Ken Seitz .jpegKen Seitz, Nutrien

Ken Seitz has been tapped as the new president and CEO of Nutrien. He will also join Nutrien’s board of directors. Seitz has been serving as the interim CEO since January and brings 25 years of experience in global management. Before being asked to step in as interim CEO in January, Seitz was Nutrien’s executive vice president and CEO of potash at Nutrien Limited. 

Marty Tatman has been promoted to senior director of member engagement at the American Farm Bureau Federation. He was previously director of member engagement and before that, he worked for the National FFA Organization as an education specialist.

Lillie Zeng is leaving the Senate Agriculture Committee where she served as Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow’s, D-Mich., press secretary. Zeng is not announcing her next move at this time. Patrick Delaney will be the point of contact for Chairwoman Stabenow. 

DeShawn Blanding has joined the House Agriculture Committee as a legislative assistant covering the portfolio for commodity exchanges, energy, credit, and rural policy. He most recently worked for the Rural Coalition as a policy and strategy specialist. Before that, he was a staff assistant on the Senate Ag Committee.

Peter Hoffman is moving to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee as the communications director for Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.V. Hoffman currently serves as Capito’s press secretary in her personal office. 

Jan Ernst de Groot has been appointed to the newly created role of chief sustainability officer for food retail company Ahold Delhaize. He previously was the chief legal officer. 

DeShawn Blanding.jpegDeShawn Blanding, House Ag Committee

 Caroline Snell has been brought on to Michael Torrey Associates as a policy coordinator. Snell, who previously worked as an intern for MTA, is a Florida native and earned a bachelor's degree in food and resource economics from the University of Florida. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public policy at American University.

Ryan Goodman now serves as the director of communications and community engagement for Certified Angus Beef. Goodman has previous experience working for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association as the director of grassroots advocacy and spokesperson development. 

The Minnesota Biofuels Association has hired Brian Werner as its new executive director. For the past eight years, Werner has worked for Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., most recently as the deputy legislative director. He handled the portfolio for renewable energy, agriculture, trade, forestry, conservation, natural resources and public lands. 

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Valent U.S.A. has selected Dave Poling as vice president of marketing. He previously worked for BASF as manager of regional marketing at BASF’s Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. While with BASF, he held many positions including global segment team lead responsible for Europe, Asia, North and South America, and head of global marketing based in Limburgerhof, Germany.

Kerry Cebul has been tapped as the new chief executive officer of Ostara, a fertilizer and nutrient management company. He comes to Ostara from Grosvenor Food and AgTech, where he supported the firm’s expansion into the U.S. He was also a founding member of a sustainable farmland investment and management firm, SLM Partners.

CAROLINE SNELL.jpgCaroline Snell, Michael Torrey Associates The Department of Agriculture has appointed 14 members to serve on the Plant Variety Protection Board. The newly appointed members will serve two-year terms. Serving as the farmer representative is Brent Robertson of Nebraska. Appointed as a private or industry representative are: Audrey Charles, Illinois; Barry Nelson, Iowa; Heidi Nebel, Iowa; Paul Nelson, Missouri; Eloy Corona, North Carolina; Patricia Olosky, Pennsylvania; and Michelle Bos, Washington. Serving as a public or government representative will be: Jenny Koebernick, Alabama; Andrae McMillian, Alabama; Felicia Jefferson, Georgia; Peggy Ozias-Akins, Georgia; Shubo Zhou, Maryland; and Albert Tsui, New York.

Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., and two of her staffers, communications director Emma Thomson and district director Zach Potts, died last week in a car crash in Indiana. Walorski’s funeral will be held Aug. 11, at 11 a.m. ET at Granger Community Church in Granger, Indiana. A visitation will be held at the church Aug. 10, from noon to 7 p.m.

North Dakota native Maynard Duane Helgaas passed away on Aug. 2 of complications from Alzheimer’s disease. He attended North Dakota State University to play football and was a member of the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity. He graduated with a degree in agriculture economics in 1958 and began his career as a county extension agent, later purchasing a John Deere implement dealership. He grew the business to six John Deere dealerships, a New Holland dealership, a diesel service business, an agriculture supply and service company, an irrigation equipment company, and a leasing company. After 30 years in the family business, he retired in 1994 and spent the next six years as president of the Central Dakota Growers.

Correction: A previous version incorrectly stated DeShawn Blanding was joining the Senate Agriculture Committee. He is joining the House Agriculture Committee. We regret the error. 

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