Western Growers has hired Walt Duflock as vice president of Innovation. Duflock brings more than 25 years of experience in agriculture and technology. He most recently was at SVG Ventures Thrive as executive innovation leader.

Pamela Ronald, professor in the Department of Plant Pathology at the University of California, Davis, has been named the 2020 World Agriculture Prize laureate by the Global Confederation of Higher Education Associations for Agricultural and Life Sciences. Ronald becomes the first woman to receive the award. Ronald is recognized for her contributions of major discoveries in plant molecular genetics. She has isolated a key immune receptor that revealed a new mechanism with which plants and animals detect and respond to infection and she co-discovered a rice submergence tolerance gene that facilitated the development of high-yielding, flood-tolerant rice varieties. Ronald also directs the Institute for Food and Agricultural Literacy at UC Davis. The award ceremony will be virtually held on Nov. 30 from Nanjing Agricultural University, Jiangsu Province, China.

Pamela Ronald

Pamela Ronald

Sakata Seed America has appointed Bill McCarthy as its new associate director of research and development. McCarthy previously was a plant breeder for 22 years working for companies such as Seminis, Monsanto and Bayer. He has been with Sakata for 27 years.

Andy Hamilton will serve as Markon Cooperative's next CEO, effective immediately. Hamilton brings many years of experience in the foodservice, sales, partnership relations, and operations management areas. Hamilton most recently was a senior vice president at Get Fresh Companies.

Nancy Tucker, vice president of the Produce Marketing Association, has announced she is retiring, effective at the end of the year. Tucker joined PMA in 1980. Before joining PMA, she previously worked for ARA, now Aramark. Tucker traveled around the world promoting and establishing PMA’s presence.

Kenneth Sullivan has announced his retirement as president and chief executive officer of Smithfield Foods, effective early 2021. Dennis Organ, chief operating officer of Smithfield’s U.S. operations, will succeed Sullivan as president and chief executive officer upon his retirement. Sullivan has been at the helm since 2015. Organ joined Smithfield in 2010 and assumed his current position as chief operating officer in 2019.

Pierre Lilly has been tapped to take over as senior vice president and chief compliance officer for Hormel Foods. Most recently, Lilly was director of internal audit bringing more than 25 years’ experience. He joined Hormel Foods in 2016. 

William Kuckuck has taken a new job at GrainPro as the new chief revenue officer. Kuckuck previously worked for the Kent Cooperation as an independent director. Before that, he served as the president of the CropLife Foundation.

Bob Walters has been tapped to lead FieldWatch as the new CEO. Walters has served as FieldWatch’s director of business development since 2016 when he joined the company. He succeeds Stephanie Regagnon, who has taken a leadership role at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. 

Margo Wootan has left the Center for Science in the Public Interest after serving three decades there, most recently as vice president for nutrition. She has started her own consulting firm, called MXG Strategies. Her business will officially open up in early 2021.

Margo Wootan

Margo Wootan

Dr. Rattan Lal was awarded the 2020 World Food Prize in a virtual award ceremony Oct. 16. Lal was awarded the prize for promoting innovative soil-saving techniques benefiting the livelihoods of more than 500 million smallholder farmers. In his work he has mainstreamed a soil-centric approach to increase food production while also conserving natural resources and mitigating climate change. 

Danielle Beck has been promoted to senior executive director of government affairs at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Beck has been with NCBA for four years. 

Keegan Kautzky, director of global programs and partnerships, has been named senior program director of the World Food Prize Global Youth Programs and Partnerships. Kautzky joined the Foundation as a George Washington Carver Intern in 2001 and returned as the special assistant to the president and coordinator of the International Borlaug Dialogue in 2005. He rejoined the staff in 2008 as the director of national education programs.

Robert Clark is now a legislative assistant for Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Calif. He covers the portfolio for animal welfare and small business. He previously served as a legislative aide to Matsui.

Keegan Kautzky

Keegan Kautzky

Samuel Satterfield has taken a new role as communications and operations aide for Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore. He was previously working as digital and operations aide.

Last week, we reported Floyd Vergara was set to assume the role of director of state regulatory affairs for the National Biodiesel Board. His new title will instead be director of state governmental affairs.

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