The Almond Board of California has hired Michael Roots as a specialist on the field outreach and education team. He will help support growers and guide them through the California Almond Sustainability Program. Roots is a graduate of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where he majored in agricultural systems management. After graduation, he worked as a ranch foreman for Farmland Management Services, making his way up to the ranch manager position. He was also a manager at Whole Orchard Recycling.

Michael Roots

Michael Roots

Bill Capsalis has been appointed executive director of Naturally Boulder. From 2016-2018, Capsalis served as the board chair of Naturally Boulder. He most recently served as the CEO of Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy Inc.

Interfresh has added Lisa Cabuto to its sales team at the company’s Orange, Calif., sales offices. Cabuto brings more than 25 years of produce industry experience to the new position, previously working in positions in wholesale trade, the grower/shipper community, distributor/marketer community and as a retail buyer.

The National Mango Board elected new officers at its March board meeting. Clark Golden of New Jersey will serve as chair, and Christopher Ciruli of Arizona will serve as vice chair. Serving as secretary is Michael Warren of Florida, and elected as treasurer is Marsela McGrane of Los Angeles, Calif.

Progressive Produce CEO Jim Leimkuhler has announced he is stepping down from the helm, effective March 31. Leimkuhler has served 35 years in the produce industry with the last 25 years spent at Progressive Produce. He started out as the chief financial officer, and then was named president in 1996. He became a part owner of the company in 2003.

Robert “Bobby” Bianco, co-owner of Anthony Vineyards, passed away unexpectedly after undergoing a routine medical procedure. He was 78. He was recognized as one of the Coachella Valley’s most esteemed grape growers and is also credited as the first grower in the U.S. to commercially grow red flame seedless grapes.

President Joe Biden will nominate Janie Simms Hipp, an agricultural law veteran and member of the Chickasaw Nation, to become the Agriculture Department’s general counsel, USDA’s chief legal officer. To read more on Hipp, click here.

Janie Simms Hipp

Janie Simms Hipp

USDA also announced more senior leadership positions. Sandra Eskin has been named deputy undersecretary for food safety. Eskin previously worked at The Pew Charitable Trusts where she served as the project director for food safety. Eyang Garrison has been tapped to be the chief of staff in the office of the deputy secretary. Before coming to USDA, Garrison served as the deputy chief of staff and legislative director to then-Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio. Jeremy Adamson is now the policy adviser for trade and foreign agricultural affairs in the Foreign Agricultural Service. Most recently, Adamson served as the portfolio manager for Certis USA. He has also held roles with Corteva Agriscience and Nutrien. Edyael Casaperalta has been named senior policy adviser for the Rural Utilities Services agency. She most recently served as a project manager for AMERIND, helping to support Indigenous and underrepresented communities in telecommunications matters.

The Bipartisan Policy Center has announced the members of its Farm and Forest Carbon Solutions Task Force, which will be co-chaired by former Sens. Heidi Heitkamp and Saxby Chambliss. The members are: Cornelius Blanding, Federation of Southern Cooperatives; Jad Daley, American Forests; Callie Eideberg, Environmental Defense Fund; Ara Erickson, Weyerhaeuser; Whit Fosburgh, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership; Kathleen Frangione, Amazon; Dan Glickman, former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and senior fellow at BPC; Krysta Harden, U.S. Dairy Export Council; Bob Izlar, University of Georgia Center for Forest Business; Leonard Jordan, LJ Conservation Matters and former acting chief of USDA’s NRCS; A.G. Kawamura, former California Secretary of Agriculture; Tom Martin, American Forest Foundation; Ben Mosely, USA Rice; Collin O’Mara, National Wildlife Federation; Laura Wood Peterson, LWP Consulting, ranch operator, and adviser for Indigo Ag; Tom Schultz, Idaho Forest Group; Brian Thalmann, Minnesota/National Corn Growers Association; and Bryan Van Stippen, National Indian Carbon Coalition.

Former House Ag Committee Chair Collin Peterson has joined forces with Combest Sell & Associates, a lobbying firm with food and agriculture clients. Peterson previously served 15 terms in the House of Representatives as a Minnesota Democrat. He is barred from lobbying his former Capitol Hill colleagues until January 2022. To read more on Peterson, click here.

