Jenny Lester Moffitt was confirmed by the Senate last week to become undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs at USDA. She will be responsible for overseeing the Agricultural Marketing Service and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Moffitt previously was serving as the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s undersecretary. She is also an organic walnut farmer and has worked at American Farmland Trust and the Central Valley water board.
The Bureau of Reclamation's California-Great Basin Region has selected Joshua Israel to be the new science division manager for the Bay-Delta Office. In this new position, Israel will help increase support for the region’s science efforts. Israel began his career with the Bureau of Reclamation in 2010 in Sacramento as a fish biologist. He later became a supervisory natural resource specialist at the Bay-Delta Office. In addition to his experience at Reclamation, he served as an AmeriCorps Watershed Stewards Program Corpsmember.
Scott Ross has been hired as the senior manager of sales and new business development for Dole Diversified North America, which oversees the business side of Dole’s year-round berries division. Ross brings over 25 years of experience working in the produce industry. He most recently worked at Del Monte Fresh and has also worked at Sunkist, Giumarra, and West Pac Avocado.
Westfalia Fruit Group has appointed Danielle Willems as a group communications executive. She brings 15 years of experience to the position and currently leads corporate communications for the EMEA Animal Nutrition business for Cargill. Before joining Cargill, Willems spent 10 years of her career working for Sabic, a Saudi-owned and headquartered chemical company.
Almond Board of California has announced its new board of directors, whose terms began on Aug. 1. Brian Wahlbrink was elected to chair the board, and George Goshgarian Jr. was picked as vice chair. Representing almond growers are: Paul Ewing, an independent producer from RPAC Almonds in Los Banos; Joe Gardiner, an independent producer from Treehouse California Almonds in Earlimart; and Christine Gemperle, a co-op grower from Gemperle Orchards in Ceres. The new handler representatives are: Darren Rigg, an independent handler from Minturn Nut Co in Le Grand; and Bob Silveria, an independent handler from Vann Family Orchards in Williams. The alternatives include Brandon Rebeiro, an independent grower from Gold Leaf Farming in Modesto; Chris Bettencourt, an independent grower from Westley; Kent Stenderup, a co-op grower from Stenderup Ag Partners in Bakersfield and former chair of the ABC Board; Dexter Long, an independent handler from Hilltop Ranch in Ballico; and Chad DeRose, an independent handler from Famoso Nut Co. in McFarland.
Ngoc Nguyen now serves as the legislative director for Rep. Luis Correa, D-Calif. Nguyen handles the portfolio for foreign affairs, defense, tax, housing and homelessness, labor, the Judiciary Committee, small business, appropriations, financial services and Tribes. Nguyen previously was the senior legislative assistant for Rep. Alan Lowenthal, D-Calif.
Mucci Farms, located in Kingsville, Ontario, has hired Dan Branson as senior director of business and product development. Branson worked for the last 15 years at Canada’s largest grocery chain, Loblaw Companies.
Michael Johnston, a Central Coast Water Board member, is retiring at the end of August to help care for his wife of 40 years. Johnston is from Watsonville and serves as a consultant for Teamsters Local 948 and the California Teamsters State Council of Cannery and Food Processing Unions. Before joining the water board, Johnston was a campaign coordinator at the International Brotherhood of Teamsters from 2006 to 2009, and a business representative for Teamsters Local 890 from 1988 until 2005.
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