The Department of Agriculture has announced new key staff positions. Linda Delgado was appointed to senior adviser in the office of the secretary. She most recently served as the director of government affairs at Oxfam America. Marni Karlin is now the senior adviser for organic and emerging markets. Karlin previously served as the vice president of government affairs and general counsel of the Organic Trade Association. She also served as the founding executive director of the Controlled Environment Agriculture Food Safety Coalition. Marcia Moore will serve as the director of the Office of the Executive Secretariat. Moore most recently served as the chief of personnel and administration and was also a committee management senior analyst at the Department of Defense. Moore returns to USDA where she previously managed the Agricultural Research Service’s Office of Scientific Quality Review, USDA’s Committee Management Program, and environmental policy analysis. Shawn Campbell was hired to be a legislative analyst in the Office of Congressional Relations. Campbell most recently served as a special assistant to Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo.

Marni Karlin

Marni Karlin

The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Tracy Stone-Manning as director of the Bureau of Land Management.

Former American Soybean Association CEO Ryan Findlay has joined Farmers Edge as strategic ventures manager. Findlay brings 20 years of agriculture experience to the position, and in the last year led a consulting service advising clients on organizational development, sustainability initiatives, and federal policy issues.

Dorothy DeWitt, division of market oversight (DMO) director at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, has stepped down as director. DeWitt has served in the position since she joined the agency in September 2019. Meghan Tente, associate director of the office of international affairs, will take over DeWitt’s responsibilities and serve as acting director. Tente began her CFTC career in the division of clearing and risk and previously served in several different capacities in DMO from 2017-2020, including acting deputy director. 

Jen Daulby has left the Consumer Brand Association and has joined Indigov as its new chief of staff. She most recently served as the senior vice president of government affairs at CBA.

The National Association of Conservation Districts tapped Jen Nelligan as the organization’s chief program officer and Karla Maldonado as its chief operations officer. Nelligan is the founder and president of Alithea Advisors and has previously worked at USDA as an adviser to the Farm Production and Conservation deputy chief operating officer for business services. Maldonado joined NACD in 2017 as the organization’s senior staff accountant.

After six years at NACD, Sara Kangas is leaving and heading to American Forests to be the new director of policy communications. Her first day with American Forest will be on Oct. 18. Kangas has served as the director of communications at NACD for the past two years. 

Ryan Findlay

Ryan Findlay

House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott has added and promoted three people on this staff. Kelcy Schaunaman was promoted to associate counsel and legislative assistant after previously serving as a legal clerk for the committee. Paul Babbitt III joins Scott’s team as the subcommittee staff director for the conservation and forest subcommittee. Babbitt previously worked for Rep. Tom O’Halleran, D-Ariz., as his deputy chief of staff. Chu-Yuan Hwang will now serve as deputy chief counsel. She has been with the committee since March 2020 as senior counsel and before that worked as an attorney for the Office of the General Counsel at USDA, providing legal advice on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) and North American Blueberry Council have hired Leslie Wada as senior director of nutrition and health research. For the past 20 years, Wada has worked as an independent consultant for companies in the food and agriculture industry. She is a registered dietitian with an undergraduate degree in nutrition and dietetics from the University of California, Davis, and a Ph.D. in nutritional sciences from the University of California, Berkeley.

Farm Credit of the Virginias has tapped Patti Craun to serve in the newly established dairy specialist role. Craun has a 30-year tenure with Farm Credit of the Virginias. She most recently served as regional sales and lending manager.

The National Chicken Council has elevated Harrison Kircher to senior vice president of government affairs. Kircher has been with NCC for the past 10 years and has spent time as a government affairs associate, manager, director and vice president on the legislative affairs team.

Ellen de Brabander joined Elanco as the executive vice president of innovation and regulatory affairs. de Brabander succeeds current executive vice president Aaron Schacht on Oct. 18. de Brabander previously worked for PepsiCo as senior vice president for research and development, technical insights, digital solutions, and compliance. She has also held roles with Merial, now Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health; Intervet, now Merck Animal Health, and the specialty chemical company DSM.

Patti Craun

Patti Craun

Prairie Farms Dairy announced Ed Mullins has decided to step down as chief executive officer and executive vice president to assume a new role as senior executive officer. Mullins has a 40-year tenure with the company. Matt McClelland has been promoted to succeed Mullins as chief executive officer. McClelland was serving as senior vice president of sales.

Matthew Ziegler has joined the National Corn Growers Association as the manager of public policy. Ziegler served two years at USDA, briefing former Secretary Sonny Perdue on issues such as rural development, inland waterways and rural broadband. He also oversaw Perdue’s domestic and international travel.

Rania Khalaf now serves as Inari’s first chief information and data officer. Khalaf joins Inari from IBM Research, where she created and led the global research strategy on AI-infused automation.

Patrick McDonnell has been appointed chief business officer for Biotalys, an AgTech company focused on enabling a sustainable and safer food supply chain. McDonnell comes to Biotalys from BASF where he was global lead business development for agricultural products.

Whole Foods co-founder and CEO John Mackey has announced he will retire in September 2022. In the next year, Mackey will transition his responsibilities to current chief operating officer Jason Buechel, who will then become Whole Foods Market’s next CEO. Buechel has been COO since 2019 when he moved up from executive vice president. He joined Whole Foods in 2013 as global vice president and chief information officer.

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