The Department of Agriculture has brought on Penny Brown Reynolds to be the new deputy assistant secretary for management and operations in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights. She previously served as the executive counsel to Georgia’s governor and was the chief of staff and executive counsel to Georgia’s lieutenant governor. 

USDA has also promoted Riya Mehta to chief of staff for the Farm Service Agency, and Russellie Bongolan to deputy White House liaison in the Office of the Secretary. Mehta most recently served as policy adviser for the Farm Service Agency since November 2021. Bongolan previously served as the special assistant to the under secretary for research, education, and economics. 

Jason WellerJason Weller, JBS

Jason Weller has joined JBS as the company’s first global chief sustainability officer. Weller, a past chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, will oversee ESG and sustainability strategies for JBS Global. He comes to the JBS executive team from Truterra, a subsidiary of Land O’Lakes, where he served as vice president. At Truterra, Weller helped established the company’s carbon credit program and led efforts to help farmers participate in market-based opportunities for sustainability practices.

Bobby Frederick has moved to Cargill as the new director of federal government relations, leading the company’s farm bill priorities and biofuels policy. He previously worked for the National Grain and Feed Association as the senior vice president of legislative affairs and public policy. Frederick starts his new role on October 3.

Awe Sum Organics has brought on Jared Bray and Jenna Galise to the sales and marketing team to assist in the company’s rollout of organic avocados. Bray will help the organic avocado fruit sales department and Galise will work in the organic fruit sales and marketing division. Bray previously worked for West Pak Avocados in the sales department and Galise most recently worked at LGS Specialty Sales. 

SriRaj Kantamneni is the new senior vice president of information services and the chief information and digital officer for Schreiber Foods. He succeeds Tom Andreoli, who retired earlier this month after 24 years with the company. Kantamneni brings more than 20 years of leadership in data and digital technologies, supply chain, and production. He joins Schreiber from Cargill, where he most recently served as managing director of digital insights in Cargill's Animal Nutrition and Health business, based in Minneapolis. 

Clean Fuels Alliance America has appointed Jonathan Martin as the organization’s first director of economic and market analytics. Martin brings 10 years of experience to the position, previously working as an economist for Marathon Petroleum Co.

Mandy Gunasekara is joining The Heritage Foundation as a visiting fellow with the newly created Center for Energy, Climate, and Environment. Gunasekara’s previous experience includes serving as a chief of staff of the Environmental Protection Agency during the Trump administration. Before that, Gunasekara was the principal deputy assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation.

Anne Keys is the new senior director for Elanco Animal Health’s government affairs team. Keys brings experience working for Congress and USDA to the role, serving on the House Agriculture Committee, and serving in a variety of leadership roles at USDA including the deputy undersecretary of natural resources and environment. Keys has also worked for the Environmental Working Group, Pfizer Animal Health, and Zoetis. 

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Season Solorio has also joined Elanco Animal Health as the senior director of external communications. She previously worked at the National Pork Board as the assistant vice president of public relations and also spent time during her career with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

Jacqlyn Schneider.jpegJacqlyn Schneider, Senate Ag Committee

Robbie Minnich has been tapped as the National Cotton Council’s new lead for Washington operations. He previously served the last 19 years as NCC’s senior government relations representative. 

Senate Ag Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., announced at a hearing last week the departures of two staff members and thanked them for their service. Jacqlyn Schneider and Patrick Delaney are both leaving to pursue new opportunities. Schneider has been with Stabenow since 2011 and served as her deputy staff director and policy director. Delaney joined Stabenow’s staff in January 2021 as the external affairs director. He previously served as the communications director for former House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn. and also worked for the American Soybean Association and the United Fresh Produce Association.

Rebekah Solem has joined the office of Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., as a senior adviser. Solem previously served as the chief of staff to former Rep. Filemón Vela, D-Texas. Before that, she was a senior policy adviser to former Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and also served on the House Agriculture Committee as Peterson’s scheduling director. 

Andi Jordon has come to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee as a staff assistant for Sen. Joe Manchin D-W.V. Jordon previously served as a legislative intern in Manchin’s personal office. 

Susan Mantey has been elevated to global crop protection biologicals and business development communications leader for Corteva Agriscience. Mantey joined Dupont Pioneer, now Corteva Agriscience, in 2015 and has held various communication leadership roles.