President Joe Biden intends to nominate Jennifer Moffitt to be USDA's next Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs. Moffitt currently serves as the undersecretary at the California Department of Food and Agriculture, where she served as deputy secretary from 2015-18. Before that, she worked on her family’s organic walnut farm and processing operation for 10 years. She also served on the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board and worked for American Farmland Trust. To read more on Moffitt, click here.
Ryan Ferguson has been elected to serve as the president of the Westlands Water District Board of Directors. He succeeds Daniel Errotabere, who has stepped down as president but will continue to serve on the Board. Ferguson was first elected to the board in 2017. He is a second-generation family farmer in the Lemoore and Huron area, where he grows almonds, pistachios, tomatoes, and reproduction seed cotton. He currently serves as chair of the finance and administration committee and represents Westlands on the board of the Association of California Water Agencies.
Tejon Ranch Co., has appointed Marc Hardy as senior vice president and general counsel. Hardy currently serves as counsel with the Buchalter law firm in Irvine, Calif. He also served as the assistant general counsel and the general counsel/assistant secretary for A.G. Spanos Companies from 2001 to 2020.
Rick Haggart has been selected to be the new chief technology officer for iTradeNetwork, a global provider of supply chain management solutions for the food and beverage industry. He brings over 20 years of experience to the position and previously worked for Boeing, Accenture, PerfectPlaces.com, RedAwning and Virtana.
Nufarm Americas Inc. has tapped Ken Barham to be the vice president of crop protection sales for the U.S. Barham brings 20 years of experience in the crop protection industry to his new position. He most recently served as Nufarm’s North America vice president of customer and brand marketing for the last four years. Before joining Nufarm, Barham worked for Syngenta leading the post-patent strategies for herbicide and insecticide marketing. He also has eight years of experience working for Adama Group Companies.
Danielle Crop has joined Albertsons Companies as the company’s new senior vice president and chief data officer. Crop most recently was the chief data officer at American Express.
The Colorado Department of Agriculture has named Dr. Maggie Baldwin to be the new state veterinarian. She is the first female to become the state veterinarian in Colorado. She joined the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s Animal Health Division in January 2017, focusing on emergency response, incident management, and public outreach. She has served as epidemiology traceability veterinarian and most recently as the Colorado Assistant State Veterinarian.
Janet McCabe was confirmed by the Senate in a 52-42 vote to be the next deputy administrator of the EPA. McCabe is a professor of practice at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law at IUPUI and director of the Environmental Resilience Institute at IU. McCabe previously served as acting assistant administrator of the Office of Air and Radiation at the EPA under the Obama administration from July 2013 to January 2017 and as principal deputy in that office from 2009 to 2013.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has named new individuals to senior leadership positions. Karama Neal now serves as the administrator for the Rural Business-Cooperative Service. Before this position, Neal served as president of Southern Bancorp Community Partners, a nonprofit community development loan fund located in rural Arkansas and Mississippi. Mike Schmidt is the new senior adviser in the Office of the Secretary. Schmidt had served since Jan.20 as a senior adviser in USDA’s Farm Production and Conservation Mission Area. He also served as senior professional staff for the Senate Ag Committee under then-ranking member Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and worked at USDA during the Obama Administration. Lisa Ramirez was named director of the Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement. She most recently served as the chief innovative officer for the Lubbock Independent School District in Lubbock, Texas. She has previously held a series of positions at the Department of Education, including director of the Office of Migrant Education and director for the Office of School Support and Rural Programs. Doug McKalip is now a senior adviser in the Office of the Secretary. Most recently, McKalip was a senior adviser in USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. He has also served as a senior policy adviser for rural affairs at the White House Domestic Policy Council and held several positions at USDA, including senior adviser to the secretary and director of legislative and public affairs in the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
House Ag Committee Chair David Scott, D-Ga., has added one new individual and promoted two on his committee staff. Lyron Blum-Evitts has been promoted to the role of director of outreach and legislative operations. Blum-Evitts has been with the committee since 2019, previously as member relations coordinator. Ross Hettervig will now serve as the committee’s communications director. Hettervig joined the committee in 2019 and most recently served as a digital director. Josh Tonsager will join the committee and serve as the staff director for the General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Subcommittee. Before joining the Committee, Tonsager served as the vice president of policy and communications for the National Association of Wheat Growers.
Tracy Stone-Manning has been tapped by President Joe Biden to lead the Bureau of Land Management as the new director. Stone-Manning most recently served as the senior adviser for conservation policy at the National Wildlife Federation. She has also worked on the staff of former Montana Gov. Steve Bullock and Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont.
Former senior vice president for government relations and public policy for Feeding America, George Braley, died March 28 from complications of congestive heart failure. He was 72. In his career, Braley served as the deputy administrator for special nutrition at USDA's Food and Nutrition Service. His career spanned 32 years at USDA’s FNS. He also served as acting administrator during presidential transitions before retiring in 2007.
Organic farming pioneer Betty Ann Van Dyke died on April 20 at the age of 88. She was a pioneer of early organic fruit production and also followed her father's footsteps into traditional orchard ranching after she took over the family's operation in Gilroy. While completing her degree from San Jose State, she was also one of the first women to surf in Santa Cruz in the 1950s and 60s. For more on her life and April 29 memorial services, click here.
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