Rabo AgriFinance named Jill Jelacich general manager of the company’s new territory focused only on California’s food, agriculture, renewable energy, and wine sectors. Jelacich previously served as the director of food and agribusiness at Rabobank, N.A. She is a graduate of the California Ag Lending Institute and served on the Ag Lending Society Board of Directors.

California Governor Gavin Newsom announced the appointments to the state’s Department of Water Resources, Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Department of Food and Agriculture. Karla Nemeth has been reappointed to serve as director of the California Department of Water Resources (CDWR), where she has served since 2018. She previously served as the deputy secretary for water policy at the California Natural Resources Agency from 2014 to 2018. Cindy Messer was reappointed to chief deputy director of CDWR, where she has served since 2017. She previously served as the assistant chief deputy director from 2016-2017 and was the deputy executive officer of planning at the Delta Stewardship Council from 2012 to 2016. Charlton Bonham has been reappointed to director of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), where he has served since 2011. Bonham was the California director and senior attorney for Trout Unlimited from 2000 to 2010. Valerie Termini has been tapped to serve as the chief deputy director of CDFW. Termini has been executive director of the California Fish and Game Commission since 2016 and acting chief deputy director at CDFW since 2018. Governor Newsom also reappointed Jennifer Lester and Rachael O’Brien to the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), where they both have served since 2018. Lester was reappointed to undersecretary and O’Brien to deputy secretary for legislative affairs. Arturo Barajas was appointed to serve as the deputy secretary at the CDFA. He previously was serving as the legislative aide in the office of assembly for member Joaquin Arambula since 2016. CDFA deputy secretary for administration and finance Kevin Masuhara, who was appointed by CDFA Secretary Karen Ross, will also continue in his current role. To see the original announcement click here.

Karen Ross, California Department of Food & Agriculture (CDFA) Secretary, has appointed the initial board for the California Cattle Council. The Council was designed and authorized to carry out research on cattle production and beef nutrition, and to develop consumer or other educational programs. The members include: Jesse Larios, Imperial County; Mike Smith, Fresno County; William Brandenberg, Imperial County; David Daley, Butte County; Jacob Parnell, Sacramento County; Julie Morris, San Benito County; Cody Nicholson-Stratton, Humboldt County; Jennifer Beretta, Sonoma County; Tyler Ribiero, Tulare County; Sarah Mora, Humboldt County.

Nancy Johnston

Nancy Johnston

Renaissance Food Group of Rancho Cordova, Calif., brings on Nancy Johnston to serve as vice president of produce procurement. She brings over 30 years of experience and previously served as the senior sales manager for Sysco Corp.

Naturipe Farms hired Glenn Daniels as director of business development for value-added fresh. Daniels spent that past 18 years working for Earthbound Farm, San Juan Bautista, Calif., most recently as the vice president of customer development—East. Before that he served 12 years with Dole Fresh Vegetables.

Del Rey Avocado hired Brent Portell as operations manager for the new facility opening up in Vista, Calif. Portell previously served as Green Thumb Produce Inc. for the past 11 years most recently serving as the general manager of the wholesaler.

David Nelley joins Apeel Sciences as vice president of domestic buyer relations. Nelley comes to Apeel from The Oppenheimer Group where he served since 2001 most recently as vice president of global exports.

Chad Rupe has been appointed by President Donald Trump to serve as the administrator of Rural Utilities Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. With over 15 years of experience in commercial and community banking, he's most recently served as the Wyoming Rural Development director.

Alex Vargo is the new legislative assistant for Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah. He previously served as the legislative director for Rep. Ted Budd, R-N.C. 

Jack Lincoln has left the office of Rep. Doug LaMalfa, R-Calif., where he served as the legislative director, to head back home to Northern California. John Veale has taken over legislative director duties and the agriculture portfolio has been handed over to Kathleen Devlin

Carlos Condarco has been promoted to press secretary for Rep. Donna Shalala, D-Fla. Condarco previously served as a caseworker for Shalala.

Colorado governor and Democratic presidential candidate John Hickenlooper has named M.E. Smith as his campaign manager. Smith most recently served as the campaign manager for Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa. Smith also served as the deputy campaign manager for Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., in 2016 and the deputy campaign manager for Hickenlooper's 2014 gubernatorial race. 

John Hickenlooper

John Hickenlooper

Joseph Melo is the new staff assistant for Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Calif. He previously served as an intern in McNerney’s office.

The Biotechnology Innovation Organization promotes Stephanie Batchelor to vice president of BIO’s industrial and environmental section. Batchelor has been with BIO since 2008 where she started as director of state and international policy. She most recently served as the industrial and environmental section’s managing director.

The Association of Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers (GAPP) announced the hiring of Anna Carpenterto fill the newly created GAPP Communications and Membership Coordinator position. Carpenter is a recent graduate of Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, IN where she received a B.A. in Communication Studies.

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