Beth Bechdol was confirmed as the deputy director general at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Bechdol most recently served as the president and CEO of AgriNovus Indiana. She has served in leadership roles at Ice Miller LLP, the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee under Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., and with Informa Economics. She also serves as board chair for the Indiana Humanities Council and is a board member for the Indiana State Fair Commission, Conner Prairie and the Purdue Research Foundation.

Beth Bechdol

Beth Bechdol

The Alliance of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Science Societies tapped Nick Goeser to serve as CEO. Goeser most recently served as vice president of sustainability sciences and strategy of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance. Before that, he served as the vice president of production and sustainability at the National Corn Growers Association. 

Pamela Marrone, company founder of Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc., announced she will retire from her position as CEO. Marrone will continue as CEO until the board of directors have named a successor. She will continue to serve on the company’s board of directors as a non-executive member. Following her retirement, she will also serve as a consultant to Marrone Bio to advocate for the company and its mission. Marrone Bio is a sustainable bioprotection and plant health solutions company. 

American Agri-Women elected its new national officers at its 2019 national convention, including: Karolyn Zurn of Minnesota Agri-Women as AAW President; Jane Marshall of Ohio Agri-Women was elected to a two-year term as First Vice President of Vital Issues. Carie Marshall-Moore of North Dakota Agri-Women was elected to a two-term as Vice President of Communications. Jeanette Lombardo of California Women for Agriculture is now the current past president. Officers returning for their second year of a two-year term are: Lesley Schmidt of Kansas Agri-Women, Vice President of Education; Katie Yost of Montana Agri-Women, Treasurer; and Natalina Sents from Iowa Agri-Women, Secretary.

The Corn Refiners Association (CRA) has hired Eamon Monahan as senior director of environmental affairs and workplace safety. Before joining CRA, Monahan served in a leadership role at the Composite Panel Association. Monahan also has experience working at the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Air and Radiation.

Mark Szymanski has returned to the National Potato Council to lead the communications and media relations department. Szymanski previously worked for the council five years ago and left to pursue other communications opportunities in the D.C. area.

Megan Provost is leaving the Farm Foundation to begin a new role in Washington, D.C., as the president of RISE, a pesticide trade association. Her last day with Farm Foundation will be Dec. 13., and she will begin her new role at RISE on Dec. 16. She joined the Foundation in October 2017. Before that, she served as a government affairs manager for Dow AgroSciences. Provost has also served as a legislative assistant for Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., and was an economist at the American Farm Bureau Association.

Nick Goeser

Nick Goeser

Elanco Animal Health Inc., hired Sara Place for the position of Chief Sustainability Officer. Place will work to help identify new opportunities to improve sustainable business practices, the well-being of animals and people, and reduce the environmental footprint of protein production for Elanco. Place previously worked as the senior director for sustainable beef production research for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Before this, she was an assistant professor for Sustainable Beef Production Systems in the Department of Animal Science at Oklahoma State University.

The Environmental Working Group hired environmental attorney Jamie Konopacky as the new Midwest director, based in Minneapolis, Minn. Konopacky has experience working on water quality and public health issues. She most recently worked with the Harvard Environmental Law Institute and the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy Midwest to improve agriculture and water-related local and state public policy and programs.

The American Bakers Association hired Lauren Williams as government relations director. She previously worked as a professional staff member on the House Education and Labor Committee. The American Bankers Association also promoted Zack Decker to government relations manager. He previously served in the role of membership engagement coordinator.

Natasha Silva joins the office of Rep. Bill Keating, D-Mass., as the new legislative director. She covers the portfolio for agriculture and transportation. She previously served as the senior legislative assistant for Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass.

Virginia Lenahan now serves as a trade counsel on the Senate Finance Committee for Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. She previously served as a legislative aide for Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa.

Alex Davidson is the director of media relations for the Beer Institute. He previously worked as the communications director for Rep. Paul Mitchell, R-Mich.

Clara Cargile signs on as a staff assistant for Rep. Jodey Arrington, R-Texas. She previously served as an intern in Rep. Mike Conaway’s, R-Texas, office......Sarah Almgren has been hired to work as a staff assistant for Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. She previously served as an intern in Cornyn’s office.

Megan Perleoni is a new staff assistant for Rep. John Larson, D-Conn. She previously was an intern for Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Mass., and Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas.

Carter Thompson is now a staff assistant for Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del. Thompson previously worked as an intern in Coons’ office.

Jim Gray, president of Gray Executive Direction, LLC and executive director of the Industry Task Force II on 2,4-D research data, passed away at the age of 60. Gray was a founding member of the Kansas City Agribusiness Council and a member of CropLife America, serving on that organization's State Affairs Committee. Throughout his career, he served as the director of regulatory and environmental affairs at the Western Crop Protection Association and in similar positions with agricultural corporations such as Rhone-Poulenc Ag, Aventis CropScience and Bayer CropScience.

Correction: Last week, we incorrectly reported that Tas Smith would be joining the National Chicken Council. He joined the National Cotton Council. We regret the error.

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