U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer have appointed 25 new members to serve on seven agricultural trade advisory committees (ATAC). Serving on the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee is Constance Cullman, American Feed Industry Association; David Puglia, Western Growers; and David Salmonsen, American Farm Bureau Federation. Appointed to the ATAC for Trade in Animals and Animal Products: Robert DeHaan, National Fisheries Institute; Mallory Gaines, American Feed Industry Association; David Herring, Hog Slat Inc./TDM Farms; James Parnell, Alabama Farmers Federation; and Maria Zieba, National Pork Producers Council. Appointed to the ATAC for Trade in Fruits and VegetablesWilliam Callis, U.S. Apple Export Council; Casey Creamer, California Citrus Mutual; Jodi Devaurs, California Table Grape Commission; Jonathan Maberry, Washington Red Raspberry Commission; and Caroline Stringer, California Fresh Fruit Association. Selected for the ATAC for Trade in Grains, Feed, Oilseeds and Planting Seeds: Peter Bachmann, USA Rice Federation; William Gordon, American Soybean Association; Derek Haigwood, D.I.D. Farms; Patrick Hayden, North American Export Grain Association; Dalton Henry, U.S. Wheat Associates; Edward Hubbard, Renewable Fuels Association; and Tina Lyons, Double River Forwarding, LLC. Appointed to the ATAC for Trade in Processed Foods; Kevin Latner, National Industrial Hemp Council; Richard (Denton) McLane, McLane Global Trading; Max Moncaster, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture; and Bernadette Wiltz, Southern United States Trade Association. No new members were selected for the ATAC for Trade in Sweeteners and Sweetener ProductsKarl Zimmer, Premium Peanut, was chosen to serve on the ATAC for Trade in Tobacco, Cotton and Peanuts.

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has announced the appointment and reappointment of 24 industry representatives to the Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee (FVIAC). The new appointments are as follows: Julie Masser Ballay, Sterman Masser Inc.; Troy Bland, Bland Farms, LLC; David Einstandig, Mastronardi Produce-USA; Lisa Ford, Publix Supermarkets; George Hamner, Indian River Exchange Packers.; Cindy Jewell, California Giant; Paul Lightfoot, BrightFarms Inc.; Kay Riley, Snake River Produce Co.; David Sherrod, Southeast Produce Council; Karla Stockli, California Fig Advisory Board; Paul Teague, Teague Produce and Consulting Services; and David Zapf, Naturipe Value-Added Foods LLC. For a complete listing of the appointments click here.

Veronica Wong has joined the Department of Agriculture’s Office of Research, Education, and Economics as the new chief of staff. Wong previously was director of the Office of Congressional Relations.

Peter Laudeman has taken a new job with Corteva Agriscience as the company’s political affairs manager. Most recently, Laudeman was the manager of public policy for risk management and renewable fuels for the National Corn Growers Association.

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture has brought on Rebecca Barnett as its new manager of public policy. Before joining NASDA, Barnett served in the office of U.S. Representative John Carter and in the California State Assembly. She has also recently completed her Master of Agribusiness from Texas A&M University. Barnett’s first day on the job was Monday. 

Rebecca Barnett

Rebecca Barnett

George Pastrana has been tapped as the new president, CEO, and board member of Living Greens Farm, one of the largest vertical, indoor aeroponic farms in the United States. Prior to joining LGF, Pastrana was President and COO of Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton, Del. He will be based out of Minneapolis. 

Gary Moore has been sworn in as president of the National Association of Counties (NACo). Moore has been active in NACo since 2012 and previously served as chair of NACo’s Transportation Policy Steering Committee and its Environment, Energy and Land Use Policy Steering Committee. Moore is the judge/executive of Boone County, Kentucky, a position he has served in since 1998. 

Tom Hayes, former Tyson Foods and ConAgra exec, has joined Ocean Spray as the new president and CEO. Hayes previously was CEO of Tyson Foods and chief supply chain officer at Hillshire Brands and Sara Lee.

Land O’Lakes has hired Heather Malenshek as the organization’s chief marketing officer, effective Sept. 8. Before Land O’Lakes, Malenshek most recently ran her own consultancy and also worked at Harley-Davidson Motor Company, where she served as chief marketing officer. She was recognized in 2018 and 2019 by Forbes as one of the world’s most influential CMOs. 

Vytelle and GrowSafe Systems have combined their companies with the aim of accelerating genetic advances in bovine biotechnology. Kerryann Kocher has been named Vytelle’s new CEO. She brings decades of experience in animal health, feed ingredients, and protein production to the company.

The National Corn Growers Association has elected five members to serve on its Corn Board, effective Oct. 1. Newly joining the board is Jed Bower of Ohio and Brian Thalmann of Minnesota. Reelected to the board are Ken Hartman of Illinois, Brandon Hunnicutt of Nebraska, and Gary Porter of Missouri.

Karen Moldenhauer has been named interim director of the rice station at Stuttgart for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. Since 1982, Moldenhauer has been a professor and rice breeder for the Division of Agriculture. She had planned to retire on June 30, but this position became vacant and Bob Scott, director of Rice Research and Extension, approached her on filling the role.

After 10 years as president of the Missouri Farm Bureau, Blake Hurst has announced he is stepping down at the end of this term. Before becoming president, Hurst served the organization in several capacities, including vice president. Missouri Farm Bureau will select its next president at its annual meeting in early December.

Virgilio Barrera has taken a new job as the director of government and public affairs for LafargeHolcim. He previously was the legislative director for Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M.

Omaha Steaks Chairman Alan Simon passed away from natural causes at the age of 85. After graduating college, Simon joined the family business, which was founded in 1917 as a butcher shop in Omaha, later becoming one of the United States largest marketers of beef. Simon and his two brothers were the fourth generation to lead Omaha Steaks. He is credited with creating special packaging to allow large shipments of steaks, transforming the meat shipping industry.

Paul B. Darby, a longtime agricultural communicator and consultant, died July 19 at Ascension Via Christi St. Francis Hospital, Wichita, Kan. He was 72 and had suffered from heart illness. A Kansas native, he began his career in radio and television news reporting at Wichita, Topeka, Manhattan and Concordia, Kan., before becoming associate editor of the FAR-MAR-CO cooperative, which merged into the former Farmland Industries. He moved to Washington as consultant with the former E.A. Jaenke Associates consulting firm and joined USDA as a special assistant and speechwriter for the late Secretary of Agriculture Bob Bergland during the Carter Administration from 1977-81. Following government service, Darby was assistant to the executive director and president of the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee, special assistant to the director of Farmers Union Green Thumb and assistant vice president of the Farm Credit Council. He returned to Kansas as president of Darby Enterprises in Wichita, helping Native American tribes develop meat processing and packing plants for their reservations.

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