Tim Hammerich has joined Cogent Consulting and Communications as senior director of strategic communications. Hammerich is the founder of AgGrad, a career development resource for agricultural professionals. According to Hammerich, he is no longer offering recruitment services and has shifted his attention to content creation and consulting full time.

Scott Horsfall has announced he will retire as CEO of the California Leafy Green Products Handler Marketing Agreement (LGMA), after 13 years at the helm. Before LGMA, Horsfall was the CEO of the Buy California Marketing Agreement, the organization that created and aired the “California Grown” advertising and promotion campaign. Before that, he was president of the California Kiwifruit Commission and he also served as vice president of international marketing for the California Table Grape Commission.

The Fresh Market Inc. has appointed Kevin Miller as its new chief marketing officer. Miller brings 30 years of experience in marketing and advertising. Most recently, he served as the chief marketing officer for Natural Grocers.

Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed Jennifer Norris as deputy secretary for biodiversity and habitat at the California Natural Resources Agency. Norris has served as fish and wildlife administrator for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service since 2013……Ted Craddock, of El Dorado Hills, has been appointed deputy director of the State Water Project at the California Department of Water Resources. Craddock has served as the acting deputy director since 2019. He first came to the Department in 1994 and has served in multiple positions including, assistant deputy director of the State Water Project, project manager of Oroville Spillways Emergency Recovery, chief of utility operations for the Hydropower License Office, program manager of the East Branch Extension, advisor to the State Water Project deputy director, and civil engineer.

Raley’s has brought on Jen Warner as the new chief administrative officer, overseeing the company’s food safety, sustainability and other programs. Most recently, Warner was vice president of legal at Columbia Sportswear Co., and also was chief development officer at Asheworks Inc. She also worked as the global chief compliance officer and general counsel of the Americas at XPO Logistics.

Terra Exports has hired Laura Peternostro as its new chief financial officer. Peternostro will work as a liaison between leadership and sales on financial strategies, focused on maximizing sales growth while limiting risk. She most recently was director of treasury operations for On Your Mark Inc.

David Hollinrake

Syngenta is changing leadership roles to further support the firm’s growth in North America and around the globe. David Hollinrake, currently Syngenta's regional director of North America Seeds, will be appointed to a new position as head of global seeds strategy and portfolio. In his new role, Hollinrake will lead long-term strategy development and planning for the global seeds business to continue to deliver increased choice and innovative products for growers, with a primary focus on the important U.S. seeds market. Justin Wolfe, currently regional director for Europe, Africa and Middle East (EAME) Seeds, will be appointed regional director North America seeds. Justin joined Syngenta in 2018 and has over 26 years of agricultural industry experience. Prior to joining Syngenta in 2018, Justin was with Monsanto for over 20 years, most recently as vice president Europe and Middle East commercial operations. The Syngenta EAME Seeds region will now be led by Gaël Hili, currently Syngenta crop protection head for Eastern Europe. All appointments will be effective June 15. To read more about Syngenta’s leadership changes, click here

The Biotechnology Innovation Organization has tapped Michelle McMurry-Heath as the next president and CEO of the organization, effective June 1. She succeeds former Rep. Jim Greenwood, who has led the organization since 2005. McMurry-Heath had previously worked for Johnson & Johnson since 2014. Most recently, she served as vice president of external innovation and global leader for regulatory science.

World Trade Organization director-general Roberto Azevêdo is stepping down from the helm, effective Aug. 31. He is leaving the position one year early, but has served seven years as the director-general. 

The American Egg Board has tapped Emily Metz, former chief of staff at the National Milk Producers Federation, as the new president and CEO, taking over at the helm beginning in June. She most recently worked for the U.K.-based Genus Plc, as the head of global research and development communications and new product marketing. To read more on Metz’s career, click here.

The National Restaurant Association has hired Tom Bené as its next president and chief executive. He succeeds Dawn Sweeney who announced last year she would step down from the position after leading the association for over 10 years. Bené previously was the president and chief executive of Sysco.

The American Feed Industry Association’s board of directors has elected Scott Druker, of Church & Dwight Company, as the 2020-21 chair. He succeeds Tim Belstra of Belstra Milling Co., who served as the chair during the 2019-20 AFIA fiscal year. Mike Schuster of Laidig Systems was elected to become chair-elect of the organization. Schuster will succeed Druker in May 2021. The board also approved seven nominated individuals as additions to AFIA’s Executive Committee: Mike Gauss of Kent Nutrition Group; Carlos Gonzalez, Ph.D., of Hill’s Pet Nutrition; Mike Van Koevering, Ph.D., of Elanco Animal Health; Mark Lueking of Cargill Animal Nutrition; Eric McMillan of Cactus Feeders; Lon Stephens of Co-operative Feed Dealers; Dean Warras of Phibro Animal Health Corporation; and Mindy Whittle of Bayer U.S.-Crop Science. 

Phil Karsting has joined Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Matz PC (OFW Law) as a senior policy adviser for the agriculture policy team. He most recently served as the vice president for public policy at the World Food Program, USA. He has also served as the administrator of the Foreign Agricultural Service at USDA. He worked on Capitol Hill and served as the chief of staff to Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., former chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee.

Jessica Robinson has joined HLK's strategic communications team to help work on the portfolios for Channel, Bayer's Regional Brands and the Environmental Science unit of Bayer. Robinson has built strategy and managed tactical teams in industry, government and associations, both as in-house leadership and an expert consultant. HLK is a creative and technology agency focused on understanding and changing behavior through deeply integrated brand experiences born out of customer insight.

Matt Swenson has been hired as the new director of CEO communications for Cargill. He previously was the senior specialist for Cargill’s executive communications team. In his career, he has also managed communications for Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton.

Matt Swenson

Matt Swenson

Britt Aasmundstad has joined the Land O’Lakes team as the new manager of government and industry relations. Aasmundstad previously worked for the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture as an associate director of public policy.

Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., has brought on Kelly Marie Fay Rodríguez to the Trade Subcommittee staff to help work on the implementation of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Fay Rodríguez previously served as the Bangladesh deputy country program director for the Solidarity Center, after working as a program officer supporting the Solidarity Center’s efforts to monitor labor conditions, trade union organizing, and labor-related issues in Mexico and the countries of the South Andes.

UPL has promoted Brian Ahrens to head of U.S. ag sales. He previously was the lead for the professional products team. Ahrens succeeds Brian Cardin, who requested to step aside from his position after nearly 10 years of leading the U.S. sales team. Cardin now leads the key account manager team.

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