitchen currently serves as president and CEO of United Farmers of Alberta, a western Canada cooperative. She has also held positions with Land O’Lakes as senior vice president of corporate strategy and business development and senior vice president and general manager or global dairy ingredients.

The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) elected Jeremy Levin to serve as the new chair of the board of directors for the 2019-2020 year. BIO also brought on Rich Masters to serve as the new executive vice president for public affairs, effective June 17. Masters is currently serving as the executive vice president at Qorvis Communications. BIO’s current senior vice president of communications, Ken Lisaius, announced he will be departing the organization on June 14.

Jeff Harmening, chairman of the board and CEO of General Mills, will be the new chairman of the board of directors for the Grocery Manufacturers Association. Harmening has served on the board since 2017 and succeeds Vivek Sankaran, who has been appointed the new CEO of Albertsons. Benno Dorer, chair and CEO of the Clorox Company, was elected to serve as the vice chairman.

The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) has chosen David Baltensperger as president-elect for the 2019-2020 year. Baltensperger has been a member of CAST for over 20 years, and since 2014 has been the board representative for the Crop Science Society of America. Baltensperger worked at the University of Florida and the University of Nebraska as a plant breeder and now serves as the head of the soil and crop sciences department at Texas A&M University.

Thad Cochran

Michael Kremer is joining the leadership team of AgriSync Inc. to become the head of marketing. Kremer is responsible for overseeing marketing efforts, including brand management, media relations, and strategy.

AgReliant Genetics added Amanda Fruland as the company’s new corporate communications manager. She most recently worked at Hathaway Strategies as the director of communications and began her career working for Monarch Beverage, the largest beer and wine distributor in Indiana.

Former chairman of the Senate Appropriations and Agriculture committees, Thad Cochran, passed away on May 30 at the age of 81. Cochran served in Congress for 45 years and had to resign last year due to health concerns. To read our full story, click here.

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