The American Farm Bureau Federation has selected Joby Young, a former Trump administration official with Capitol Hill experience, as its new executive vice president. Young will replace Dale Moore, who announced his retirement in March. Young is currently a partner at the lobbying firm Horizons Global Solutions and previously served as former Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue’s chief of staff. 

Joby_Young.jpgJoby Young, AFBF

USDA announced the names of five officials who will lead state Rural Development and Farm Service Agency offices. The three individuals selected for FSA positions are Ronald Guidry Jr., Louisiana; Mark Gibbons, Utah; and Maureen Wicks, Montana. The two picked for Rural Development state director positions are Christy Davis, Kansas, and Lillian Salerno, Texas. Guidry has served as the adviser for an FSA county committee that services multiple parishes across southeastern Louisiana. Gibbons was previously Utah’s FSA state executive director in 2014. He has also served as the president of the Utah Farmers Union, president of the Dairy Producers of Utah, and president of the Governor's Agriculture Advisory Board. In 2014, Wicks was elected to serve as a Liberty County commissioner and was recently reelected in 2021. Davis served as the executive director of Symphony in the Flint Hills. Salerno served in the Obama administration for six years, first as USDA's Rural Business administrator and later as deputy undersecretary for Rural Development. 

Geoff Freeman has left the Consumer Brands Association, where he served as the president and chief executive officer. He has announced he will become the president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, effective Sept. 1. He joined CBA in 2018 to assist with the transition from the Grocery Manufacturers Association to CBA. 

The North American Equipment Dealers Association has appointed Kipp McGuire as the new director of government affairs. Kipp previously was an adviser to the U.S. Navy's Commander of Pacific Fleet as a member of the Commander's Action Group and Government Affairs and Outreach teams. Before his time as a consultant, he was an advance officer for the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Keith Harrison has joined the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture as a project manager. Harrison owns a beef cattle operation in Tennessee and previously worked at the Tennessee Department of Agriculture in the Business Development Division as the assistant commissioner. 

ross Hettervig .jpegRoss Hettervig, National Farmers Union Ross Hettervig has joined the staff at the National Farmers Union as the senior communications director. A North Dakota native, Hettervig previously worked on the House Agriculture Committee as the communications director for chairman David Scott, D-Ga., and former chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn.


Congresswoman Mayra Flores, R-Texas, has been selected to serve on the House Agriculture Committee. Flores was recently elected to replace Filemon Vela, who resigned from his seat in the 34th District. Flores is the first Mexican-born congresswoman to be elected to office. 

The ranking Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, Kevin Brady, R-Texas, has made several staff changes. Paige Decker is now the deputy staff director. She previously served as the director of coalitions and member services. Caroline Jones is now deputy parliamentarian and senior adviser. Previously she served as deputy parliamentarian and clerk. Zach Kahler is the new communications adviser, having previously served as the digital director. Lauren Camp has been promoted to deputy press secretary from press assistant.

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Ashley Gowens is the new communications director for Rep. Shontel Brown, D-Ohio. She replaces Conor Fryer, who was the communications director since December. 

The president and CEO of the American Bakers Association, Robb MacKie, will step down at the end of the year to focus on family matters full-time. MacKie has been with ABA for 27 years, 17 of which were served as president and CEO. In a press release, he said, “It is time for me to practice what I preach by putting family first and focus my full attention and passion on helping my family through our challenges. I only ask for the industry's and friends' support, prayers, and respect for my family's privacy."

Elizabeth Rowland is leaving the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, where she served as the executive director of the NASDA Foundation. She joined NASDA in 2013 and served in multiple capacities including human resources. 

Robb MacKie .jpgRobb MacKie, ABABeck Ag has named Tracy Mader as the company's new vice president of business development. Mader brings 20 years of experience to the position, previously working for Syngenta's Crop Protection and Seeds divisions. Most recently, Mader founded Affinity Seed Services, a consultancy firm.

Taylor Nikkel has left her role with the Livestock Marketing Association and is now the director of the stockgrowers division at the Kansas Livestock Association.

Pilar Cruz has been selected to sit on the board of directors to the World Food Program USA. Cruz is the corporate senior vice president and chief sustainability officer at Cargill. 

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Chancellor Robert Jones will join the World Food Prize Foundation Council of Advisers. Jones is a plant physiologist, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a fellow of the American Society of Agronomy and the Crop Science Society of America.

Bob Worth is returning to serve as the president of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association. He replaces Mike Skaug, who stepped down after a year of leading the organization. Darin Johnson was named vice president, Brad Hovel advanced to secretary, and Ryan Mackenthun is the new treasurer.

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