Steve Lutz will leave the Produce Marketing Association on August 2 to start his own communications and marketing company. Lutz has served as the vice president of PMA’s U.S. and Canada for the past year. Before that, he served as the vice president of marketing at CMI Orchards based out of Wenatchee, Wash. He also served as the executive vice president at Nielsen Perishables Group, and was the president and CEO of the Washington Apple Commission. He was at the commission from 1992 to 2000.
President Donald Trump designated Glen Smith to serve as chairman and CEO of the Farm Credit Administration. Smith succeeds Dallas Tonsager, who died in office in May. Smith previously served as a member of the FCA board and served on the board of directors of the Farm Credit System Insurance Corporation. The designation was effective July 17. Smith is a native of Southwest Iowa, where he and his wife operate a diversified farm. He is founder and co-owner of Smith Land Service Co., an agricultural service company that specializes in farm management, land appraisal, and farmland brokerage.
Heath Tarbert, chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, announced new appointments to positions in his office. Jaime Klima will serve as chief of staff and chief operating officer. Before this appointment, Klima served at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as chief counsel in the Office of the Chair. Charlie Thornton has been appointed to serve as counselor to the chairman, Thomas Benison will serve as chief negotiator for international agreements, and Matthew Daigler, Daniel Grimm, and Andrew Ridenour will serve as senior counsel to the chairman. Chelsea Pizzola has been tapped to serve as deputy chief of staff and counsel to the chairman, Melissa Benedict will serve as executive assistant, and Anna Rosenberg will serve as special assistant to the chairman and legislative specialist.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has made a few leadership changes. Mark Davidson has been hired to serve as an associate administrator, filling the position previously held by Mike Gregoire, who retired earlier this year. Davidson previously served as deputy administrator for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Business Services. Bernadette Juarez will be the deputy administrator for Biotechnology Regulatory Services, succeeding Mike Firko, who is retiring at the end of the month. Juarez has been serving as the deputy administrator for Animal Care since early 2016, after earlier service as the director of APHIS Investigative and Enforcement Services and before that as an attorney with USDA’s Office of the General Counsel. Jack Shere will become an associate administrator, filling the position previously held by Mary Bohman, who left the agency earlier this year. Bohman previously served as administrator for ERS. Shere has been serving as deputy administrator for Veterinary Services (VS) and Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) since early 2016. Burke Healey, currently the VS associate deputy administrator, will succeed Shere as the VS deputy administrator and CVO. Rosemary Sifford, currently the VS associate deputy administrator for Strategy and Policy (S&P), will succeed Healey as the VS associate administrator. Sarah Tomlinson, currently the VS executive director for S&P, will succeed Sifford as VS associate deputy administrator for S&P. Thomas McKenna, currently director for District One of VS Field Operations (FiOps), will be a new FiOps executive director. He will also serve as the FiOps acting associate deputy administrator while APHIS recruits for a permanent successor to Brian McCluskey, who recently left the Agency.
Joseph Balagtas has been selected to serve as the new senior economist, with a focus on agricultural and food policy, to the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) in Washington, D.C. Balagtas is an associate professor of agricultural economics at Purdue University. His appointment will begin on Aug. 1, and he will also have a partial appointment working with the USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist conducting economic analysis on similar policies. Balagtas holds a Ph.D. in agricultural economics from the University of California, Davis, an M.S. in agricultural economics from Iowa State University and a B.A. in economics from Miami University.
The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) has hired Max Moncaster to serve as associate director of public policy, leading NASDA’s international trade, domestic marketing, and natural resources policy issues. Moncaster comes to NASDA from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), where he served as the director of policy communications. NASDA also promoted Sara Arsenault to manager of public policy. She previously served as manager of program development and partnerships. Arsenault will lead NASDA’s engagement on animal agriculture issues. Amanda Culp has been promoted to director of communications and events, leading the execution of the NASDA Annual Meeting, Winter Policy Conference, and other events. Culp has served as director of communications for six years and has been employed by NASDA for over eight years. Molly Quirk is also being promoted from office manager to manager of partnerships and finance.
The office of the U.S. Trade Representative has hired Trey Forsyth to serve as special assistant to the Chief Agricultural Negotiator. Forsyth comes to USTR from Land O’Lakes, where he served as a government relations specialist.
Ryann DuRant is the new press secretary for Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. She hails from South Carolina, and comes to the department after nearly eight years on the Hill, most recently working for Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, as his press secretary during his tenure as Majority Whip. Ryann graduated with honors from Wake Forest University, where she was a presidential scholar and received a bachelor’s degree in communications.
Samantha Swing is a legislative assistant covering the environmental protection and public lands and natural resources portfolio for Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev. She most recently worked for the American Association for Justice as its press secretary.
Settling into retirement is Terry Barr. Barr retired as senior economist at CoBank at the end of June. He joined CoBank in May 2009 and spent 25 years with the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives where he served as the organization’s chief economist. Before that, he served 14 years at the U.S. Department of Agriculture serving as the director of economic analysis and chairman of the World Agricultural Outlook Board.
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