Albert Keck II

Albert Keck II

Albert Keck II has been tapped to serve as chairman of Western Growers Board of Directors. Keck currently serves as president of Hadley Date Gardens. He is a third-generation Californian and farmer, and is a native of the Coachella Valley. Keck succeeds Ryan Talley as chairman of the board.

Allied Grape Growers named Kyle Collins as its manager of North Valley operations, effective Nov. 15. Collins will oversee Northern San Joaquin Valley grower relations and is responsible for negotiating economically sustainable grape purchase agreements for the association’s North Valley members. For the past three years, he was a vineyard manager with Gallo Vineyards.

Gold Coast Packing has brought on Robb Bertels as vice president of sales and marketing. Bringing over 35 years of experience in the produce industry, Bertels most recently served as head of marketing and business development at Sakata Seed America.

The Idaho Potato Commission appointed Mark Duncanson as a new commissioner to the board. Duncanson serves as the director of raw material procurement at Basic American Foods. Brett Jensen of Brett Jensen Farms was appointed as chairman and Bryan Wada of Wada Farms as vice chairman.

Bayer Crop Science President Liam Condon plans to leave the company at the end of the year “to pursue career opportunities outside of Bayer,” the company announced Tuesday. Rodrigo Santos has been selected to as the new president. Condon led Bayer’s crop science portfolio since the beginning of 2016 and has been with Bayer since 2006 when his former employer, Schering, was acquired by the company. Santos, himself a Bayer and Monsanto veteran, is currently the company's chief operating officer. After the acquisition of Monsanto in 2018, he led the Crop Science business in Latin America. A Brazilian national, Santos has spent 23 years with the company in sales, marketing, strategy, and business development roles located in Brazil, the United States and Eastern Europe.

Dennis Rodenbaugh has been tapped to lead Dairy Farmers of America as the new president and chief executive officer, effective at the end of 2022. Rodenbaugh will succeed Richard Smith, who plans to retire after leading the organization for the past 16 years. Rodenbaugh currently serves as executive vice president and president of council operations and ingredients solutions for DFA.

Kyle Collins

Kyle Collins

John Raines is joining TELUS Agriculture as the organization’s new president, effective Nov. 29. Raines currently serves as the chief customer officer for The Climate Corporation. Before that, he was vice president of global integrated farming systems and precision planting for the Monsanto Company.

The Department of Agriculture has announced four new individuals to fill staff positions at headquarters in D.C. Joaquin Altoro was appointed administrator of the Rural Housing Service within Rural Development. Altoro most recently served as CEO and executive director for the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority. Allen Rodriguez is the new deputy press secretary in the Office of Communications. Rodriguez previously served as deputy press secretary to Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H. Riya Mehta will serve as a policy adviser to the Farm Service Agency, focusing on policy work within the Farm Program and Farm Loan Program. Mehta previously served as a policy adviser to Rep. Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif. Conisha Hackett was also appointed as a policy adviser to the Farm Service Agency, focusing on organizational policy work. Hackett previously served as a research analyst with the Policy Research Center at Alcorn State University.


Liam Condon

USDA has announced the appointments of two Farm Service Agency state executive directors and two Rural Development state directors. Thaddeus Fairley Sr. has been appointed FSA state executive director for Mississippi. He most recently served as a field representative for Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, D-Miss., current chair of the Committee on Homeland Security. Eugene Schriefer has been appointed FSA state executive director for Wisconsin. Most recently, Schriefer served as a senior outreach specialist with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Extension Division. He has worked as an agriculture educator in Iowa County since 2009. Julie Lassa has been appointed RD state director for Wisconsin. Lassa most recently worked for a Wisconsin-based property and casualty insurance company. She also represented a district in central Wisconsin in the state legislature for 18 years, both in the Assembly and Senate. Charlene Fernandez has been tapped as the RD state director for Arizona. Fernandez was elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in 2014 and was later elected House Minority Leader in 2019.

Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Company of Iowa has announced Shannon Rutledge will be promoted to the position of president and CEO at the end of the year. Rutledge previously served as FMH’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. He succeeds Ronald Rutledge, who will be retiring Dec. 30.

Dawn Caldwell now serves as the executive director of Renewable Fuels Nebraska. Caldwell previously served as the head of government affairs for the Aurora Cooperative Elevator Company in Nebraska.

Elizabeth Escobar now serves as the manager of strategic planning and business development for Nichino America. Escobar comes to Nichino America from ISK Biosciences where she most recently served as project manager for new business development.

Shannon Rutledge

Shannon Rutledge

The National Waterways Foundation (NWF) has elected Matt Woodruff as chairman, with his term expiring in 2023. He succeeds Rick Calhoun, who served as chairman for 2020-2021. Woodruff serves as vice president of public and government affairs at the Kirby Corporation. NWF has also elected new officers for the upcoming year: Tracy Zea, Waterways Council Inc., will serve as president; Robert McCoy, Amherst Madison, as vice chairman; Karl Jefferson, LIUNA, as treasurer; and Deb Calhoun, Waterways Council Inc., as secretary. Anne Thompson, with the National Corn Growers Association, was elected as a trustee for a three-year term expiring in 2024.

Barry Rosenbaum, president of Nassau Candy Distributors, is the new chairman of the National Confectioners Association board of trustees. Tony Jacobs, president of Bazooka Candy Brands, was selected to serve as the new vice chair. Rosenbaum succeeds Paul Chibe, who had to step down from the board as he transitioned from his role as CEO of Ferrero North America to global president of sugar confectionery and gums, based in Europe.

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