The Biden administration has selected five state leaders to Rural Development and Farm Service Agency offices. Deborah Tannenbaum has been tapped to be the state executive director of Florida’s Farm Service Agency. Tannenbaum was most recently the deputy ag commissioner at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Before her time at FDACS, she was the executive director of the Florida Peanut Federation. Dennis McKinney has been selected as the state executive director of Kansas’s Farm Service Agency. McKinney is a farmer and former state legislator who has also served as the Kansas state treasurer. Robert Andrzejczack will serve as the state executive director of New Jersey’s Farm Service Agency. Andrzejczak joined the Army in 2005 and was wounded during his second deployment in Iraq. After recovering, Andrzejczak was elected to the New Jersey General Assembly in 2012 and chaired the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. Jon Wyss has been tapped as the state executive director of Washington’s Farm Service Agency. Wyss served as an analyst and government affairs director for Gebbers Farms and was briefly a Washington state legislator. He has been active in the U.S. Apple Association, the Okanogan Long Term Recovery Group, and local and state Farm Bureau affiliates. Selected to serve as the state director of Wyoming’s Rural Development is Glenn Pauley. He most recently worked as the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. He has also previously been the executive director of both the Southern Alberta Land Trust Society and the Wyoming Stock Growers Agricultural Land Trust.

Dustin (Dusty) Oedekoven

Dustin Oedekoven

The National Pork Board (NPB) has tapped Dustin (Dusty) Oedekoven, DVM, as the organization’s new chief veterinarian, effective Feb. 25. Oedekoven most recently served as state veterinarian and executive secretary for the South Dakota Animal Industry Board. Patrick Webb, DVM, will now serve as NPB’s assistant chief veterinarian. Webb previously served as NPB’s director of swine health programs where he implemented Pork Checkoff-funded FAD prevention and preparedness efforts. Brett Kaysen, who most recently served as the senior vice president of sustainability for NPB, has taken on the role of senior vice president of producer and state engagement.

Courtney Knupp has also joined the National Pork Board as the new vice president of international market development. Knupp comes to NPC from the U.S. Soybean Export Council as the director of animal and aquaculture nutrition meal. Earlier in her career, Knupp worked for USDA as the chief of staff to the assistant secretary of administration, senior executive service and was also the director of international trade policy for the National Pork Producers Council.

Patrick Donovan has left the office of Sen. Michael Bennet where he served as senior policy adviser helping with the energy, environment, climate, and trade portfolio. He has accepted a new job with the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership as the chief policy officer.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott has promoted Emily Pliscott to policy analyst and Victoria Maloch to deputy communications director. Pliscott previously served as dairy policy assistant and Maloch was a legislative assistant for the Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit and the Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research. In addition to her new role, Maloch will continue her policy work with the Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit.

The Consumer Brands Association has moved John Hewitt to vice president of packaging sustainability. Most recently, Hewitt led the state affairs team for Consumer Brands. Before joining Consumer Brands, Hewitt served as both special counsel to the secretary and general counsel for the California Department of Food and Agriculture. He also worked at the California Farm Bureau.

Stephen Nicholson has been promoted to global sector strategist for grains and oilseeds for Rabobank, based in St. Louis. Nicholson joined RaboResearch in January 2014 as a grains and oilseeds analyst for Rabo AgriFinance.

Stephen Nicholson

Stephen Nicholson

Shane Kinne has accepted the role of executive director of the Coalition to Protect the Missouri River. Kinne previously worked at Vivayic as a learning analyst. Before that, he was the director of policy and grower engagement at Missouri Corn Growers Association.

Emily LeRoy has been hired as senior policy adviser for the Missouri Farm Bureau. LeRoy previously worked at the Missouri Department of Agriculture as the agency’s legislative and budget director. LeRoy began her career as a staff assistant for Sen. Roy Blunt before transitioning to MDA in 2014.

Tracy Robinson has been appointed as Canadian National Railway’s new CEO and member of the board of directors, effective Feb. 28. She will succeed Jean-Jacques Ruest, who will step down next month but will remain in an advisory role until March. Robinson comes to the rail firm from TC Energy Corp. where she was head of natural gas pipelines.

Melissa Malcolm-Cullison has joined the Upfield Group, owners of Cooler Management, as the new vice president of corporate partnerships. Malcolm-Cullison most recently served as director of national sales and field marketing at the Milk Processors Education program, responsible for the national got milk? campaign.

Wren Almitra is leaving the Women Food and Agriculture Network where she served as the director of grants and programs. Stephanie Enloe has joined the WFAN staff as the new program manager. Enloe has been working towards her PhD at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

After 32 years in the industry, Doyle Karr is retiring from Corteva Agriscience. Karr currently serves as the director of consumer insights and food system engagement. Karr was also the biotech public policy director at DuPont.

After a 32-year career with Dow, Mary Draves, vice president of environment, health, and safety and chief sustainability officer, has announced she will retire, effective April 2022. Andre Argenton has been tapped to succeed Draves upon her retirement. Argenton currently serves as vice president of core research and development.

The National Audubon Society has tapped Marshall Johnson as the new chief conservation officer and Justin Stokes as deputy chief conservation officer. Johnson joined Audubon 12 years ago, starting as a climate field organizer for the D.C. policy team. He most recently served as the interim chief conservation officer at Audubon after serving as vice president and executive director of Audubon Dakota. Stokes previously served as interim deputy chief conservation officer at Audubon and was vice president and executive director of Audubon South Carolina.

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has selected 12 members to serve on the Department’s first Advisory Committee for Urban Agriculture. The members include: Jerry Ann Hebron, Michigan, urban producer; Bobby Wilson, Georgia, urban producer; Viraj Puri, New York, innovative producer; Kaben Smallwood, Oklahoma, innovative producer; Sally Brown, Washington, higher education; John Erwin, Maryland, higher education; Carl Wallace, Ohio, non-profit representative; John Lebeaux, Massachusetts, business and economic development representative; Zachari Curtis, D.C., supply chain experience; Allison Paap, California, financing entity representative; Tara Chadwick, Florida, related experience; and Angela Mason, Illinois, related experience.

The American Lamb Board has elected new officers to serve for 2022. Newly elected as chair is Peter Camino of Wyoming; as vice chair is Jeff Ebert of Kansas; as secretary is Sally Scholle of Pennsylvania; and as treasurer is Don Hawk of Ohio.

The American Sheep Industry Association has elected John Noh of Idaho to its executive board.  Noh was chosen to fill the Region VII spot previously held by Montana’s Randy Tunby, who was not eligible for re-election. ASI’s officers were re-elected to a second year of their current leadership roles. Susan Shultz will continue to serve as president, while Brad Boner and Ben Lehfeldt will serve as vice president and secretary/treasurer, respectively.

Jennifer Shomenta, president of Cargill’s global edible oils business, has joined the Agriculture Future of America’s board of directors. She fills the seat vacated by Marc Mears, Cargill’s vice president of North America grain, cotton and crop inputs operations, who retired from the board after serving a three-year term.

The American Sugarbeet Growers Association has elected Nate Hultgren of Raymond, Minnesota as the association’s new president. Hultgren has served on the ASGA board of directors since 2016 and previously served as ASGA’s vice president. Hultgren is a fourth-generation farmer and also serves as chairman of the board of the Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative. Neil Rockstad of Ada, Minnesota was elected vice president. He has served on ASGA’s board of directors since 2015. In addition to his role as vice president, Rockstad serves as president of the Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association.

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