Callie McAdams is now a senior economist in the Office of the Chief Economist at USDA. She comes to USDA from Capitol Hill, where she served the last five years as the deputy chief economist for the House Ag Committee. Before that she worked for Informa Economics as a senior consultant conducting market and policy research and analysis in the fields of agriculture, transportation, and renewable energy. 

USDA's Risk Management Agency has added four new members to the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) board of directors. Nicole Berg, Kenneth Selzer, Scott Silveus and Pat Swanson will serve four-year terms starting in November 2020. Berg holds and has held numerous leadership positions. She currently serves as vice president of the National Association of Wheat Growers and as a board member of the Community First Bank. Selzer is an insurance executive and former Kansas Insurance Commissioner who currently serves as an executive managing director at a worldwide reinsurance broker. For 30 years, Silveus has been a crop insurance agent with Silveus Insurance Group in Indiana. Swanson farms with her husband Don and his family in Iowa as a partner of Swanson Farm Partnership, a soybean, corn and cow-calf farming operation.

The Department of Agriculture appointed five new members to serve on the United Sorghum Checkoff Program Board. The new members are: Klint Stewart, Nebraska; Ethan Miller, Missouri; James Jay Haase, Colorado; and Shayne Suppes, Kansas.

The Department of Agriculture has announced the appointment of five new members to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). Joining the board is Amy Bruch, a sixth-generation farmer and president of Cyclone Farms, an organic family farm in Nebraska. Bruch brings 20 years of experience in agriculture, previously interning at USDA's Natural Resource Conservation Service, working as a systems engineer at General Mills, and consulting internationally. She holds a BS in Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering from Iowa State University. Logan Petrey, a fourth-generation farmer from South Georgia, works as the southeast organic ranch manager of 2,000 acres for Grimmway Farms locations in Georgia and Florida. Before joining Grimmway, she worked as an agronomist and organic farm manager with Generation Farms; and as a field technician for Robinson Fresh, where she worked with farms along the East Coast and in the Midwest. Dr. Carolyn Dimitri is an applied economist and is currently a member of the faculty at New York University. Dimitri has worked for more than a decade at the Economic Research Service, where she authored numerous reports on many aspects of the organic sector. Dimitri currently serves as an executive board member for the Organic Farming Research Foundation, as a scientific adviser to the Organic Center. Bringing more than 40 years of experience as an educator, researcher, and farmer, Brian Caldwell served as a founding member of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York. Caldwell has operated an organic farm in West Danby, N.Y., since 1978. He has worked for Cornell University, first as the vegetable and fruit specialist for Cornell Cooperative Extension, and then as a field manager and researcher for the Cornell Organic Cropping Systems project. Joining the board is also Kyla Smith, the certification director for Pennsylvania Certified Organic, a USDA-accredited certifying agent. Smith has worked for PCO for 17 years in various roles such as: organic inspector, materials specialist, and reviewer. She has also held leadership positions for six years as the chair and vice chair of the Accredited Certifiers Association board of directors.

The Soil Health Institute has established a Scientific Advisory Committee to help guide SHI’s scientific research on soil health and provide recommendations to SHI on its mission to enhance the vitality and productivity of soils. Cristine Morgan, SHI’s chief scientific officer, will serve as the committee chair. The members of the board are as follows: Francisco Arriaga, Andrea BascheJulie Howe, Stephen Machado, Kate Scow, and Wes Wood.

Soil Health Institutes scientific board

Soil Health Institute's Scientific Advisory Committee

Bunge has hired Elgeo Harris as the new government affairs manager. He will be in Bunge’s Washington, D.C. office, and will be a part of Bunge’s government and industry affairs function for North America. Before joining Bunge, Harris lobbied for the Association of American Railroads. Harris began his career in D.C. as a part of the federal affairs team for the City of New York.

Alissa Smith has been tapped to lead the National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE) as the new executive director. Smith was previously working in the associate executive director role. She succeeds Jay Jackman, who has served in the executive director role since 1996. A Kentucky native, Smith has been on staff with NAAE since 2006. Before that, she taught agriculture education for five and a half years at Jessamine County Schools in Nicholasville, Ky.

Matt Herman has been chosen to be the new director of environmental science for the National Biodiesel Board. Before joining the NBB, Herman was the director of policy of the industrial and environmental team at the Biotechnology Innovation Organization and was manager of sustainability for Renewable Energy Group.

