Scott Herndon

Scott Herndon

Scott Herndon has been named the new president of Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, effective Jan. 24. Herndon currently serves as the vice president and general counsel of the American Sugarbeet Growers Association, where he has overseen ASGA’s sustainability and regulatory initiatives since 2017. He represented ASGA at the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance as co-chair of the Soil Health Committee. 

President Joe Biden has announced the appointments of eight individuals to serve in regional roles at USDA. The following were appointed as state executive directors of the Farm Service Agency: Blong Xiong, California; Matt Gellings, Idaho; Whitney Place, Minnesota; Heidi Secord, Pennsylvania; and Ronald Howell, Virginia.

The following individuals were appointed as state directors for USDA Rural Development: Lakeisha Hood, Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands; Rudy Soto, Idaho; and Helen Price Johnson, Washington.

Most recently, Xiong served as the executive director for the Asian Business Institute and Resource Center. A fourth-generation farmer, Gellings has served on Idaho’s FSA state committee for 12 years. He has also served as chairman of the Leadership Idaho Agriculture Board of Trustees, president of the Eastern Idaho Ag Hall of Fame, and president of the Bonneville County Grain Producers Association.

Place most recently served as the assistant commissioner at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. She has been at the MDA since 2012. Secord has over 26 years of farming and regenerative agriculture experience as the owner of the Josie Porter Farm in northeastern Pennsylvania. She currently serves as a farmer member on the Pennsylvania State Conservation Commission.

Most recently, Howell served as the director of operations and management in the College of Agriculture at Virginia State University. He previously served as the special assistant and adviser for strategic partnerships and initiatives to the secretary of agriculture and forestry in the offices of Govs. Terry McAuliffe and Ralph Northam. Hood most recently served as the director of the division of food, nutrition and wellness in the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Soto is a member of the Shoshone Bannock Tribes of the Fort Hall Reservation and the is the son of a farmworker. He most recently worked for Western Leaders Network. Price Johnson is a third-generation small business owner. She concluded three terms on the Island County Commission in 2021 and is also a past president of the Washington State Association of Counties.

Kelsey Billings

Kelsey Billings

Kelsey Billings has been promoted to senior director, industry affairs and sustainability at the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives. Billings has been with NCFC since 2010 and most recently served as director of government affairs and sustainability.

Manuel Otero has been asked to serve another term as the director general of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA). This is the veterinary surgeon’s second consecutive term.

The North American Renderers Association has named Dana Johnson Downing as the association’s new vice president of international programs. Before joining NARA, Downing served as director of partnerships and policy for TraceGains Inc. Downing has held various positions on Capitol Hill and at USDA, including running the agricultural trade office at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.

Karl Anderson has been named the new president of the Supporters of Agricultural Research (SoAR) Foundation. Anderson joins SoAR after 10 years as director of government relations for the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America. He previously served as director of legislative affairs for the National Association of Conservation Districts.

Zurich North America has named Jason Meador to lead Rural Community Insurance Services, replacing Mike Day, who announced he will retire effective March 31. Meador will take over as head of RCIS on Feb. 1. Day has served 40 years of his career in the crop insurance industry and has been on the executive committees of the National Crop Insurance Services and the Crop Insurance and Reinsurance Bureau. A Navy veteran who first joined Zurich as a strategy business partner, Meador currently serves as head of captives at Zurich North America.

Tim Trotter has been tapped to serve as CEO of the Dairy Business Association (DBA) and Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative. Trotter had been executive director of the sister organizations since 2015.

Elliott Kellner

Elliott Kellner

The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center has brought on Elliott Kellner as senior program manager. Kellner most recently served as a research scientist and faculty member at West Virginia University. He also served three years as the Chesapeake Bay science adviser.

Krysta Harden has been elected to serve as board chair of the National 4-H Council. A 4-H alumna, Harden currently serves as the president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council. She also was deputy secretary of agriculture for USDA in the Obama administration.

U.S. Wheat Associates has elected new officers on its board of directors for the 2022-23 fiscal year. Taking over as chairperson is Rhonda Larson of East Grand Forks, Minnesota. Newly elected to the officer team is Clark Hamilton of Ririe, Idaho, serving as secretary-treasurer. Michael Peters of Okarche, Oklahoma, will serve as vice chairman. The newly elected team will begin their leadership roles at the USW board meeting in June 2022. Current chairman Darren Padget of Grass Valley, Oregon, will become past chairman at that time.

