Two lobbyists on the Biden-Harris transition team looking at USDA and the Farm Credit Administration have been granted waivers from the team’s ethics rules that require current lobbyists or those who registered to lobby within the past year to obtain the waiver from the transition’s general counsel. Among those granted waivers, according to The Wall Street Journal, are Andrea Delgado, a currently registered lobbyist for the United Farm Workers Foundation, and Celeste LaQuita Honeysucker, who was registered as a lobbyist for the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union until earlier this year.

Bard Valley Medjool Date Growers, Yuma, Arizona, added Derrick Stinnet as director of international sales and Liam Slavin as northeast sale representative. Stinnet was vice president of international sales and marketing at The Grapery, Shafter, California. The company promoted David Baxter to marketing director, Rocio Saldana to senior marketing coordinator and Elsa Salazar to marketing coordinator . . . Moxxy Marketing, Salinas, Calif., hired Hailey Terrones as project coordinator for the western region United States, Mexico and Canada. She was brand ambassador and merchandising assistant for Grimmway Farms’ organic juice line from 2015-17.

Kailee Tkacz Buller, chief of staff to former Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Steve Censky for the past year and a half, has been named president of the Institute of Shortening and Edible Oils (ISEO). She succeeds Robert L. Collette. “Collette leaves big shoes to fill, but Kailee is more than capable,” said John Bode, president and CEO of the Corn Refiners Association, an ISEO member. Buller had been chief of staff in USDA’s Research, Education and Economics mission area and a policy adviser in its Office of Congressional Relations early in the Trump Administration. Before government service, she was director of legislative and regulatory food policy at the Corn Refiners Association, director of government affairs at SNAC International, manager of government affairs at the National Grocers Association and research analyst at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) has named Steve Dodge its new director of state regulatory affairs. He has more than two decades of experience in outreach, communication and lobbying for the American Petroleum Institute (API), recently as executive director of the Massachusetts/New England Petroleum Council. NBB CEO Donnell Rehagen said NBB, the soybean industry and the heating oil community have invested millions of dollars in the research, market development and education over 15-plus years in getting renewable fuels into the heating market. NBB state governmental affairs efforts are led by Floyd Vergara in its Sacramento, California, office. NBB is the U.S. trade association representing the biodiesel and renewable diesel value chain, including producers, feedstock suppliers and fuel distributors.

Steve Dodge

Steve Dodge, NBB

UNFI, a North America Food wholesaler, and Meijer, a chain of supercenters in the Midwest, have been named U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions in an announcement from EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. Champions are U.S. businesses and organizations who pledge to reduce food loss and waste in their own operations by 50 percent by the year 2030. UNFI Director of Sustainability and Social Impact Alisha Real called it “simply unacceptable that so much is wasted.” Earlier 2030 Champions includes Ahold Delhaize, Amazon, Aramark, Blue Apron, Bon Appetit, Browns Superstores, Campbells, Compass Group, ConAgra, Farmstead, General Mills, Giant Eagle, Hello Fresh, Hilton, Kellogg’s, Kroger, Las Vegas Sands, Marley Spoon, MGM Resorts, Mom’s Organic Market, PepsiCo, Sodexo, Sprouts, The Wendy’s Company, Unilever, Walmart, Walt Disney World, Wegmans, Weis, Whiston’s and Yum! Brands.

Jennifer (Jenn) Heiss has been named national information and communications officer for the USDA-funded Interregional Research Project No. 4 (IR-4) at North Carolina State University. IR-4 coordinates research necessary to register pest control agents or crops such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, herbs, spices and ornamentals. Heiss has more than 10 years experience in multistate and local government agencies and served as an officer in the North Carolina Association of Government Information Officers.

Gary Hirshberg, the former Stonyfield Farms yogurt entrepreneur who founded the Just Label It organization to advocate labeling of foods with products of agricultural biotechnology, says his group “is retiring at the end of the year — but the Only Organic campaign is taking up the fight.” The successor group,, is supported by more than 100 large and small organic food companies and associations. It advertises itself as a nonprofit voice to educate the public about “why organic farming and products are better for families and the environment.”

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has chosen four food safety fellows who are pursuing doctoral degrees with an interest in food safety and public health. They are Darwin Bandoy, University of California Davis; Aaron Beczkiewicz, Ohio State University; Colette Nickodem, Texas A&M University; and Ilya Slizovskiy, University of Minnesota. During their fellowships, they will collaborate with FSIS scientists on the agency’s research priorities. 

Nebraska-based Lindsay Corporation, manufacturer of center pivot irrigation equipment and other infrastructure equipment and technology, promoted Randy Wood, now its chief operating officer, to president and CEO and a member of its board effective January 1, 2021, to succeed the retiring Tim Hassinger. Since joining Lindsay in 2008, Wood has served in a variety of leadership roles in the company’s irrigation business. Hassinger joined Lindsay in October 2017.

Jennifer Goedke has been tapped as Chief of Staff for Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif. Since 2014, she served as Deputy Chief of Staff to Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif.

Laura Forero returns to Capitol Hill as a legislative assistant handling environmental, energy, immigration and women's issues for Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Calif. Prior to that, she was a legislative representative and registered lobbyist with the League of Conservation Voters. But she also worked for Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, D-Fla., ex-Sen. Bill Nelson D-Fla. and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand D-N.Y. before joining the conservation group.

The California Ag Leadership Foundation’s (CALF) Profiles in Leadership Award, which recognizes Ag Leadership Program alumni for their leadership actions resulting in the betterment of industry, community, business, government, education and/or the environment, was awarded to Craig and Sara Jane Underwood, Holly King and Rich Peterson.

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