The Senate Agriculture Committee is expanding its membership with three new Democrats, including Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., a vegan who’s a sharp critic of large-scale livestock farming as well as checkoff programs. He also has pushed for big increases in conservation spending to address climate change. The other new members: Newly elected Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia and Sen. Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico. Lujan had a near-perfect record with the League of Conservation Voters as a House member. Pennsylvania Democrat Bob Casey is leaving the panel. Republicans haven’t announced their membership yet, but freshman Kansas Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., is expected to get a seat. The committee’s incoming chairwoman, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, has also taken a seat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, which will broaden her influence when it comes to climate policy.
USDA has announced individuals who will fill key staff positions. Rebecca Piazza has been named senior adviser for delivery in the Office of the Undersecretary for the Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services. Most recently, she served as vice president of program delivery at Nava Public Benefit Corporation. Steffanie Bezruki was selected to be chief of staff in Rural Business Services. Bezruki spent the last seven years on Capitol Hill, most recently as Former Rep. Abby Finkenauer’s, D-Iowa, legislative director. Abbey Meller is now a confidential assistant in the Office of Congressional Relations. She previously served as an organizing associate at the Center for American Progress. Paul Zeiss will report to the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs as a confidential assistant. Before joining USDA, Zeiss served in various capacities on President Joe Biden’s campaign, most recently as a field organizer. Tharun Vemulapalli was named confidential assistant in the Office of the Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation. Vemulapalli previously served as a field organizer for the Democratic Party.
Rachel Garland has joined Nutrien's government and industry affairs team, handling legislative issues and industry relations for the company in the Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi territories. Before joining Nutrien, Garland was at the Florida Department of Agriculture working as Commissioner Adam Putnam's federal affairs director and Commissioner Nikki Fried's rural outreach director.
Samuel Negatu now works at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative as the director of congressional affairs. He previously served as the legislative director to Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Calif.
Sarah Collins has replaced Vivian Moeglein as chief of staff for Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Ark. Collins most recently worked at Tyson Foods as senior manager of government relations. Moeglein now serves as the Republican staff director for the House Natural Resources Committee.
Rob MacGregor now serves as a Republican professional staff member for the House Natural Resources Committee under Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Ark. MacGregor previously worked at the Department of Agriculture as a senior adviser.
Savannah Block has left Capitol Hill and has moved to the private sector to start a new job with Novozymes as a government relations associate. Block previously worked in Sen. John Hoeven’s, R-N.D., office as a legislative aide covering the agriculture and food, animal welfare, and telecommunications portfolio. Her first day was on Monday.
Judson Mork has taken over Block’s portfolio and is now a legislative correspondent in Hoeven’s office. He was previously a staff assistant.
Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas has named Derek Theurer as the new Republican chief tax counsel on the House Ways and Means Committee. Theurer most recently worked at the Business Roundtable as vice president of tax and fiscal policy. Before that, he served as senior tax counsel to Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La.
Sean Riley succeeds Tony Blando as the chief of staff for the office of Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis. Riley comes to Capitol Hill after serving the last year at the White House as special assistant to the President for legislative affairs.
Greg Dotson is now the Democratic chief counsel for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, under Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del. He previously worked for the Center for American Progress as a senior fellow and before that was the vice president for energy policy. Dotson is also a professor at the University of Oregon School of Law. He replaces Andrew Rogers, who has taken a job with the Federal Highway Administration as the new chief counsel.
Taylor Meredith has joined the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee as a counsel for the panel's Republicans. Meredith comes to the Hill from the Environmental Protection Agency where she most recently served as a senior adviser to the administrator.
Adam Tomlinson now works for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee as an aide on the committee's GOP staff. Tomlinson previously worked for Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.V., as her legislative director.
J.T. Jezierski is now Capito’s legislative director. He covers the portfolio for appropriations and emergency management. He previously served as Capito’s appropriations director.
John Tanner is the Republican deputy staff director for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. He previously served as the principal deputy assistant secretary at the Department of the Interior for the Fish, Wildlife and Parks Division.
Olivia Kurtz has left the office of Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, where she served as chief of staff. Kurtz is now a principal for the S-3 Group. Steve Abbot has taken over as chief of staff for Sen. Collins.
Jennifer Cox is now the chief of staff for Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz. She previously served as Kelly’s campaign manager.
Kaleb Froehlich has replaced Mike Pawlowski as chief of staff for the office of Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska. Froehlich previously was director of legislative and regulatory affairs at Holland & Hart.
Zephranie Buetow is now at the White House Office of Legislative Affairs as the special assistant to the President and Senate legislative affairs liaison. Buetow previously worked in the office of Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., as his legislative director.
Kirtan Mehta now serves as chief of staff for the office of Sen. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo. Mehta previously worked for Robinhood Markets.
Devin Barrett has left the office of Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., where she was a legislative assistant. Barrett has taken a new role with Holland and Knight as a public affairs adviser.
Robin Kinney has left the Beltway to take on a new role with the Minnesota Farm Bureau as director of membership and marketing. Kinney previously worked for the American Farm Bureau as the director of membership and program director.
Estil Fretwell, former director of public affairs, is now serving as Interim chief administrative officer of the Missouri Farm Bureau. He succeeds Dan Cassidy who retired last month after 31 years with the organization.
The Missouri Corn Growers Association has tapped Bradley Schad as the organization's incoming chief executive officer, effective March 15. Schad succeeds Gary Marshall, who is retiring after leading the state’s corn industry group for 34 years. Schad currently serves as the senior director of market development and grower engagement. He started with Missouri Corn in 2008, managing programs focused on ethanol and other market opportunities.
Courtney Knupp started a new job with the U.S. Soybean Export Council as the focus area director for animal and aquaculture nutrient meal, based in Chesterfield, Mo. Knupp previously worked at the Department of Agriculture and the National Pork Producers Council.
Iowa Corn has selected Carrie Dodds as the new director of grower services, overseeing the district field managers. Dodds began her career at Iowa Corn in 2006 as the market development manager, and later transitioned into the District 5 district field manager position.
Sage Saffron has joined the National Milk Producers Federation helping to advance sustainability practices in the dairy industry. Her title is sustainability initiatives coordinator. Saffron recently completed an internship with the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture as the Fall 2020 public policy intern.
Marrone Bio Innovations has appointed Suping “Sue” Cheung to be the new chief financial officer, effective Feb. 18. Cheung brings 28 years of experience to the position. She is a certified public accountant and previously was the CFO of QuickLogic Corp. She succeeds James Boyd, who will be retiring.
Susan Shultz has been tapped to lead the American Sheep Industry Association as its next president. Shultz had served as vice president the past two years and as secretary/treasurer the two years before that. Shultz operates Bunker Hill Farm in Ohio with her husband, Bill. Their son, Joe, helps with lambing in the spring.
The World Poultry Foundation board of directors has elected Elton Maddox as chairman, succeeding Eric Joiner who recently announced that he is retiring after 10 years in the position. Maddox began his career in the poultry industry in 1974 at Wayne Farms. He eventually became the company’s chairman of the board and retired from his post in 2019. He has also served as president of the Georgia Poultry Federation and the Georgia Poultry Processors Association, and as chairman of the board of the Georgia Poultry Improvement Association and the National Chicken Council.
Terry Harris, senior vice president of operations at Riceland Foods, has retired. Harris joined the company in 1975 as a quality control grader and worked his way up to vice president of international rice marketing, traveling the world and marketing Arkansas rice to other countries.
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