Cindy Nickerson has been appointed USDA's deputy chief economist, effective June 7. Nickerson has served 20 years at the department, and before her latest appointment, served as the director of the market and trade economics division at the Economic Research Service. 

USDA has selected Jason Suckow to serve as the new director of the National Wildlife Research Center, headquartered in Fort Collins, Colo. NWRC is the research unit of APHIS’ Wildlife Services (WS) program. Most recently, Suckow served as director of WS’ Western Region overseeing WS work in 19 states and Guam. He has been a member of the WS Management Team since 2014 and has been serving as acting director of the NWRC since January.

The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology has announced Alexa Lamm is the recipient of the 2020 Borlaug CAST Communication Award. Lamm is an associate professor of science communication at the University of Georgia. Lamm’s work examines the impacts of communication and educational practices as they relate to technology that advances agricultural production while maintaining a sustainable environment. Much of her work explores how people make decisions about water conservation, water protection, and water policy.

Alexa Lamm

Alexa Lamm

Sam Eathington has been tapped by Corteva Inc. to be the next senior vice president and chief technology officer and will lead Corteva Agriscience’s research and development organization. He comes to Corteva from The Climate Corporation, a division of Bayer Crop Science, where he was chief science officer. Eathington replaces Neal Gutterson

The American Soybean Association hired Virginia Houston as a new director of government affairs. The Tennessee native most recently worked for the American Seed Trade Association as a director of government relations handling federal legislative issues and she’s also worked for the National Pork Producers Council and the Animal Agriculture Alliance. She’ll handle trade issues when she joins ASA at the beginning of June.

Charlotte Hebebrand has started a new position with Nutrien as the executive vice president for stakeholder relations and chief sustainability officer. She previously was the director-general at the International Fertilizer Industry Association.

Elvis Cordova is now the vice president of public policy and advocacy at the National Recreation and Park Association. Cordova previously opened his own consulting firm called Statecraft Strategies. Before that, he worked at USDA in various leadership roles, including chief of staff, deputy undersecretary and acting undersecretary.

Kevin Roepke has been named regional director of the Asia Sub-Continent for U.S. Soybean Export Council. Roepke currently serves as regional director of the Americas region and will relocate to the ASC region when USSEC ‘s travel safety policy allows. Before joining USSEC, Roepke served as regional director of South and Southeast Asia for the U.S. Grains Council.

Sarah Gronberg Kolell is now the senior vice president of marketing, communications, and sustainability at Rabo AgriFinance. She was previously vice president of marketing and communications.

The Ecosystem Services Market Consortium has announced four new members have joined its team. Paul Meints will serve as the research director of ESMRC, the research arm of ESMC. Cassie Kniebel Aherin and Benjamin Bartley have been hired as project managers who will oversee coordination of pilot projects and protocol and certification work. And Deke Alkire has joined the team to develop the ESMC Certified Technical Assistance Provider Program and the ESMC Certified Verifier Program.

Danone has named Shane Grant as the new executive vice president and chief executive officer of Danone North America. He will report to Emmanuel Faber, chairman and CEO of Danone. Grant previously worked for the Coca-Cola Co., where he held various leadership roles in marketing, commercial and general management. Most recently, he led Coca-Cola’s noncarbonated beverage business in North America.

Sally Grimes now serves as the CEO of Clif Bar & Co., effective June 1. Grimes will succeed owners and co-CEOs Gary Erickson and Kit Crawford. Erickson founded Clif Bar. Grimes previously was group president of prepared foods at Tyson Foods.

Ryan Krabill is now the director of business development at Medius Ag. He previously worked for Potatoes USA as the director of research and analysis.

John Stewart has left the Beltway and moved to Indianapolis to start a new job with Elanco as an adviser for state government and public affairs. Stewart previously worked at the American Feed Industry Association as the director of membership and stakeholder engagement.

NASDA has brought back Autumn Lankford to be the new executive administrator to CEO Barb Glenn. Lankford was NASDA’s 2019 summer public policy intern. She is a native of Georgia and recently graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in agricultural communication.

Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation (Farmer Mac) has added Amy Gales and W. David Hemingway to serve on the company’s board of directors. They replace Thomas Hill and Clark Maxwell on Farmer Mac’s board, both of whom chose not to stand for re-election. Gales most recently served as an Executive Vice President and member of the management executive committee of CoBank, ACB. All of Hemingway's 42-year career was spent working at Zions Bancorporation.

Sally Grimes

Sally Grimes

The Animal Agriculture Alliance recently hired Emily Solis as the new communications specialist. Solis began her role on May 11 and will focus on executing the alliance’s issues management and communications strategy. Solis previously worked as the communications manager at Maryland Farm Bureau, communicating legislative and regulatory updates to Maryland farm families. Solis is a previous intern for the alliance.

Tyler Hardy now serves as a deputy legislative director for Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D. He covers appropriations, foreign trade, small business, and transportation and public works. He previously was a legislative assistant for Hoeven. 

Rich Sheedy has been promoted to legislative director for Rep. George Holding, R-N.C. Sheedy covers the portfolio for animal welfare, immigration, science and technology, and telecommunications.

Liam Forsythe now serves as the chief of staff to Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán, D-Calif. He previously served as a chief counsel to Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.

Nate Riggins is a legislative assistant for Rep. Andy Kim, D-N.J. He covers the portfolio for animal welfare, energy, environmental protection, public lands and natural resources, science and technology and telecommunications.

Kara Verma has taken a new role as a legislative assistant for Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas. She covers the portfolio for immigration and foreign trade. She previously was a legislative fellow. 

Jeffrey Rapp has been promoted to senior policy adviser for Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla. He covers small business and telecommunications issues. He previously was Murphy’s senior legislative assistant. 

The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) has announced the appointment of Emorn Udomkesmalee as the next chair of the institute’s board. Udomkesmalee is a senior adviser and former director of the Institute of Nutrition, Mahidol University, Thailand. She is also an adjunct associate professor in the Department of International Health at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. 

Purdue University’s office of international programs in agriculture has created a new award named in honor of late Purdue professor Lowell Hardin. The award was created to honor Hardin’s legacy and his contributions to international agriculture. This year’s award recipients are as follows: Gebisa Ejeta, professor of agronomy and 2009 World Food Prize laureate; Thomas Hertel, professor of agricultural economics with a focus on issues related to international trade and environmental sustainability; Jules Janick, professor of horticulture and landscape architecture; Suzanne Nielsen, professor of food science who has been an advocate for international research, outreach and education; and John Sanders, professor of agricultural economics with a focus on the impacts of international agricultural activities and systems.

Sam Kain, assistant vice president and national sales manager for the Farmers National Company, has announced he will be retiring effective July 31. Kain’s successor will be David Whitaker of Ames, Iowa, who will join the company on June 1. He previously owned Whitaker Marketing Group where he was broker and auctioneer. Kain has been with the company since 1990, where he first took a position in the Des Moines office. In 2013, Kain was promoted to assistant vice president and national sales manager where, in addition to fulfilling his area sales manager responsibilities, he recruited real estate sales associates across the United States to join Farmers National Company. Kain also served on the Farmers National Company board of directors. 

Bill Page, of Insight FS, has been awarded the 2020 Wisconsin Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) of the Year Award. Page has been with Insight FS since 1977. The award recognizes a certified crop adviser who delivers exceptional customer service, is highly innovative, and has shown they are a leader in their field.

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