American Farmland Trust has hired Bonnie Michelle McGill as the senior climate and soil health scientist and Rachel Seman-Varner as the senior soil health and biochar scientist. McGill previously served as a science communication fellow at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History's Climate and Rural Systems Partnership. Seman-Varner previously served in the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service's Soil Health Division as national soil health specialist.
Autumn Price is headed to United Natural Foods Inc. as the new vice president of government and public affairs, a newly created position. Price was previously at Land O’Lakes as the vice president of government and industry affairs.
Price's hiring is part of a UNFI restructuring based on four growth platforms: services, wholesale, retail and corporate/business transformation.
UNFI President Chris Testa will lead the services platform. Steve Diet will be chief customer officer; Mark Bushway, chief supply chain officer; and Jack Clare, chief information officer have been appointed to the wholesale platform. Mike Stigers, CEO of the Cub Foods retail business unit, will continue to manage UNFI’s owned retail division. Helping to lead the corporate/business transformation platform includes: John Howard, Mahrukh Hussain, Matt Echols, Danielle Benedict, Louis Martin, and Brendan Walsh.
Andrew Lentz has joined the Environmental Defense Fund as the director of federal affairs on agriculture policy. Lentz previously worked for the Ecosystem Services Market Consortium, where he served as the policy director. Lentz previously worked for Deloitte as a senior lead of policy and government relations. Before that, he worked at USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service as a program manager.
The Farm Journal Foundation has hired Katie Lee as the vice president of government affairs. Lee brings 15 years of experience working in D.C. to the job, previously working for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as a program officer. She has also led U.S. government relations on international development issues at InterAction, and also worked for the late Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff.
Kate Waters has left USDA, where she has served as Secretary Tom Vilsack’s press secretary. Marissa Perry succeeds her as press secretary. She formerly served as a speechwriter at USDA.
Curtis Anderson is the new chief financial officer of the National Industrial Hemp Council of America. He previously ran his own consulting firm and before that served as the chief of staff at USDA’s Rural Utilities Service.
Melissa Kessler will be leaving the U.S. Grains Council on Sept. 2 to return to her consulting practice full time. Kessler has been with USGC for eight years and most recently served as the director of strategic initiatives and engagement. Kessler also has experience working for the National Association of Wheat Growers.
Polly Ericksen has been appointed as the University of Vermont’s inaugural director of the Food Systems Research Center, which is a partnership between UVM and USDA’s Agricultural Research Service. For the past nine years, Ericksen served as the program leader for sustainable livestock systems with the International Livestock Research Institute in Nairobi, Kenya. There she led a research program of more than 40 staff members across east and west Africa and south Asia.
Lance Zimmerman has joined Rabobank’s RaboResearch food and agribusiness team in North America as the senior beef analyst. Zimmerman has spent the last 12 years working for CattleFax, most recently as the director of research and protein market analysis. Before joining CattleFax, Zimmerman spent over six years at Certified Angus Beef, where he led their marketing and supply development efforts.
Tracey Chow now serves as the federal government affairs director for Western Growers. She was promoted from her previous role as a federal government affairs specialist.
The Global Farmer Network Foundation has added Julie Borlaug, president of the Borlaug Foundation, to the GFN Advisory Council. Borlaug currently works as the vice president for external relations and PR at Invaio.
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John Gertz has joined the senior management team at Meristem Crop Performance as the new chief operating officer. Most recently, Gertz was the CEO of SipcamAgro USA.
Tami Craig Schilling is settling into her new role as vice president and global market development recommend lead at Bayer. She was promoted from North America knowledge transfer lead.
NTCA—The Rural Broadband Association has promoted Michael Romano to executive vice president. Romano has been with the association for over 12 years. Before joining NTCA, Romano was of counsel with Bingham McCutchen, LLP (now Morgan Lewis).
Versova, an egg-producing company, has expanded its leadership team by bringing on Ryan Botha to serve as the strategic accounts manager and Greg Hoggard as corporate controller and as chief financial officer for Willamette Egg Farms. Before joining Versova, Botha served as a national account manager for multiple food companies and Hoggard was the CFO of Rembrandt Foods.
The Washington Grain Commission has selected Casey Chumrau as its next chief executive officer, beginning in mid-September. Chumrau will succeed Glen Squires who will retire on Nov. 1. Chumrau is executive director of the Idaho Wheat Commission and has previous experience working for the U.S. Wheat Associates, most recently as marketing manager for South America in Santiago, Chile.
Kasey Lovett has taken a new job with the American Beverage Association as the senior communications director. Lovett previously served as Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s, R-Ala., press secretary.
Brianna Duff has left the office of Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., where she served as the deputy chief of staff and the communications director.
Kathy Angerer has joined the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development as the new deputy director. She most recently served as the city manager for Hamtramck. She also served as a state representative from 2005-2010 and was the executive director of government affairs at AT&T Michigan from 2011-2012.
Jill O’Donnell has been given a new honorary title at the Yeutter Institute as the Haggart-Work Director. O’Donnell has served the last four years as the Institute's inaugural director. O'Donnell's honorary title is accompanied by a stipend to support and expand educational opportunities and other programming at the Yeutter Institute. O'Donnell's title and the accompanying stipend were made possible by a gift from Veronica A. Haggart and Charles R. Work.
Jill Parrent is the director of communications for the Nebraska Corn Board. She previously worked for the Illinois Soybean Association as the communications manager.
Ann Pesiri Swanson has announced she is retiring as the executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Commission after leading the organization for 34 years.
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