Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., has announced she will not seek reelection in 2024. She will serve the remaining two years of her term, adding one more farm bill to her portfolio. She has served as the Ag Committee’s senior Democrat since 2011.

Debbie Stabenow 1Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. Rep. Jason Smith, R-Mo., has been selected to serve as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, which writes tax laws and oversees trade policy. Smith was selected by the GOP steering committee for the post, beating out Adrian Smith of Nebraska and Vern Buchanan of Florida.

Jamie Miller has stepped down as Cargill's chief financial officer to accept an opportunity outside the company. Joanne Knight has been tapped to replace Miller as Cargill’s acting CFO. Knight is currently the vice president of finance for Cargill’s agriculture supply chain enterprise. Before Cargill, Knight spent 10 years in finance, marketing, and business leadership roles at General Mills.

Bev Paul has left Gordley Associates to start her own company, Davenport Policy. In her career, Paul has worked the last 20 years with Gordley Associates; before that, she worked in the offices of former Senators Bob Kerrey, D-Neb., Tom Daschle, D-S.D., and Ben Nelson, D-Neb. To learn more about Paul, you can watch her Meet the Farm Hand interview.

The Pet Food Institute has named Nat Davies vice president of business operations and programs. Davies has been with PFI for nine years and most recently was the senior director of business operations and programs.

The National Grain and Feed Association has brought on Stephanie See as the vice president of legislative and public affairs. See brings over 18 years of lobbying experience to NGFA, previously working for the Association of Equipment Manufacturers as the senior director of state affairs.

Anna Killius has been selected as the new executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Commission. She succeeds Ann Swanson, who retired in November. Killius most recently served as the advocacy director for the James River Association in Virginia.

Joanne Knight .jpegJoanne Knight, Cargill Jace Hefner has joined the U.S. Grains Council in D.C., as the new manager of global trade. Before coming to the council, Hefner spent five years at Oracle Corporation, where he led political and diplomatic outreach.

Alex Noffsinger has been elevated to a professional staff member on the Democratic staff of the Senate Agriculture Committee. He previously was a policy analyst on the committee working on issues related to commodity programs, crop insurance, agricultural credit, livestock, animal health and welfare, trade, and labor.

Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., has announced staff appointments for the caucus. Noah Yantis will serve as the executive director after previously serving as a legislative director for the late Rep. Jim Hagedorn, R-Minn. Amanda Fitzmorris is the new communications director. She comes from Newhouse's personal office, where she was a communications director. Fitzmorris also worked in the Office of Research and Development at the EPA under Administrator Andrew Wheeler. Katie Devlin has been brought on as a senior policy adviser covering agriculture, ESA, federal lands, forestry, rural broadband, tribes, and water. She previously worked for Rep. Doug LaMalfa, R-Calif. Nicole Harrison has also been hired as a policy adviser covering the portfolio for energy, hydropower, mining, renewables, research and development, and permitting. She previously was a legislative assistant for Rep. Ron Estes, R-Kan., where she handled agriculture, natural resources and Social Security issues.

Will Layden has been hired as the new vice president of government affairs for the American Wood Council. He previously worked on the House Committee on Natural Resources, where he was the deputy staff director.

Sam Harris has moved to United Natural Foods, where he is the government and public affairs manager. He previously worked in Rep. Jimmy Panetta’s, D-Calif., office as the agriculture legislative assistant.

Anna Brightwell has joined the staff at Sen. John Thune’s, R-S.D., office as the new digital director. She was previously the digital director for Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., and before that was a staff assistant for Rep. Glenn "GT" Thompson, R-Pa., on the House Agriculture Committee.

Candace Bergesch now works at Bill and Melinda Gates Agricultural Innovations as a communications officer. She previously worked at the International Poultry Welfare Alliance as director of communications. Before that, she worked for the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Poultry and Eggs.

Hunter Lovell has moved to the office of Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., as the new communications director. He previously was the state press secretary for Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La.

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association has brought on Jared Palmer as its new communications manager. Palmer recently graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in communication studies and public relations.

Interested in more coverage and insights? Receive a free month of Agri-Pulse by clicking on our link!   

T.J. Lowdermilk has left the House Appropriations Committee, where he served as a professional staff member, to work for Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., on the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Subcommittee. He had been with the committee since 2019.

Chad Parker, deputy administrator of community programs at USDA Rural Development, has retired. Parker has been with USDA since 1991, when he began work as an economic development specialist for the Rural Electrification Administration. He started at RD in 1995. 

The Pet Food Institute has selected new officers to serve on its 2023 board. Leading the board as chair is Nina Leigh Krueger, who serves as the Nestlé Purina PetCare North America President and CEO. Scott Salmon, president of Simmons Pet Food Inc., has been tapped as vice chair; Nicki Baty, president of Hill’s Pet Nutrition U.S., as secretary; Rod Troni, global chief marketing officer of Champion Petfoods, is treasurer; and Scott Morris, president and CEO of Freshpet, is the new personnel officer.

Soiltech Wireless, a company in remote crop monitoring and traceability, has appointed Shane Thomas to its board of directors. Thomas began his career as an agronomist and currently serves as the vice president of strategy at AgVend.

Tad Davis passed away on Dec. 28 at the age of 84. A U.S. Army veteran, he became an attorney in the chief counsel's office of the Internal Revenue Service. It was there that he became an expert in the taxation of life insurance and companies. This experience allowed him to gain insight into legislative and regulatory issues in the area of tax, financial markets, and agricultural policy, becoming a longtime outside counsel to the Chicago Board of Trade. He also had a passion for the horse industry, becoming the author of the Horse Owners and Breeders Tax Handbook. 

A previous version of this story had Katie Devlin listed as a policy adviser. It has been updated to reflect she is a senior policy adviser. 

For more news, go to