Gov. Gavin Newsom has appointed Michael Flores to be the deputy secretary at the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Flores has been a Political Consultant since 2019. He previously served as a senior adviser for the California Correctional Peace Officers Association from 2005 to 2019.
Pear Bureau Northwest has elected new officer to serve for the 2021-22 season. Scott Martinez, Medford, Ore., will be the new PBNW chairman, with Jordan Matson, Yakima, Wash., elected as first vice chair. Don Gibson will serve as second vice chair and Ron Gonsalves will serve as third vice chair. The Fresh Pear Committee also elected new officers with Andrew Peterson serving as chair for his second and last term. Jorge Arias will serve as first vice chair, Matt Borman as second vice chair, and Ed Ing will serve as secretary and treasurer.
Farmers Business Network has hired Ken Barbic as the new head of policy and global government relations. Barbic previously served as assistant secretary for the Office of Congressional Relations at USDA during the Trump Administration. Before that, he was the senior director of federal government affairs at Western Growers.
Kate Gordon now serves as a senior adviser to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm. She most recently was director of California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Office of Planning and Research. Before that, she served as a board member of the Sustainable Investing Advisory Board.
Karla Thieman is the newest partner of Finsbury Glover Hering, joining the public affairs and communications firm’s food and ag practice. Thieman served as a senior policy adviser for Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack during the Obama administration and also served as the chief of staff to then-deputy secretary Krysta Harden. She most recently worked at The Russell Group and earlier in her career advised three Democratic chairs of the Senate Agriculture Committee: Tom Harkin of Iowa, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan.
President Joe Biden has announced his intent to nominate Chester John Culver to serve on the board of directors of the Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation. Culver served as the 40th Governor of Iowa from 2007 to 2011. He previously served on the Federal Agricultural Mortgage Board during the Obama Administration and before he was governor he served as the secretary of state of Iowa from 1999 to 2007.
Matt Herrick has moved back to the International Dairy Foods Association to be senior vice president of public affairs and communications. He will also launch the IDFA Foundation and serve as the executive director. Herrick most recently served as Vilsack’s communication director for the first five months of the Biden Administration.
IDFA has also announced a handful of promotions: Heather Soubra has moved from chief of staff at IDFA to become senior vice president of strategic initiatives; Tracy Boyle is the new senior director of employee relations and administrative services; Rob Carpenter now serves as the senior director of information technology; Colin Newman has been promoted to director of industry relations and political affairs; Michael Goodin will be the director of multimedia and digital content.
Smithfield Foods has promoted Shane Smith as the company’s new president and chief executive officer, succeeding Dennis Organ, who is stepping down for personal reasons. Smith has been with Smithfield since 2003, most recently as chief strategy officer.
Victoria Maloch has joined the House Ag Committee staff under Chairman David Scott, D-Ga., as a legislative assistant covering issues related to the Commodity Exchanges, Energy and Credit Subcommittee and the Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research Subcommittee. Maloch is a former Truman Albright Fellow in the federal Office of Rural Health Policy. She also interned at USDA in the Office of Rural Development.
Compassion in World Farming has tapped Ben Williamson as the organization’s new U.S. executive director. Williamson previously served two and a half years as U.S. programs director at World Animal Protection. Before that, he worked for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in London and Los Angeles.
The American Meat Science Association has awarded Shai Barbut with the 2021 AMSA Distinguished Research Award. The award, established in 1965, recognizes members with outstanding research contributions to the meat industry. Barbut serves as a Professor in Food Science at the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario, Canada.
He Kang, 1993 World Food Prize laureate, passed away on July 3. He was 98. Kang was the seventh World Food Prize laureate and the first from China. He was recognized for instituting reforms as China’s Minister of Agriculture helping lead the nation’s agricultural growth in the 1980s. In 1946, Kang graduated with a degree in agronomy from Guangxi University. Later that year, he began his career in government as a manager of an agricultural experimentation station in Nanking. His personal research became the foundation for China’s tropical rubber industry. From 1979 to 1990, he served in several government leadership positions, including deputy commissioner of the State Commission of Agriculture, deputy commissioner of the State Planning Commission, and Minister of Agriculture.
Tule River water master, Richard Schafer, passed away on July 1 at the age of 95. Schafer was a longtime advocate of water for farmers in the Central Valley. Born in South Dakota, Schafer served in World War II and later attended South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and received his degree in Civil Engineering. In 1960, Schafer started his own company, R. L. Schafer and Associates. He worked as a consulting engineer for many water districts through his early 90s. He served on the San Joaquin Valley Water Quality Coalition. He was also a big advocate for the enlargement of Success Dam. In 2019, the dam was renamed in his honor as the Richard L. Schafer Dam.
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