Fall Creek Farm & Nursery Inc., based in Lowell, Ore., has added Kevin Murphy to its professional board of directors. Most recently, Murphy served as CEO of Driscoll’s. Before that, Murphy held leadership positions at Capurro Farms, Fresh Express Farms and TransFRESH Corporation. Fall Creek Farm & Nursery is a global blueberry breeding and nursery company.

Theresa Kiehn has been promoted to acting president and CEO of AgSafe, an organization that provides agriculture businesses with education on worker safety, food safety, pesticide safety and human resources. Kiehn succeeds Amy Wolfe, who has been at AgSafe for more than 10 years. Kiehn joined AgSafe in 2009, and most recently was vice president and chief operating officer. Before that, Kiehn worked at the non-profit Great Valley Center, on issues including sustainability, conservation easements and protection projects in the Central Valley.

Effective April 1, Bret McNabb has been appointed to director of the Large Animal Clinic at the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH), for a five-year term. McNabb is an assistant professor of clinical livestock reproduction in the School of Veterinary Medicine’s Department of Population Health and Reproduction. He has also been service chief of VMTH’s Livestock Herd Health and Reproduction Service since 2013.

Ben Famous

Ben Famous

House Ag Committee Chairman Collin Peterson has hired Chu-Yuan Hwang as a senior counsel to the Committee. Hwang previously worked as an attorney for the Office of the General Counsel at USDA, touching on issues related to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and other domestic nutrition assistance programs. Before joining USDA, Hwang worked as an associate for a law firm in Washington, D.C., practicing labor and employment law.

Ben Famous has joined the Glover Park Group as the new vice president of strategic communications. Famous most recently worked as the head of strategic communications for food and restaurant group CAVA and previously worked as the communications director for the Senate Ag Committee.

Petya Sechanova has been tapped to lead Covantis as the company’s new CEO. Sechanova most recently served as the trade operations leader for Cargill, a company she has been with for the past 11 years.

Greg Adams will cover the foreign affairs portfolio for Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., as her new legislative director. Adams previously worked for integrated development group Locus as managing director.

Mitchel Hochberg now works for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., as a legislative assistant covering the small business and international affairs portfolio. Hochberg previously worked for Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif.

Heidi Todacheene now works as a legislative counsel to Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M. She covers agriculture and food, animal welfare, and small business issues.

Annie Orloff has been elevated to deputy communications director for Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M. She previously was working in the role of press secretary.

Darwin Stolte

Darwin Stolte

Past president and CEO of the U.S. Grains Council, Darwin Stolte, passed away at the age of 86. Stolte served as USGC president and CEO from 1970 to 1989. Stolte was a graduate of the University of South Dakota and after graduation served in the United States Army. He started with the Grains Council in 1966 as the livestock development specialist for Europe, based in Rome. During his career, Stolte participated in discussions on agricultural trade with the Soviet Union, and was a key figure in the opening of agricultural relations with China in 1979. 

The Water Education Foundation’s second president and influential leader of California water projects, William Gianelli, passed away on March 30. He was 101. Gianelli was president of the Foundation from 1985-1989. Gianelli graduated with a civil engineering degree from the University of California, Berkeley and shortly after served in WWII. After the war, he worked in California’s State Engineer’s office and later in California’s Department of Water Resources. He left state service for the private sector in 1960, launching what is today’s MBK Engineers. He returned to the Department of Water Resources in 1967 when Gov. Ronald Reagan tapped him to become director. In 1981, President Ronald Reagan tapped him to become assistant secretary of the Army for Civil Works, a post he held until 1984.

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