The Senate confirmed Mindy Brashears Monday night as USDA’s undersecretary for food safety after first being nominated two years ago. Brashears had been serving as deputy undersecretary while waiting for confirmation.

Mark Jekanowski has been appointed as the World Agricultural Outlook Board Chairman. Jekanowski is currently acting board chairman and will assume his new duties March 29. Jekanowski joined the board in 2019 as deputy chairman. Before that he worked in USDA’s Economic Research Service, first serving as chief of the crops branch, and later as deputy director for the ERS commodity outlook program.

Mindy Brashears

Mindy Brashears

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has appointed David Wu to serve as deputy assistant secretary for administration. Wu is assuming the role following the departure of deputy assistant secretary Don Bice, who has served in the role since February 2018. Wu officially joined USDA in October as the principal deputy assistant secretary for administration.

Randy Russell, president of The Russell Group, Inc. and Carmen Rottenberg, former Administrator of the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, have started Groundswell Strategy, a consulting firm focused on customizing strategic approaches for clients that interact with regulatory agencies. Rottenberg will serve as managing director of Groundswell Strategy, and Russell will serve as chairman of the board. Rottenberg recently departed USDA’s FSIS after thirteen years of service. She held several leadership roles at USDA, including acting Deputy Under Secretary for the Office of Food Safety from August 2017 through January 2019, and Administrator from May 2018 to March 2020.

President Donald Trump has nominated Michael Nemelka to serve as the deputy United States Trade Representative covering investment, services, labor, environment, Africa, China, and the Western Hemisphere, with the rank of rank of Ambassador. Nemelka currently serves as special adviser to Ambassador Robert Lighthizer. Before joining USTR, Nemelka was a partner at Kellogg, Hansen, Todd, Figel & Frederick, P.L.L.C.

Mike Stranz is now vice president of advocacy at National Farmers Union. He was previously the organization's policy director and has also worked at the House Ag Committee. 

Rosemary Yang has been promoted to press secretary for Rep. Paul Cook, R-Calif. She previously was a press aide and legislative correspondent.

Ronce Almond now serves as Sen. Maria Cantwell’s, D-Wash., counsel on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. He previously worked for Wicks Group as a partner and vice president.

CNH Industrial's board has accepted the immediate resignation of CEO Hubertus MühlhäuserSuzanne Heywood, CNH chair, will serve as the acting CEO. Heywood is also managing director of Exor, and has been chair of CNH Industrial since July 2018. CNH markets agricultural and construction equipment including the Case IH and New Holland brands.

Carole Brookins

Carole Brookins

Carole Brookins, founder of World Perspectives and current managing director of Public Capital Advisors, passed away this week from the COVID-19 virus. She returned from Paris two weeks ago and fell ill. She was 75 years old. Brookins was a member of the Rabobank International’s North American Agribusiness Advisory Board and the Center for Financial Stability’s Advisory Board. She started her career as a municipal bond underwriter before moving to commodities at the Chicago Board of Trade and was a vice president of E.F. Hutton. In 1980, she founded and led the Washington D.C. consulting firm World Perspectives, Inc. for 20 years. She was appointed membership on the State Department’s Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy and chaired the State Department’s private sector Advisory Committee on Food, Hunger and Agriculture in Developing Countries, mandated by President Ronald Reagan

In the past week, the following individuals have tested positive for COVID-19:

David Beasley, United Nations' World Food Programme Executive Director

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.

Rep. Ben McAdams, D-Utah

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla.

John Bessler, husband to Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.

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