Rep. Ron Kind, a long-time advocate for reform of farm program payment limits, U.S. sugar policy and crop insurance, announced Tuesday that he will not seek reelection in 2022. The Wisconsin Democrat, who represented the state’s Third District, said, “Representing the people at home has been the honor of my life--but I never intended it to be the honor of my entire life." After 26 years, “it’s time for me to step back,” he added.

The Department of Agriculture has added some more key staff appointments to its headquarters office:

John Rapp

John Rapp

John Rapp has been named director of the office of budget and program analysis. He previously held the job in an acting capacity while simultaneously serving as the budget officer, chief risk officer, chief evaluation officer, and performance improvement officer. Before that, he served as the director of strategic planning, budget and accountability for the Forest Service.

Brooke Jamison has been appointed to associate administrator of the Foreign Agricultural Service. She brings 23 years of experience working on agriculture and international development policy for government, non-profit and private entities. She previously handled the agriculture and trade policy portfolio for two senators and a member of Congress and most recently served as Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s, D-N.Y., legislative director.

Regina Black was hired on to be the chief of staff for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs. She most recently was the director of the executive office at the U.S. Dairy Export Council. Caryn Compton was appointed chief of staff for Rural Utilities Services. Most recently, she served as the chief of staff for Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont. Mia Mayberry was selected to be the deputy director of intergovernmental affairs in the Office of Congressional Relations. Mayberry most recently served as the director of outreach for Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. Marty Matlock will serve as the senior adviser for Food Systems Resiliency with Marketing and Regulatory Programs. He was the founding executive director of the University of Arkansas Resiliency Center and is a professor in the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department.

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers has announced Dennis Slater will retire as the president of the organization at the end of the year. AEM’s senior vice president, construction and utility sector, Megan Tanel, will succeed Slater. Slater joined AEM’s predecessor, the Construction Industry Manufacturers Association, in 1982, later becoming president of CIMA in 1998 and president of the newly formed AEM in 2002 after a merger between CIMA and the Equipment Manufacturers Institute. Tanel joined AEM in 1995 as an intern and become a full-time employee later that year.

After a decade of representing the National Confectioners Association, most recently as Senior Vice President, Public Policy, Liz Clark is leaving to be the next CEO of IHRSA, the global health and fitness industry. She starts Monday.

The National Corn Growers Association announced that Angus R. Kelly has joined NCGA as the Director of Public Policy, Trade and Biotechnology. Kelly spent over a decade with Syngenta, working first as a lobbyist in the nation’s capital and then in leadership roles with the company in the European Union, Hawaii and Switzerland. He also managed corporate affairs for Africa and the Middle East. Following his time at Syngenta, Angus returned to Hawaii where he specialized in strategic communications and policymaking for agricultural, environmental, energy and humanitarian clients.

The U.S. Grains Council has hired Emily Sutton to be the new manager of communications. Sutton most recently worked at Prim Marketing Group as a creative lead.

Emily Sutton

Emily Sutton

The American Seed Trade Association has hired Jordan Gregory as the new manager of membership engagement. Gregory previously worked at the Texas Department of Agriculture as a policy specialist.

Grace Burton has left the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and is headed to USAID to work on the Bureau for Resilience and Food Security's communications and outreach team. Burton was with the Chicago Council for the past seven years, most recently as the director of government relations. Gloria Dabek, who has been at the council since the start of 2020, is taking over Burton’s responsibilities.

Impossible Foods has brought on Leilani Gayles to be the new chief people officer and has promoted David Borecky to be the new chief finance officer. Gayles comes to Impossible from the San Francisco Giants, where she was the chief people officer. Borecky first joined the company in 2019 as the chief accounting officer.

Jennifer Nealson has joined the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association as the senior vice president of global marketing and research, located in the Denver office. Nealson brings 25 years of experience to the job, most recently serving as CEO of EMERGE Strategy, a consulting practice focused on growth strategies for middle-market companies.

The board of directors for the American Feed Industry Association has elected Mike Gauss, president of Kent Nutrition Group, to be the new board chair-elect of the organization. Gauss will succeed current board chair Mike Schuster, vice president of sales at Laidig Systems, in May 2022. Gauss joined the Kent team in 2005 as a division engineer with Grain Processing Corporation. In 2013, he transitioned to the Kent Nutrition Group and was later promoted to vice president of operations in 2015. He was promoted to president in 2019. 

Mike Gauss

Mike Gauss

The Illinois Soybean Association has elected Steve Pitstick as the new chairman of the board after serving as ISA’s vice chairman for the past two years. Pitstick is a corn and soybean farmer near the Maple Park, Ill., area. ISA has also elected Ron Kindred as vice-chairman, Dwayne Anderson as treasurer, Elliott Uphoff as secretary, and David Wessel as assistant secretary-treasurer.

Josie Lonetti has been hired to be the new director of strategic engagement for the Minnesota AgriGrowth Council. Lonetti currently serves as the associate director of public policy with the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation. Before joining the Minnesota Farm Bureau, Lonetti worked at the Minnesota Business Partnership.

Elya Taichman has joined the staff of Rep. Lori Trahan, D-Mass., as the new legislative director. Taichman will handle the agriculture and food, appropriations, foreign affairs, national security, taxes, immigration, infrastructure, labor, public lands, and small business portfolio as well as the congresswoman’s work on the Natural Resources Committee. Taichman recently earned a law degree from Temple University Beasley School of Law.

Casey MacLean now works in the personal office for Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., as a legislative assistant covering the public lands and natural resources portfolio. She previously was a policy aide for Huffman on the Water, Oceans, and Wildlife Subcommittee for the House Natural Resources Committee.

Matt Bonaccorsi has been promoted to communications director and senior adviser to Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., on the House Rules Committee. He previously served as a communications assistant.

Andrew Scibetta has joined the staff of Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux, D-Ga., as the new communications director. Scibetta most recently served as the communications director for Rep. Lou Correa, D-Calif.

Cale Beam has moved up to legislative assistant for Rep. Tracey Mann, R-Kan. Beam handles the portfolio for commerce, finance, labor and employment, and health. He previously was a legislative correspondent.

Manu Tupper now serves as the Democratic press secretary on the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. He previously was a legislative aide for the committee under Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii.

Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., has brought on Matt Handverger as his new communications director. Handverger previously worked in Rep. David Cicilline’s, D-R.I., as press secretary.

Mariana Perera has been promoted to scheduler for Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif. She previously served as a staff assistant and deputy scheduler.

Mairéad Lynn now serves as the communications director for Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa. She has worked on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pension Committee as press secretary, for the Nevada State Democratic Party as press secretary, and at Emily’s List as the deputy director of campaign communications.

Brad Hiranaga has left General Mills, where he was the company’s chief brand officer. In the interim, Doug Martin, disruptive growth officer, is stepping in and expanding his role to include Hiranaga's responsibilities. Hiranaga was with General Mills for 20 years.

Retired U.S. Wheat Associates country director Ron Lu passed away July 23 in Taipei, Taiwan. He was 73. Lu served 33 years with USW, joining in 1983 as a technical specialist before being appointed country director in 2004. He retired in 2017. From 2007 to 2009, Lu served as the chairman of the China Grain Products Research and Development Institute. Throughout his career, Lu worked directly with end users and importers to help them strengthen commercial links with U.S. export companies.

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