Curt Hudnutt has been tapped as the new president and chief executive officer of American AgCredit. He succeeds Byron Enix who has been with the Farm Credit System for 37 years, the past seven of which he served as president and CEO. Hudnutt previously served as head of rural banking for North America at Rabo Agrifinance.

Curt Hudnutt

Curt Hudnutt

Roland Fumasi will lead Rabobank’s RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness team in North America. Fumasi joined Rabobank as an analyst in 2014, and in 2017 was appointed manager of the Fresno, Calif., RaboResearch team. He most recently served as a senior fresh produce and tree nut analyst. Before joining Rabobank, Fumasi worked with Utility Fleet Sales Ltd., as the vice president of marketing and finance.

FMC Corporation announced that Dr. Karen Totland, vice president, Procurement, Sustainability and Global Facilities, has been appointed to the newly created role of vice president and chief sustainability officer.  Thaisa Hugenneyer, director of Business Process Transformation, has been elected vice president, Procurement and Global Facilities.  Totland and Hugenneyer will report to Mark Douglas, president and CEO, effective January 1, 2021. 

Index Fresh has promoted John Dmytriw to vice president of business development. Dmytriw joined the avocado company in 2008, and most recently was senior business specialist.

Roland Fumasi

Roland Fumasi

Jesse Lopez has been hired as commodity account manager for Ocean Mist Farms. Lopez most recently was a senior account manager and director of business development with Tanimura & Antle for 15 years.

Tony Alameda has been elected to serve as the new chair of the Grower-Shipper Association. A second-generation farmer, Alameda is principal at Top Flavor Farms. Alameda is also a co-founder of Sabor Farms. Tom Nunes V of The Nunes Company will serve as vice chairman and Victor Ramirez of NorCal Harvesting will serve as secretary/treasurer. Alameda takes over the role of chair from Jason Smith of Smith Family Wines. 

The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council and the North American Blueberry Council has hired Jennifer Spark as vice president of marketing and communications and Adam Winland as financial controller. Sparks was at the Society of American Florists for 21 years, 17 as vice president of marketing. Winland has 14 years of financial management experience and will oversee the councils’ day-to-day accounting and provide strategic financial direction.

Earl’s Organic has promoted Carson Evers to buyer and Jonathan Kitchens to purchasing manager. Evers has been with Earl’s Organics since 2015 in quality assurance/inventory control. Kitchens previously was a fruit buyer.

Franz De Klotz has joined the sales staff at Peter Rabbit Farms. For the past 20 years, De Klotz has worked for Richard Bagdasarian, Inc. starting and overseeing the vegetable division, Pasha Marketing. He served as the vice president of marketing for both companies. De Klotz also is a director of Western Growers for the Coachella Valley.

Fall Creek Farm & Nursery Inc., has appointed Oscar Verges to a co-CEO position, sharing duties with Cort Brazelton. Verges joined the nursery company in 2016, and was named president and chief operating officer in 2018. Amelie Brazelton Aust has been named executive vice chairwoman of the company’s board of directors. Aust was formerly co-CEO with Brazelton, her most recent position was interim director of product development and communication.

The Produce Marketing Association has selected six new industry leaders to sit on its board of directors. The new members are as follows: Alan Aguirre Ibarra, CEO of Grupo Alta and Divine Flavor LLC; Amelie Aust, Co-CEO and second-generation owner at Fall Creek; Nikki Cossio, founder and CEO of Measure to Improve; Amy Gates, former president of Frontera Produce of Edinburg, Texas; Daniel Mathieson, chief executive of Zespri; and Jim Richter, president and CEO of Amerifresh in Scottsdale, Ariz. The PMA Board will be led by chair Dwight Ferguson, president and CEO of Naturipe Farms. 

Trevor Suslow has decided to step down from his full-time duties as vice president of produce safety at the Produce Marketing Association. He will remain engaged with PMA on a part-time basis and will also return to UC Davis as an emeritus extension research specialist. Suslow has been with the organization for the past two years. Suslow’s last day of full-time employment at PMA will be Dec. 1., and a search will begin to identify Suslow’s replacement in the coming weeks. 

Megan Nelson has left the American Farm Bureau Federation where she worked as an economic analyst focused on rural and global development, infrastructure, and tax issues. She has taken a new job with Ardent Eagle Solutions as a trade research analyst/evaluator.

Tyler Davis has left the Arizona Farm Bureau where he worked as the government relations manager.

USDA has appointed 13 members, 13 alternate members, and one adviser to serve on The Cotton Board. The newly appointed members are: Ben Guthrie, La.; and Thomas Hayes III, Miss. The newly appointed alternate members are: Matthew Cauzza, Calif.; Justin Cave, Texas; and Susanne St. Onge-Simpson, Calif. Reappointed members are: Pace Hindsley, Ark.; Dustin Mancebo, Calif.; David Dunlow, N.C.; Bryan Patterson, Texas; Debra Barrett, Texas; Sigi Valverde, Texas; Chuck Ward, N.C.; Scott Johnson, Calif.; Akiko Inui, N.Y.; Laurie Sutandar, Texas; and Debi Gregg, Calif. Reappointed alternate members are: Rafe Banks, Ark.; Rebecca Thom, La.; Patrick Johnson, Miss.; Kent Smith, N.C.; Michael Popp, Texas; Jon Jones, Texas; James McKinnon, N.Y.; Dean Draughn, Md.; Barbara Buhr, Conn.; and Stefanie Rotta, Mich. Jennifer Pisula, Del., has been appointed to serve in an importer alternate position and Willie Scott, Ga., was appointed to an adviser position term.

Steven L. Kopperud, former journalist and lobbyist who created a platform for livestock and poultry industries to resist “animal rights” and vegetarian critics, died unexpectedly Oct. 19. He was 69. He began his career as a journalist reporting for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and San Diego Union-Tribune and then joined Miller Publishing Company. He made his way out to D.C. to write for the Feedstuffs newspaper, and later became a bureau chief for the American Broadcasting Company. Kopperud then moved to the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) in the 1980s where he was the senior vice president and lead lobbyist. He also founded the Animal Industry Foundation, now known as the Animal Agriculture Alliance. In 2000, he joined Policy Directions, a government affairs consulting firm representing AFIA and a range of other food and agriculture interests. Sixteen years later, he launched his own firm, SLK Strategies, with clients including Fortune 500 companies and national trade associations. A prolific blogger and writer, Kopperud also spread his defense of animal agriculture and food technology internationally, speaking in Europe, Canada, China, Australia and Latin America. He described his career for Agri-Pulse in 2018 in a “Meet the Farm Hand” video interview.

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