Virginia Jameson

Virginia Jameson

Governor Gavin Newsom has appointed Virginia Jameson as the Deputy Secretary for Climate and Working Lands at the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Jameson has been the climate and conservation program manager at the California Department of Conservation since 2018. Before that, she was deputy state director for the American Farmland Trust from 2015 to 2018 and the natural resources and sustainable development program coordinator for the American University School of International Service in 2014.

Governor Newsom has also tapped Alice Busching Reynolds as the next president of the California Public Utilities Commission, following the retirement of Marybel Batjer on Dec. 30. Batjer has served as president of the CPUC since 2019 and was named chair of a new Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Reinvention Strike Team by the Governor. Reynolds has been serving as senior adviser to the Governor for Energy since 2019. She has served as senior adviser for climate, the environment and energy in the Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. from 2017 to January 2019.

California’s USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service has announced three new leadership selections in the state. Allen Curry has been selected as the assistant state conservationist for field operations in Salinas covering the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, and Stanislaus. Johnnie Siliznoff has been selected as the assistant state conservationist for field operations in Fresno covering the counties of Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, Tulare, and Tuolumne.  Jon Gustafson is the new permanent state resource conservationist. Curry most recently served as the district conservationist in Indio. Siliznoff was the acting district conservationist in Fresno and previously the district conservationist in Madera. Gustafson was the state rangeland ecologist.

The Almond Alliance of California has named Aubrey Bettencourt as its new president and CEO, effective Dec. 1. She currently serves as director for sustainability for the California Cattle Council and Western United Dairies.

Almond Alliance President and CEO Aubrey BettencourtAlmond Alliance President and CEO Aubrey Bettencourt

President Joe Biden is appointing two individuals to serve in key regional roles within USDA. 

Armando Valdez has been tapped as state director of rural development for Colorado. Valdez currently serves as a member on the Colorado State University System’s Board of Governors. During the Obama-Biden Administration, Valdez was appointed to the Farm Service Agency executive committee for Colorado.

Kent Peppler has been chosen to be Colorado’s state executive director for the Farm Service Agency. Peppler is a fourth-generation farmer from Mead, Colorado. He served as a member of the Colorado State Farm Service Agency State Committee during the Clinton-Gore Administration from 1995-2000 and also served briefly as the assistant state executive director and acting state executive director for the agency.

Biden also has announced his intent to nominate Jerome Powell to a second term as chairman of the Federal Reserve and Lael Brainard to serve as vice chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

Anne Alonzo has joined Pollination, a specialized climate change investment and advisory firm, as a senior adviser. Most recently, she served as senior vice president of external affairs and chief sustainability officer at Corteva Agriscience. She also served as the president and CEO of the American Egg Board, vice president of global public policy at Kraft Foods, chair of the World Cocoa Foundation and was a vice president of Amoco.

Anne Alonzo

Anne Alonzo

Jacqueline Cohen now works for Waxman Strategies as vice president of environmental policy practice. She most recently served as the chief environmental counsel for the House Energy and Commerce Committee on the Democratic staff.

UPL has named Bryan Brochin as the commercial head of U.S. agriculture, leading the U.S. agriculture sales team. Brochin comes to UPL with 27 years of experience in the agricultural industry, most recently serving as the director of global bio-ag marketing and strategy at Novozymes.

The National Biodiesel Board has elected a new governing board. Serving a two-year term are: Chad Stone, Renewable Energy Group; Chris Hill, Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council; Dave Walton, Iowa Soybean Association; Harry Simpson, Crimson Renewable Energy; Kent Engelbrecht, ADM; Mike Devine, World Energy; and Ryan Pederson, North Dakota Soybean Council.

Farm Journal has promoted Cliff Becker to executive vice president of the company’s livestock division. Becker joined Farm Journal in 2012 and most recently served as senior vice president.

The Washington Forest Protection Association's executive committee has selected Jason Spadaro to serve as its executive director. Spadaro has served as interim executive director since July after the death of Mark Doumit. Spadaro has more than 30 years of forestry experience. He has also served as WFPA’s immediate past president and a trustee for more than 11 years.

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