Luke Chandler has been named John Deere’s managing director for Australia and New Zealand, and will relocate to Australia. Chandler previously served as the chief economist for Deere & Co. based in Moline, Ill. He has been with the company for five years and before that was with Rabobank.

The National Biodiesel Board has tapped Floyd Vergara to be the new director of state regulatory affairs. He succeeds Shelby Neal, who held the position for the past 12 years. Neal will be departing NBB Oct. 16 and will head to Darling Ingredients to serve as the company’s vice president for renewables and energy policy. Vergara will assume Neal’s leadership position following his departure. Vergara most recently served as the chief of the industrial strategies division and assistant chief of the research division for the California Air Resources Board. He was with CARB for 32 years before joining NBB. In November 2019, Vergara opened NBB's West Coast office.

Michael Torrey Associates has promoted Barbara Patterson to the position of vice president. Patterson has been with MTA for two years; she previously was in the position of director of government affairs. Before joining MTA, Patterson previously worked for the National Farmers Union as the government relations director. 

Floyd Vergara

Floyd Vergara

The National Corn Growers Association announced the slate of new and returning farmer leaders who will serve their industry as members of the action teams and committees beginning on Jan. 1. Ethanol Action Team: Mark Recker, chair; JR Roesner, vice chair; Gary Porter, board liaison; Market Development Action Team: Robert Hemesath, chair; Troy Schneider, vice chair; Tom Haag, board liaison; Member and Consumer Engagement Action Team: Lowell Neitzel, chair; Dan Nerud, vice chair; Kenneth Hartman, board liaison; Production Technology Access Action Team: Kate Danner, chair; Patty Mann, vice chair; Dennis Maple, board liaison; Risk Management Action Team: Doug Noem, chair; Bill Leigh, vice chair; Deb Gangwish, board liaison; Stewardship Action Team: Andy Jobman, chair; Bryan Biegler, vice chair; Dennis McNinch, board liaison; Sustainable Ag Research Action Team: Randy DeSutter, chair; Ronnie Mohr, vice chair; Brandon Hunnicutt, board liaison.

Paul Rea of BASF Agricultural Solutions has been chosen to lead CropLife America’s board of directors as the new chair. Rea serves as the senior vice president of BASF Agricultural Solutions North America. He will succeed Susanne Wasson of Corteva Agriscience.

Raven Industries has made changes to its executive leadership team, which will be effective Feb. 20. Steven Brazones, current chief financial officer, will become vice president for applied technology. Brian Meyer, current vice president of applied technology, will become vice president for engineered films. The company is in the search process for a new CFO.

Bucky Kennedy is transitioning into the role of executive vice president for Southern Crop Production Association (SCPA). He has been with the organization for 15 years, most recently serving as the state affairs director. Before joining SCPA, Kennedy worked at the Georgia Farm Bureau in the legislative department. Kennedy will succeed Jeff Cassady, who is retiring at the end of January.

Katie Farmer will become BNSF Railway’s new president and CEO, effective in January. Farmer has been with the company for 28 years and previously served as the executive vice president of operations. Current CEO Carl Ice will be retiring at the end of the year and will remain on the board of directors.

Bucky Kennedy2

Bucky Kennedy

Michigan Potash & Salt Company has added Jeff Kummer as the new chief operating officer and Cory Christofferson as the new chief development officer. Both Kummer and Christofferson join MPSC after pivoting from careers in the oil and gas industry. Most recently Kummer founded a startup SaaS technology company which was divested this past summer. Christofferson was previously the managing director of Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors.

Ag Processing Inc. has selected Kyle Droescher, current AGP vice president of finance, to be the new group vice president and chief financial officer, starting in January. He will succeed Scott Simmelink, who is retiring from the company at the end of the year. Simmelink has been in the role since 2013, and Droescher joined the company in 2012 as director of finance. Lou Rickers has been promoted to vice president of operations, and will succeed senior vice president of operations Ernie Kiley, who will also be retiring at the end of the year. Kiley has been with AGP since 1980; Rickers started in 1994 as a lab technician.

Ulrich Stockheim, chief communication officer for AGCO, has announced he is leaving the company, effective Dec. 31, to pursue other business interests. Stockheim joined AGCO in March 2015 in the role he is in today. Before joining AGCO, Stockheim served as an external professional adviser to AGCO and its chairman, president and CEO Martin Richenhagen, as a managing partner of the communications consultancy PR firm Stockheim Media.

Former North Dakota Sen. Mark Andrews died on Oct. 3. He was 94. Andrews served in the Army from 1944-1946. He was a cadet at United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., until receiving a disability discharge in 1946. A farmer, Andrews was elected to Congress in 1963 where he served until 1981. He was then elected to the Senate, where he served one term.

Frank W. Naylor Jr. passed away on Oct. 6. He was 81. Naylor started his career by joining the U.S. Navy in Vietnam and went on to hold many public office leadership positions in the agriculture community including: chairman of the Farm Credit Administration, undersecretary of agriculture, acting secretary of agriculture, administrator of the Farmers Home Administration, and deputy administrator of the Federal Crop Insurance Corp. In the private industry, Naylor helped with agriculture development on a global scale with The Peoples Group. According to his obituary, Naylor had a passion for traveling, valued community service, and was an avid gardener.

David Myers, one of the founding members of the American Agriculture Law Association, has died. He was 67. Myers resided most of his life in Valparaiso, Ind., having been a professor of law at Valparaiso University for 35 years. He served as president of AALA in 1985—1986, and he was given the association’s Distinguished Service Award in 1995.

Max Molleston, 85, passed away Oct. 8, at his home after a sudden illness. Molleston was a longtime farm news director for radio and television in the Quad Cities. He attended Iowa State University and earned a degree in political science from the University of Iowa, with a short stint in between stationed at the U.S. Army Base in Vicenza, Italy. He finished his career at WOC radio at the age of 68. He was an active member of the then-National Association of Farm Broadcasters.

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