National Fisheries Institute President John Connelly has announced plans to retire in 2023. Connelly has served as NFI’s president since 2003. The Association has started a search committee, led by Kim Gorton, president and CEO of Slade Gorton and Co., to find Connelly’s replacement.

Nancy Huffstetler has announced she will retire from AgFirst Farm Credit Bank on Jan. 31, after a 38-year career with the organization. She is currently the legislative and public affairs administrator.

Jess Kramer has left Capitol Hill where she was a counsel to Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.V., on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. She now works for Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck as a senior policy adviser and counsel.

Alexis Glick has announced she will step down as CEO of Dairy Management Inc.’s checkoff-founded GENYOUth organization on July 1 to pursue other opportunities. Ann Marie Krautheim has been tapped to succeed Glick. Krautheim has been with GENYOUth since 2012 and most recently served as president and chief wellness officer.

Good Foods has promoted Juan Larios to executive vice president and president of operations for Mexico. Larios joined Good Foods in 2017 as the director of operations.

Andrew Lauver has joined Leading Harvest as the new director of programs and strategic alliances. Lauver joins Leading Harvest from Syngenta, where he most recently led a commercial sales team. He previously served as the company’s manager for industry relations for North America. He has also worked in a variety of roles in the U.S. Senate, the Iowa House of Representatives and the American Seed Trade Association.

Andrew Lauver

Andrew Lauver

Katrina Pitts and August Alderman have joined the Organic Trade Association as the organization’s first diversity and entrepreneurship program fellows. Pitts is a doctoral student at Morgan State University, studying community college leadership. At OTA, Pitts will focus on research and program development, utilizing her grant-writing experience to help the association identify additional sources of support for justice, equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives. Alderman is pursuing a graduate degree in community psychology at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. She will focus on building out JEDI initiatives and help bring more diverse organizations into the association. 

Beth Ford, president and CEO of Land O’Lakes, has become an at-large member of the Business Roundtable.

Steve Silverman is leaving the Colorado Department of Agriculture, where he served as deputy commissioner. He is moving on in February to teach at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. The department has begun a nationwide search to fill the position.

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin has selected the following individuals to serve in administration appointments. Parker Slaybaugh and Beth Green will both serve as deputy secretaries of agriculture and forestry. Jen Deci will serve as deputy secretary of transportation. In the Office of the Governor: Ali Ahmad will be the director of policy; Jesse Lynch, director of legislative affairs; Nicole Bunce Ogburn, deputy director of legislative affairs; Travis Rickman, legislative liaison; Hallie Pence, senior policy analyst; Amber Salter, policy analyst; Macaulay Porter, press secretary; Christian Martinez, deputy press secretary; and Rachel Leppert, creative director.

Andrew Fisher has joined Sen. Roy Blunt’s, R-Mo., office as his new legislative assistant for energy and agriculture. Fisher comes to the Hill from the National Pork Producers Council, where he was the manager of congressional relations. 

Ashley Smith is leaving the Beltway and headed back to her home state of Georgia to work for the University of Georgia's Extension Service as the Coffee County agriculture and natural resources agent, effective Feb. 1. Smith most recently worked at the International Dairy Foods Association as an executive assistant.

Gerald Bange, who worked for 43 years at the Department of Agriculture, including 20 as chairman of the World Ag Outlook Board, died Thursday, Jan. 13. He was 77. Bange became board chairman in 1994 and retired in 2014.  During his tenure as WAOB chair, Bange was a two-time recipient of the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Executive. He also served as program chairperson for USDA's Agricultural Outlook Forum.

Lee Kline passed away on Jan. 11 at the age of 92. He served a 64-year career in broadcast journalism, becoming a household name in Iowa. He started his radio experience in 1950 at WMT Radio and graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in agriculture journalism. Kline’s first job brought him to the Chicago Stockyards, where he worked for six months before being drafted into the U.S. Army to serve during the Korean War. After his time of service, Kline returned to the Chicago Stockyards before accepting a job with WHO Radio in Des Moines. At the time, WHO was expanding beyond radio and beginning television broadcasts. Kline spent 41 years in television, reporting on agriculture and the individuals involved in the industry. He retired in 1995 from television but continued to be heard on the radio until 2018.

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