Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has named Randy Moore as the new chief of USDA’s Forest Service. Moore will be the first African-American to serve in this role. Moore has been serving as a regional forester in the Pacific Southwest Region in California since 2007, where he has had responsibility for 18 national forests. Before that, Moore served for five years as the regional forester for the Eastern Region headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisc. He started his career in conservation in 1978 with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in North Dakota. Current Forest Service chief Vicki Christiansen will step down from her role on July 26.
The California Legislature has appointed Sen. Connie Leyva of Chino to serve as a nonvoting member on the Air Resources Board. Leyva replaces Sen. Bill Monning of Carmel, who termed out of office last year. Before serving in office, Leyva led the California Labor Federation. The Senate Rules Committee has also approved Gov. Gavin Newsom’s appointments to serve on the Water Commission. This includes Kim Gallagher, who manages rice production for Erdman Farms in the Sacramento Valley and San Diego labor attorney Fern Steiner. Steiner clerked at the National Labor Relations Board while in law school. The appointees await final confirmation on the Senate floor.
Gov. Newsom has also announced he is appointing Jamie Callahan and Daniela Simunovic to serve on the California Air Resources Board. Callahan has been appointed to serve as the chief of staff and policy adviser to the chair and Simunovic has been appointed to be senior adviser on environmental equity. Callahan has served as deputy cabinet secretary in the Governor’s office since 2019, and she has also served as chief executive officer of the 2018 Global Climate Action Summit. Simunovic has been the senior policy director for Better World Group since 2019.
Today is Dave Kranz’s last day with the California Farm Bureau Federation. For the last 11 years he has been with the CFBF, most recently serving as the director of publications and media relations. Peter Hecht will take over Kranz’s responsibilities as the new chief editor of publications.
IFCO, a provider of reusable plastic containers for fresh food packaging, has appointed Rick Overholt as the company’s new vice president of grower sales, North America. He succeeds Craig Kelly who is retiring after seven years in the IFCO SYSTEMS organization. Overholt joins IFCO after serving in numerous sales leadership roles during his 22-year career at CHEP, most recently serving as national sales director of produce.
Jon Kiley has been promoted to sales manager for Awe Sum Organics. He joined Awe Sum Organics in August as an account manager. Kiley brings over 20 years of experience in organic produce sales, previously working for Earthbound Farms.
President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate Cindy McCain as the nominee for U.S. representative to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization, and Homer Wilkes as the nominee for undersecretary for Natural Resources and the Environment at the Department of Agriculture. McCain is the widow of late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. Wilkes is a Mississippi native and serves as the director of the Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem Restoration Team. He previously served as the acting associate chief of the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service from 2010 to 2012.
The Natural Resources Defense Council has selected Manish Bapna to be the new president and chief executive officer. Bapna brings 25 years of experience to the position, most recently serving as the interim president and CEO of the World Resources Institute. He will assume responsibilities at the end of August.
The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) has promoted four of its staff to new positions, effective July 1. Bryna Hautau will add senior to her title as the new senior director of operations and events. Hautau joined the ARA in 2013 as an administrative assistant. Hunter Carpenter is the new senior director of public policy. Carpenter joined ARA in 2015 after working at Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment as manager of state affairs and grassroots. Melisa Augusto will be promoted to vice president of communications and marketing from director. She has been with ARA for the last four years. Donnie Taylor will become the senior vice president of member services and corporate relations. He has been with ARA for the last 10 years.
Rachel Pick has started a new job with the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers in Action as the director of programs and operations. Pick joins USFRA from USDA where she most recently served during the Trump Administration as an adviser to the general counsel. Before that, she was the chief of staff in the office of partnerships and public engagement.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has added Meyer Seligman as the new director of government relations. Seligman previously worked on the Senate Appropriations Committee as a professional staff member for the subcommittee for energy and water development.
Kathy Krenger will be joining the Kraft Heinz Company as the new chief communications officer, effective July 21. She currently works for the Hyatt Hotels Corporation as the senior vice president of global communications. She will succeed Michael Mullen, who has announced his retirement after 23 years with the company. His last day will be Aug. 15.
The American Seed Trade Association has elected Brad May, BASF, as the new chair of ASTA’s officer team. Jim Schweigert, GroAlliance, has been elected as the first vice chair, and David Armstrong, Sakata Seed America, was tapped to be the second vice chair.
Chaz Wilson has been reelected chairman of the board of the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council. Wilson serves as head of international sales for Pilgrim’s USA and has served on the USAPEEC board of directors since 1998. Wilson, along with the entire executive committee, was reelected by the membership due to the circumstances that occurred with COVID-19 last year. Newly elected to the executive committee as the third member-at-large was Jianlin Si with Tyson Foods.
Jim Collins Jr. has announced he will retire as chief executive officer of Corteva, effective Dec. 31. He has agreed to continue in his role while the company searches for his successor. Collins has been with the company and its predecessor, DuPont, for more than 37 years.
After 41 years of federal service, Bradley Karmen retired from USDA’s Farm Service Agency. Karmen started his own consulting firm, working with farmers, ranchers, and agribusinesses in preparation for the 2023 farm bill. Karmen has worked on seven farm bills dating back to 1985.
Gene White, a founder of the Global Child Nutrition Foundation, passed away June 23 in Oak Harbor (Whidbey Island), Washington. She was known to be a trusted and knowledgeable resource for school feeding programs around the world, providing advice to several countries, including Tunisia, Paraguay, and China. A native of Ohio, White received her undergraduate degree in Food and Nutrition from Miami University in Ohio and a Master’s Degree in Nutrition from Ohio State University. In her career, she served as president of both the School Nutrition Association and the California School Nutrition Association. Before that, she served as the assistant superintendent and director of child nutrition programs for the California State Department of Education.
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