Dan Mauer has joined CHS Inc. as the new Washington representative covering the portfolio for energy, tax, transportation, and infrastructure. He previously served as the vice president of the Porter Group LLC.

The U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) has brought Shelbi Knisley on to the team as the new director of policy. Knisley previously spent the last five years at USDA where she most recently served as the Foreign Agricultural Service trade policy adviser to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. USW has also elevated Chad Weigand to regional director for Sub-Saharan Africa, based in Cape Town, South Africa. Weigand has been serving as assistant regional director since December 2018. He replaces Gerald Theus, who retired Dec. 31. Claudia Gómez recently joined the organization as a senior marketing specialist based out of its Santiago, Chile, office. Gómez brings 15 years of experience in agribusiness to USW, and most recently worked as a consultant adviser in sales and marketing for YOLO Solar, a company dedicated to development and commercialization of solar energy and energy efficiency systems.

The National Grain and Feed Association has promoted six staff members in the organization. Max Fisher has been promoted to vice president of economics and government relations. Fisher joined NCFA in 2013. Before that, he served as the chief economist for the Senate Agriculture Committee. Bobby Frederick now serves as the vice president of legislative affairs and public policy. Frederick joined NCFA in 2015 after working as a legislative director for Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill. Rebecca Grubbs has been promoted to vice president of meetings and marketing. Tammy Elliott was promoted to director of business operations. Mary Hitchcock has been promoted to director of arbitration and mediation services and Jim Seibert was promoted to director of safety education and training.

The board of directors of the FMC Corporation has elected Mark Douglas as president and chief executive officer, effective June 1. Douglas has served as president and chief operating officer of FMC since June 2018. Pierre Brondeau will continue to serve as chairman and CEO through May 31. Brondeau will then become executive chairman and remain a member of the Board of Directors. 

Syngenta Group, the consolidated agriculture assets of ChemChina and Sinochem, have announced new leadership changes. After 26 years, Mark Patrick, CFO and member of the Syngenta Executive Team since 2016, will be leaving the company at the end of January 2020. Chen Lichtenstein, current president and CEO of ADAMA, will be nominated to serve as the new CFO, based in Basel, Switzerland. Lichtenstein has been with ADAMA for 14 years and before joining ADAMA, he served as the executive director of investment banking at Goldman Sachs in New York and London.

Mike Tomko has joined the American Farm Bureau team as the new director of communications. He previously worked 18 years at WBFF Fox45, most recently as a news director. Cole Staudt also joins the communications team as the media relations specialist. Staudt previously worked on the Hill as the communications director to Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa.

Blair Shipp has joined the American Soybean Association as the new state policy communications coordinator. Shipp has served the last six years as communications director for Valis Associates LLC, a boutique political consulting firm based in D.C.

The American Soybean Association board of directors elected the newest leaders who will guide the organization through its 100th year. Bill Gordon, Minnesota, will serve as 2020 ASA president. Gordon previously served as vice president and treasurer of ASA and has been a national director since 2012. Davie Stephens, of Kentucky, moves to the role of ASA chairman after serving as the past president. Former chairman John Heisdorffer, Iowa, rotates off the nine-member ASA Governing Committee but remains on the ASA board. Kevin Scott, South Dakota, was elected to serve as vice president. 

American Humane, a national humane organization and the certifier of animal welfare, has promoted Haley Grimes to the position of director of farm program operations. Grimes has been with the American Humane Farm Program for two years as a field operations manager.

Caren Wilcox has been tapped to lead the U.S. Hemp Growers Association, a new farmer-directed hemp trade association. Wilcox has previously held executive roles at Hershey, USDA and the Organic Trade Association.

Mike Stranz has left the House Agriculture Committee where he served as the subcommittee staff director for general farm commodities and risk management. Stranz has worked for the committee for the past five years. In his new job, he has returned to the National Farmers Union in the role of policy director. He started at NFU this past Monday. 

Zellie Duvall is settling into her new position at USDA as a policy and congressional adviser in the Office of Congressional Relations. Duvall previously worked on the Hill as a legislative assistant to Rep. Rick Allen, R-Ga.

Andrew Fisher has left USDA and headed to the National Pork Producers Council as the new manager of congressional relations. At USDA, Fisher worked in the Farm Production and Conservation department as a policy adviser. Andrew Shaeffer succeeds him in the policy adviser role.

Sen. Chuck Grassley’s agriculture legislative assistant, Steph Carlson, is temporarily leaving for infantry school for the U.S. Coast Guard. Grassley’s office has hired Joe Gilson to take over Carlson’s portfolio, which includes agriculture, animal welfare, energy, environmental protection, public lands, natural resources and science and technology, until she returns. Gilson makes the move from USDA, where he most recently served as a policy adviser in Rural Development. Gary Wynn has also been promoted to legislative correspondent covering agriculture and trade issues.

Will Layden has been promoted to senior legislative assistant for Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Ark. He handles the portfolio for agriculture, animal welfare, environmental protection, natural resources, and telecommunications.

Jamie Smith now works as the new chief of staff for Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va. Smith previously worked as the communications director and focused on the agriculture, animal welfare, energy, environmental protection, natural resources and telecommunications portfolio.

