Church Brothers has elevated Vicente Alvarez to senior harvest manager and brought on Frank Goldner as its new director of grower operations, based in the Baja Coast and San Luis Rio Colorado areas. Alvarez has been with Church Brothers for the last 10 years, working in production analyst and production harvest accountant roles. Goldner brings 40 years of experience in the fresh produce industry to his new role, previously working for Mann Packing and Tanimura & Antle in operations and general manager roles. 

Mickey Davis.jpgMickey Davis, Colorado Department of Agriculture

John Walt Boatright has joined the American Farm Bureau Federation as the new director of government relations focusing on farm labor, pesticides and specialty crop issues. He comes to AFBF from the Florida Farm Bureau Federation, where he was the director of national affairs.

The Colorado Department of Agriculture has hired Mickey Davis as the new lead of the newly established Community Food Access Program in CDA’s Markets Division. In this role, she will oversee the creation of the program and aim to improve availability and affordability of healthy food in communities across Colorado that struggle with food access. Davis previously worked as the food access specialist at Boulder County Farmers Markets, managing healthy food incentive programs.

West Pak Avocado has hired Jennifer Zendejas as the director of sales and business development. Bringing over 15 years of experience to the position, Zendejas previously worked at CMC Sales and Marketing as the director of fresh. She has also worked for FreshSource and Daymon Worldwide. 

Dave Flitman has been tapped as the new chief executive officer and member of the board at US Foods. He most recently served as the president and CEO at Builders FirstSource, the largest U.S. supplier of building products. Before that, he was president and CEO of Performance Foodservice.Richard WaycottRichard Waycott, Almond Board of California

Beth Breeding is joining Boehringer Ingelheim as the associate director of public relations and communications for livestock, equine, and agriculture. She was previously with the National Turkey Federation as the vice president of communications and marketing. 

Marissa Dake now serves as the vice president of brand and people for DNO Produce. She first joined the organization a year ago as the director of communications and public affairs. Before that, Dake served as director of Operation Food Secure, a hunger relief initiative sourced by USDA's Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. She has also worked for Michael Torrey Associates, now known as Torrey Advisory Group. 

After 21 years, Richard Waycott has announced he will step down as president and CEO of the Almond Board of California at the end of 2023 to pursue other interests. Before coming to the board, Waycott worked more than 20 years in the food manufacturing and agribusiness industries, mostly in Latin America. A search committee has been formed to ensure a smooth transition.

Thomas Birmingham, general manager of Westlands Water District, has announced he will step down from the helm at the end of the year. He has served in this capacity for the last 22 years. During his tenure, he has worked on the 2009 California Bay-Delta Reform Act, the CALFED authorizing legislation, the San Joaquin River settlement and restoration program, and the federal Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act. 

Lindiwe Majele Sibanda .jpgLindiwe Majele Sibanda, CGIAR

The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) has added Venkata Kishore to its board of directors. He serves as the vice president and head of smallholders and sustainability of vegetable seeds at Bayer. 

Marco Ferroni has announced his decision to step down at the end of the year as board chair of the CGIAR System, a global agricultural innovation network. He has served as board chair for the last five years. CGIAR has tapped current board member Lindiwe Majele Sibanda as the next chair beginning in January. Sibanda serves as the director and chairwoman of African Research Universities Alliance Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Food Systems at the University of Pretoria in South Africa.

Margaret Duckhorn, the woman who helped establish Merlot as one of North America’s most popular wines, died on Nov. 26. She was 83. Founder of Duckhorn Vineyards, Duckhorn and her husband, Dan, helped make the Merlot grape a stand-alone wine in 1978. In the 1970s, many Napa Valley wineries were using Merlot as a blending grape. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Napa Valley Community Foundation.

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