President Donald Trump announced his intent to nominate Finch Fulton to be assistant secretary of Transportation. Fulton currently serves as a special adviser to the secretary on transportation policy. Fulton also worked for former Attorney General Jeff Sessions during his time as an Alabama senator.

Finch Fulton

Finch Fulton

Tas Smith has joined National Cotton Council as the producer affairs representative. He will work alongside Craig Brown, the vice president of producer affairs, to facilitate the transition upon Brown's retirement in August 2020. Smith previously served two years as the state executive director in Georgia for USDA's Farm Service Agency. Before that, he worked for the Georgia Farm Bureau for 12 years.

Heather Janik headed to the Food and Drug Administration to lead the media affairs team. She previously worked at Feeding America as director of thought leadership and media relations.

Lillie Brady has been promoted to director of external and intergovernmental affairs at the Department of Agriculture. She fills the role after Rob McGregor has left to become the senior adviser to the Undersecretary of Natural Resources and Environment, Jim Hubbard.

Turner Bridgforth left USDA where he served as a policy adviser and special assistant to Undersecretary Greg Ibach. He now works on Capitol Hill as a legislative assistant to Rep. Jim Hagedorn, R-Minn., covering the animal welfare portfolio.

Heather Janik

Heather Janik

David LeClere has joined Rep. David McKinley’s, R-W.V., office as a legislative assistant covering the energy, environmental protection, public lands, and natural resources portfolio. He previously was the lead policy analyst at Bulletin Intelligence.

Milly Lothian is now the communications director for Rep. Greg Pence, R-Ind. She previously served as the deputy press secretary for Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La.

Eric Gustafson now works as the energy policy adviser for Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D. He previously worked in the office of Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas, as a legislative director.

Liz Amster has been promoted to chief of staff for Rep. Kathleen Rice’s, D-N.Y., office. Amster previously served as legislative director and covered the environmental protection, immigration, science and technology, and telecommunication portfolio. Michele Viterise has been hired to serve as legislative director for Rice. Viterise previously worked as a legislative counsel for Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash. 

Hannah Hummelberg is now the communications director and policy adviser to Rep. Dan Bishop, R-N.C. She previously worked at the Department of Homeland Security.

Stephanie Cope joined Rep. Fred Keller’s, R-Pa., office as the new legislative assistant covering the animal welfare and telecommunications portfolio. She previously worked at Rep. Brian Mast’s, R-Fla., as a legislative correspondent.

Zellie Duvall has left the office of Rep. Rick Allen, R-Ga., where she served as a legislative assistant covering the agriculture portfolio. 

Victor Morente is now the communications director for Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I. He previously worked for the City of Providence, R.I. as the press secretary. He replaces Stuart Malec.

Michael Bauman now works as a legislative assistant for Rep. Abby Finkenauer, D-Iowa. Bauman focuses on transportation, infrastructure, and tax issues.

The U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance seated its 2020 board of directors and elected members to its executive committee. The executive committee is as follows: Chip Bowling will serve as chairman and represents the National Corn Growers Association; Scott VanderWal will serve as vice chairman and represents the American Farm Bureau Federation; Anne Meis was elected to serve as secretary and represents the Nebraksa Soybean Board; Blair Van Zetten was elected treasurer and represents the American Egg Board; Brad Greenway is the immediate past chair and represents the National Pork Board; Pamela Strifler is an at-large member and represents Bayer; and Joe Koss will also serve as an at-large member and represents the Culver Franchising System, LLC. The remaining 2020 USFRA board members include: James Adams, U.S. Poultry & Egg Association; Doug Berven, Poet; Phil Borgic, National Pork Producers Council; Andy Fabin, United Soybean Board; Marilyn Hershey, Dairy Management, Inc.; Jim Martin, Illinois Soybean Association; Scott Phillips, National Pork Board; and Brody Stapel, Edge Dairy Cooperative.

The National Biodiesel Board elected new members to serve on the governing board,  including: Kent Engelbrecht, Archer Daniels Midland; Chad Stone, Renewable Energy Group; Ryan Pederson, North Dakota Soybean Council; Harry Simpson, Crimson Renewable Energy; Paul Soanes, RBF Port Neches, LLC; Dave Walton, Iowa Soybean Association; and Tim Ostrem, South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council. The board also elected Chad Stone as chairman, Mike Rath as vice chairman, Rob Shaffer as 2nd vice chairman, Ryan Pederson as treasurer and Troy Alberts as secretary. Troy AlbertsRob ShafferJeff Lynn, Tim Keaveney, Greg Anderson, Mike Rath, Robert Morton, and Tom Brooks continue to serve on the board.

The Department of Agriculture announced the appointment of 40 members to serve on the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board. To see the appointments click here.

Nick Guilette of Casco, Wis., was named as the inaugural recipient of the Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) Conservationist of the Year Award for his conservation work with AgSource Laboratories. This award was established to annually recognize a certified crop adviser who exhibits dedication to exceptional conservation delivery, customer service, and has shown to be a leader in their industry. The 2019 award was presented by Chief Matt Lohr in Washington, D.C., at the Department of Agriculture. The award is supported by a conservation and agribusiness partnership among USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service, The Agricultural Retailers Association, The American Society of Agronomy, CropLife America, Crop Science Society of America, National Association of Conservation Districts, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, Soil Science Society of America, Syngenta, and The Fertilizer Institute.

Jim Gray passed away on Nov. 23, 2019 at St. Luke’s Hospice House in Kansas City, Missouri. Jim was an extremely well-respected member of the agribusiness community in Kansas City and across the U.S. He was a founding member of the Kansas City Agribusiness Council and a member of CropLife America, serving on that organization’s State Affairs Committee. Most recently, he was the President of Gray Executive Direction, LLC and Executive Director of the Industry Task Force II on 2,4-D Research Data, a position he had held since 2007. The family requests that any donations in his memory be made to St. Luke’s Hospice House, 901 E 104th St N3000, Kansas City, MO 64131.

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