Ben Watson now serves as the press secretary for Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa. He previously was the press assistant.

Trudy Perkins has joined the office of Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio., as its new communications director. She previously served as the chief of staff and communications director for the late Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md.

Matt Smith is the new communications director for Rep. James Comer, R-Ky. He succeeds Michael Gossum, who left the office.

Lauren Scott has moved over to the Senate side where she serves as Sen. Thom Tillis’, R-N.C., deputy press secretary. Scott previously served as the press secretary and projects manager for Rep. Andy Barr, R-Ky.

Grace Jang now serves as the communications director for Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Jang previously served as the deputy chief of staff for Alaska governor Bill Walker. Most recently, she served as a consultant for her business Grace Jang Solutions.

Kassie King now serves as the communications director for Rep. Susan Wild, D-Pa. She previously served as the communications director for former Rep. Katie Hill, D-Calif.

Merck Animal Health, a division of Merck & Co., announced Brian Beckley has been promoted to president of Biomark. Beckley previously served as the chief operations officer of Biomark. Beckley joined Biomark in 2001 and served in finance and sales positions. He will continue to be based in Boise, Idaho. 

Danone has promoted Pedro Silveira to president of the company’s yogurt business unit. Silveira brings more than 10 years of experience with the company, and was most recently president of Danone Canada.

George Siemon has stepped down as Organic Valley’s CEO. Siemon helped start the cooperative in 1988. Organic Valley’s board of directors has appointed Bob Kirchoff as interim CEO. Kirchoff has worked as the chief business officer since 2016.

Stacey Kerans is settling in to her new position as the communications director for the American Wind Energy Association. She previously was senior vice president of brand marketing at Ketchum.

Trimble has selected Jim Chambers as the new worldwide general manager of Trimble’s agriculture division, effective Jan. 13. Chambers will be located in Westminster, Colorado. He brings over 30 years of agriculture experience, most recently serving as the senior vice president and general manager of Iteris, an ag and weather analytics business. Chambers has also held several senior-level roles at companies such as Bayer, John Deere and Monsanto.

Aaron Johnson has been named president and CEO of Farm Credit Illinois. Johnson has been serving as interim CEO since Sept. 25, due to the passing of former CEO Tom Tracy. Johnson first joined the Farm Credit System in 1985, and brings over 30 years of experience in banking. He was named executive vice president in 2014.

The Missouri Farm Bureau hired Jennifer Poindexter to serve as director of promotion and education. Poindexter will lead MOFB’s efforts to increase agricultural education both inside of the classroom and out. Poindexter began her new duties on December 23. She succeeded Diane Olson, who is retired December 31 after 34 years of service to Missouri Farm Bureau.

The National 4‑H Council has elected three new Trustees to its Board: James Collins, Jr., chief executive officer of Corteva Agriscience; Wade Miquelon, chief executive officer of JOANN; and Tennessee 4-H alumnus Justin Cross, Young Alumni Advisory Committee (YAAC) Representative. 

The Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation (Farmer Mac) has appointed Daniel Shaw of Edgar, Neb., to the company’s board of directors. His appointment fills the seat of former board member Keri Votruba after his unexpected passing in October. Shaw and his family have owned and operated Shaw Farms in Edgar since 1975. He has served on the board of AgriBank Farm Credit Bank since 2014, where he was chair of the risk management committee from 2016 to 2018. He also served on the board of directors of Farm Credit Services of America from 2007 to 2014.

After nearly four decades of directing the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), Robert Greenstein, founder and president, stepped down from the helm on Dec. 31. The board of directors are currently searching for a new president to begin this month. Greenstein established CBPP in 1981 and had served as its chief executive ever since. Before this, Greenstein worked at the Senate Agriculture Committee as a congressional research service specialist helping to shape the 1970s changes to food stamps. He also served as the administrator of the Food and Nutrition Service under President Jimmy Carter, helping to design the 1977 Food Stamp Act, the Carter Administration’s largest anti-poverty achievement.

CHS’ first CEO, Noel Estenson passed away on Dec. 11 after a long battle with cancer. He was 80 years old. Estenson helped spearhead the 1998 merger that created CHS Inc., then became the first CEO of the cooperative. In his career before CHS, Estenson joined the former Cenex credit department immediately after his 1963 Army discharge. He excelled quickly becoming senior vice president of petroleum and finance in 1981. He was then named president and CEO of Cenex in August 1987. Estenson retired in 2000 and served for many years as a director for Thrivent Mutual Funds.

Berkley Bedell, a six-term congressman from northwest Iowa, died on Dec. 7 at the age of 98. Bedell, the founder of a fishing tackle company from Spirit Lake, Iowa, was honored by President Lyndon Johnson as the country’s first Small Businessman of the Year. In 1974 he was elected to represent Iowa’s 6th District in the US Congress, and served for twelve years until his retirement in 1987 because he contracted Lyme disease. In Congress he served on the Agriculture Committee and chaired the Small Business Committee. He also represented the United States on the UN Convention on Law of the Seas. 

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