Bob Kenyon has joined the Renewable Energy Group as the new vice president of sales and marketing. Kenyon succeeds Gary Haer, who has announced his decision to retire. Bringing more than 26 years of experience in fuels operations and downstream marketing, Kenyon most recently served as president of Atlas Oil Company. After 20 years working for REG, Haer will retire, effective in March, but will stay on with the company to ensure a smooth transition of responsibilities to Kenyon.

The Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) has hired Pennsylvania farmer Mike Eby as its new executive director. A seventh-generation farmer, Eby’s farm has stayed in the family for 206 years. He will continue his role as the chairman of the National Dairy Producers Organization.

Patrick Large has moved to the chief of staff role for Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Miss.

Abbie Killian now works as a legislative aide and correspondent for Rep. Collin Allred, D-Texas. She works on the portfolio for agriculture and food and animal welfare.

Elizabeth Arevalo is now a senior policy adviser to Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif. She previously was a legislative assistant. She handles the portfolio for commerce, energy, environmental protection, transportation and public works.

Christopher Cox has been promoted to senior policy adviser for Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y. He handles the portfolio for commerce, science and technology, and telecommunications.

Growers Edge has brought on Jenna Hoffman as the new Chief Data Officer, overseeing the company's data management processes. Beginning her career at DuPont Pioneer, she went on to work for Bayer, helping build the company's phenomics program, developing strategies, and leading programs to help understand the relationship between genetics, the environment, and management practices. Hoffman earned a Ph.D. in Genetics and Statistics from Iowa State University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Iowa. 

Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation has officially selected Fabio Sandri to serve as the president and CEO of the company. He joined Pilgrim’s as chief financial officer in June 2011, and has been serving in the president and CEO role since June. Sandri is the former CFO of Estacio Participações, a private postsecondary educational institution in Brazil. Sandri succeeds Jayson Penn, who is no longer with the company.

Orion Samuelson

Orion Samuelson

Northeast Dairy Foods Association, Inc. has elected new officers and appointed new directors to seats on the board at the association’s virtual annual meeting. Daniel Lausch, of Lactalis American Group Inc., was elected to president; Kevin Ellis, Cayuga Milk Ingredients, was chosen as the new vice president; Ryan Elliott, Byrne Dairy, was tapped as the new secretary; and Melissa Altif, Readington Farms, is the new treasurer. The following individuals were also selected to sit on the board of directors: Matt Hendricks, Northeast Group Vice President, Dairy Farmers of America (DFA); Nathan Pistner, Plant Manager, Great Lakes Cheese; Jennifer Turgeon, Milk Procurement and Logistics Manager, HP Hood; Brian Perry, Executive Vice President and Chairman, Perry’s Ice Cream; Brian Froebel, Milk Regulatory Manager, Saputo USA; Ray Gerwitz, Dairy Plant Manager, Steuben Foods; and Adam Seybolt, General Manager of Dairy Operations, Stewart’s Processing Corp.

Announcing his retirement on his 60th work anniversary with WGN 720-AM, Orion Samuelson, 86, will leave the Nexstar Media Group news/talk station on Dec. 31. The Hall of Fame broadcaster plans on spending his retirement traveling with his wife, Gloria. Born on a dairy farm near LaCrosse, Wis., Samuelson got his start on radio stations in Sparta, Appleton and Green Bay. At age 26, Samuelson got the call to join WGN, where he began as farm director in 1960. Samuelson was President of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters in 1965 and was inducted into its Hall of Fame in 1999. Other honors include: National Radio Hall of Fame, 2003; American Farm Bureau's Distinguished Service Award, 1998; 4-H Alumni Award; and Oscar Norsk Høstfest Scandinavian-American Hall of Fame.

After a courageous battle with cancer, Adriaan Cornelis Weststrate passed away. He was 66. Born the youngest of seven children in the Netherlands, Weststrate started a successful banking career in 1983 with ABN Bank in the Netherlands, relocating to Singapore, Brazil, and the United States. In 1993, Weststrate joined Rabobank as the regional manager for the Eastern Region, opening the Atlanta office in 1995. Since 1998, Weststrate led the development of Rabobank’s poultry business in the U.S. He became the global poultry sector head in 2010 and the global co-head for the Animal Protein Sector for the Americas in 2011. In 2015, he was appointed vice chairman of global corporate clients. He retired in June 2020 after a 27-year career with Rabobank. Weststrate was an avid runner, running in numerous marathons. According to his obituary, he had a passion for cars, art, espresso coffee, and the color orange.

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