Cargill has selected Jamie Miller to be the company’s new chief financial officer, effective June 1. Miller previously worked at GE, where she was the senior vice president and CFO. She joined the company in 2008 and worked in various leadership positions, including serving as president and CEO of GE Transportation. Miller succeeds David Dines, who will retire from Cargill on Sept. 2, after 29 years with the company.

Barb Glenn

Barb Glenn

Cargill also announced new leadership changes that will go into effect in April. Jon Nash will lead the global protein and salt enterprise. He succeeds Brian Sikes, who has been promoted to COO. Pilar Cruz has been named chief sustainability officer. She joined the company in 2002 and most recently worked in the global aqua nutrition business. Ruth Kimmelshue will take over as leader of Cargill's animal nutrition and health business. She joined the company in 2015 as a member of the executive team and has been involved in leading its sustainability campaigns as the company’s first chief sustainability officer. Julian Chase will be assuming the additional duties of leading its business operations and supply chains. David Webster will succeed Frank van Lierde, leader of food ingredients and bioindustrial business functions, who announced his retirement after 32 years with Cargill. Webster most recently led the company’s animal nutrition and health business segment.

The board of Danone has decided that Emmanuel Faber will step down as chairman and CEO. Faber was first selected to serve as CEO in 2014 and added chairman to his responsibilities in 2015. Danone has appointed Gilles Schnepp to become chairman of the board, effective immediately. Schnepp has been an operating adviser of Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, since last year. Before that, he served over 30 years with Legrand in various leadership positions. The board has also decided to tap Véronique Penchienati-Bosetta, currently CEO of Danone International, and Shane Grant, currently CEO of Danone North America, to jointly lead the business while the search for a new CEO is underway. Penchienati-Bosetta joined Danone in 2001 in marketing and general manager roles before being appointed as executive vice president of growth and innovation in 2017. Grant previously served as executive vice president and CEO of Danone North America. Before joining Danone, Grant spent almost 20 years with The Coca-Cola Company.

After leading the organization for seven years, Barb Glenn, CEO of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, announced she will retire from her position this fall. Glenn has served the agriculture industry over a 40-year career. To read more on Glenn’s career, click here.

Peggy Browne has joined the Senate Ag Committee’s minority staff as a senior professional staff member covering the conservation and climate change portfolio. Browne previously worked at USDA as the deputy administrator for field operations in the Farm Service Agency. Mary Catherine Cromley has come over to the committee as a legislative assistant after working in Sen. John Boozman’s, R-Ark., personal office as a legislative aide.

Peggy Browne

Peggy Browne

House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Glenn Thompson added and promoted some of his staff.  Joshua Maxwell has been promoted to policy director. He most recently served as senior professional staff handling the conservation, forestry, energy, and credit portfolio. He also worked on the 2008, 2014, and 2018 farm bills. Jennifer Tiller has been promoted to deputy staff director after previously serving as senior professional staff. She will also be handling the nutrition and trade portfolio. Coming over from Thompson’s personal staff are John Busovsky and Taylor McCarty. Busovsky will serve as a professional staff member handling the conservation and forestry portfolios. McCarty previously served as communications director in Thompson's personal office and will serve as the committee’s Republican communication director. New to the panel is Erin Wilson, who will serve as the director of member services and coalitions. Wilson previously served as legislative director for Rep. Fred Keller, R-Pa. Before that, she worked at USDA from 2017-2019, most recently as a policy and congressional adviser.

HP Hood, a U.S. food and beverage manufacturer, has hired Robbie Lock as its new sustainability manager. Before joining Hood, Lock was the sustainability manager with VF Corporation and managed a Starbucks and McDonald’s collaboration on sustainable paper cups.

FLM Harvest has selected Danita Rodibaugh to be the new chair of the board of advisers. Rodibaugh works on her family’s grain and purebred swine operation in Indiana. She is an eight-year veteran of the board and succeeds Ted Priebe, who has held the position since 2011. Also joining the board is Heidi Nelson, a 25-year ag and food marketing leader. She most recently served as executive vice president and head of public relations for FLMH.

For more news, go to