Kellie Adesina has joined Bayer's crop science division as the new director of federal government affairs. She previously served as chief counsel for House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn. She also worked at USDA during the Obama Administration in the office of the general counsel. 

Ippolito International in Salinas, Calif., has hires Lara Grossman and Roberto Ornelas to its sales and marketing staff. Grossman has been hired to the role of marketing manager and previously worked for Robinson Fresh as a category manager. She also worked at Bayer Cropscience as a produce chain manager, and at Tanimura & Antle as the director of marketing and business development. Ornelas is the new sales and commodity manager and most recently worked for Tanimura & Antle as a product manager of specialty crops.

Radicle Growth, an acceleration fund, has added Claudia Roessler, director of agriculture at Microsoft, as the newest venture partner. Roessler has spent more than two decades at Microsoft and has worked to develop tech solutions within agriculture ecosystems.

Brian Cook has been selected to serve as the new chairman of the Fresh Produce & Floral Council (FPFC). Cook currently serves as the president of Pete’s, a hydroponic greenhouse grower located in Carpinteria, Calif. Cook assumed his new responsibilities as chairman on Jan. 25. The FPFC also elected Sean McClure of Bonduelle Fresh Americas, as chairman-elect; Michael Schutt of Raley’s Supermarkets as treasurer; and Kori Martin of The Oppenheimer Group as secretary. Outgoing chairman Andrew Bivens of Westlake Produce Co. will remain on the board. FPFC also welcomed incoming board members Bill Coombs of DLJ Produce, Kelly Craner of B&C Fresh, Natalie Machado of FreshSource, Marta Moreno of Rose-Gonzales Plants, Veronica Rodarte of Progressive Produce, Rachelle Schulken of Renaissance Food Group and Caitlin Tierney of 99 Cents Only Stores.

The Public Lands Council (PLC) named Kaitlynn Glover as its new executive director. Glover will serve as the chief lobbyist for the organization, representing cattle and sheep producers in western states on resource issues affecting their operations. Glover most recently worked for Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., as his legislative assistant for agriculture and public lands. Barrasso’s office has not yet filled Glover’s position of ag legislative assistant.

Kathryn Graves Unger is now the vice president of North America government relations for Cargill. She previously served as the managing director of Cargill Aqua Nutrition. 

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) has hired Charlotte Kirk Baer to serve as managing director for the organization’s Food and Environment Program. Baer comes to UCS after 14 years at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), where she managed grant programs.

The Consumer Brands Association announced Ellen Davis will join the organization’s senior leadership team as executive vice president of industry engagement, effective March 2. Davis most recently served as senior vice president at the National Retail Federation and president of the NRF Foundation. 

Jocelyn Broman has started in the office of Rep. Paul Cook, R-Calif., as a legislative assistant covering the agriculture, energy, environmental protection, and natural resources portfolio. Broman comes from Sen. Ben Sasse’s, R-Neb., office where she served as a legislative correspondent.

Zack Laven has been promoted to senior legislative assistant covering the agriculture, energy, environmental protection, natural resources, and transportation portfolio for Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz.

Lindsey Curnutte is now the communications director for Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo. She previously worked for Heritage Action for America.

Medha Surampudy is now a professional staff member for the House Energy and Commerce Committee's energy subcommittee. Surampudy previously worked for Smart Electric Power Alliance as a senior analyst.

The National Academy of Sciences awarded Zach Lippman, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, with the 2020 Prize in Food and Agriculture Science. Lippman got the $100,000 prize for his work to accelerate crop improvement. His work is aimed at the challenges of increasing crop productivity in the face of declining agricultural land and population growth. The NAS Prize, endowed by the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is awarded annually to a scientist who has made an extraordinary contribution to agriculture.

The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) announced the new officers elected to the executive council as well as new directors for the group’s five industry segment boards. Dan Zagzebski, president and CEO of Great Lakes Cheese Co., Inc., is the new chair; David Ahlem, president and CEO of Hilmar Cheese Company, has been elected to vice chair; Stan Ryan, president and CEO of Darigold, is the new secretary; and David Nelsen, vice president of manufacturing at Albertsons Companies, was elected treasurer. To see the directors elected to the industry segment boards, click here.

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has appointed 18 members and 18 alternate members to serve on The Cotton Board. To see those elected to the board, click here. The appointees will serve three-year terms, ending Dec. 31, 2022.

The American Agricultural Law Association (AALA) announced individuals elected to its 2019-2020 board of directors. They are as follows: Mike Traxinger, president; Pat Dillon, president-elect; Amber Miller, past president; Blair Dunn, director; Erin Herbold-Swalwell, director; Jake Parker, director; Ross Pifer, director; Joe Miller, director; and Kimberly Bousquet, director. Departing from the board are Jennifer Zwagerman, 2018-19 past president; Tylor Buswell, director; and Tiffany Dowell Lashmet, director.

John Melle has announced his retirement as the assistant U.S. trade representative for the Western hemisphere at USTR. Melle joined USTR in 1988 and was appointed to his current position in March 2011. His responsibilities include developing, coordinating and implementing the United States’ trade policy for the Western hemisphere. In 2017, Melle was appointed chief negotiator for the trade talks, resulting in the United States - Mexico - Canada Agreement (USMCA). He helped managed the negotiations lead by the U.S. Trade Representative. Before joining USTR, Melle served two years at the Department of Energy. His last day at USTR is January 31.

Dairy Advocate James Samuel “Sam” Stone, passed away on Jan. 22 at the age of 81. Stone began his dairy cooperative career in 1969 with Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI), in San Antonio. His work in government relations began at AMPI in 1974. He worked on numerous farm bills, the Margin Protection Program, environmental regulations and trade deals as an advocate for the dairy industry. He served as vice president of government relations for Dairy Farmers of America and as treasurer of the Dairy Educational Political Action Committee. He also served in the U.S. Army’s 49th Armored Division in 1961 and 1962.

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