Braga Fresh has promoted Colby Pereira to chief operating officer. Pereira joined Braga Fresh in 2020 as vice president of operations. She is the current board president of the Monterey County Farm Bureau in California and is a board member of the Grower Shipper Association of Central California.

Colby PereiraColby Pereira, Braga Fresh

Jesús Valencia is the new regional director of agronomy for Corbet Scientific, supporting California clients with Corbet’s new products that were recently approved for sale and use in the state. Valencia most recently was the Western sales agronomist manager for NutriAg USA.

Keith Jones has joined the staff at Cornerstone Government Affairs as a senior consultant. Jones previously ran his own agricultural and environmental consulting firm, Twin Mountain Partners. Before that, he spent 14 years working on the House Ag Committee for former Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., where he was a senior professional staff member. He has worked on the last three farm bills and helped develop the Pesticide Registration Improvement Acts of 2008, 2012 and 2019, the Food Safety Modernization Act and the Bioengineered Food Disclosure Act.

President Joe Biden has resubmitted nominations to the Senate for Margo Schlanger to serve as USDA’s assistant secretary for civil rights and Stacy Dean to serve as undersecretary for food, nutrition, and consumer services. Schlanger and Dean were both nominated in the previous Congress, but were not confirmed.

The Department of Agriculture has added three new individuals to senior staff positions. Coming to USDA from the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services is Shavana Howard, who will be a senior adviser in the Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services mission area. Rebecca Kaufman has been added to the staff in the Office of External Affairs for Rural Development, where she will be a senior adviser. Kaufman previously worked at AgLaunch, an ag innovation company, where she was the senior director. Wesley Swanzy is the new chief of staff to the chief financial officer. Swanzy previously worked as a business risk manager for UBS Financial Services. A major in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, Swanzy has served as an Air Force finance officer, where he managed appropriation accounts at Headquarters Air Force, Major Command.

Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture Blayne Arthur has been elected to serve as the new vice president of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture. She succeeds Bruce Kettler in the leadership position. Kettler served as the Indiana Secretary of Agriculture and announced he would step down to become the president and CEO of the Agribusiness Council of Indiana. Arthur previously led NASDA’s Animal Agriculture Committee as chairwoman. Her vice chair, Tennessee Commissioner of Ag Charlie Hatcher, will serve as chair of the committee. 

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Board of Trustees and CGIAR have appointed Simeon Ehui as the new director general for IITA and regional director for Continental Africa for CGIAR. He brings over 30 years of experience in agriculture and sustainable development, including as regional director for sustainable development at the World Bank.

Appolinaire Djikeng has been selected as the new director general of the International Livestock Research Institute and the senior director of livestock-based systems for CGIAR. He joins ILRI and CGIAR from the University of Edinburgh, where he is a professor and chair of tropical agriculture and sustainable development. He also serves as the director of the Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health.

Simeon EhuiSimeon Ehui, IITA and CGIAR

Scott Partridge has launched Partridge LLC to help clients with litigation strategy and counsel. He most recently served as the general counsel of Bayer US.

CoBank has tapped Jason Lueders as the bank's new Farm Credit leasing president. For the last 15 years, Lueders has led CoBank's Minneapolis and Fargo Banking Centers, while also leading CoBank's Coop Start initiative that targets small and emerging cooperatives across the country. 

Tyllor Ledford has been elevated to market analyst at the U.S. Wheat Associates. She previously was the assistant director of USW's West Coast office in Portland, Ore. Before joining USW, Ledford completed her bachelor’s and master's degrees in agricultural and applied economics from Texas Tech University.

Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo has tapped J.J. Goicoechea as the next director of the state's Department of Agriculture. Goicoechea was NDA's state veterinarian from 2016-2019 and has practiced veterinary medicine for more than 20 years. He's also a veteran of several National Cattlemen's Beef Association and Public Lands Council leadership positions.

AOAC INTERNATIONAL has named Kate Mastovska as the new deputy executive director and chief science officer and announced promotions for both Dawn Frazier and Deborah McKenzie. Mastovska most recently served as a chief scientific officer of Eurofins USA's Food Division. She will begin in her new role at the end of January. Her research experience includes working at the University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague and at USDA, as well as founding her own consulting business, Excellcon International. Frazier has been promoted to deputy executive director of engagement. She previously was the senior director of membership, marketing, and communications. McKenzie has been elevated to the new role of deputy assistant executive director and chief standards officer. She was the senior director of standards and official methods.

The Republican staff on the Senate Ag Committee has brought on two new staffers. Jackie Barber joins the committee as chief counsel. Barber has previous experience working as the chief counsel and deputy staff director for the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration. She was also the chief counsel for the House Committee on Agriculture, where she worked on the 2018 farm bill. Bryce McWilliams has been named staff assistant, moving over from Sen. John Boozman’s, R-Ark., personal staff. He joined Boozman’s office last year after earning his bachelor’s degree in agricultural education, communications and technology, and poultry science from the University of Arkansas.

Jamie Johansson has been re-elected to serve on the executive board of the American Farm Bureau Federation. Johansson is the California Farm Bureau president and will hold one of the six seats on the executive committee, representing 13 western states. 

Jim Collins Jr., has been added to Vestaron’s board of directors as the new chair. Bringing more than 30 years of experience in the food and agriculture space, Collins previously worked at Corteva as the CEO and oversaw the merger between Dow AgroSciences and DuPont.

Twenty people have been named to the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, which will help shape the 2025-2030 edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The new members are: Steven Abrams, Cheryl Anderson, Aline Andres, Sarah Booth, Carol Byrd-Bredbenner, Heather Eicher-Miller, Teresa Fung, Edward Giovannucci, Valarie Blue Bird Jernigan, Cristina Palacios, Fatima Cody Stanford, Christopher Taylor, Andrea Deierlein, Jennifer Orlet Fisher, Christopher Gardner, Deanna Hoelscher, Angela Odoms-Young, Hollie Raynor, Sameera Talegawkar, and Deirdre Tobias

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The International Dairy Foods Association has selected new members to serve on the organization’s executive council. Patricia Stroup will lead the board as chair. She serves as the senior vice president and chief procurement officer of Nestlé S.A. and CEO of Nestrade S.A. The new vice chair is Mike Durkin, president, and CEO of Leprino Foods Company. Terry Brockman, chief business officer of Saputo Dairy Division USA, is the new secretary, and David Nelsen, group vice president of manufacturing for Albertsons Companies, is the new treasurer. The immediate past chair is David Ahlem, CEO and president of Hilmar Cheese Company.

The North American Blueberry Council has elected a new slate of officers to serve on its board of directors. Pat Goin of Goin’s Blueberry Lane in Indiana has been tapped as the new president. Goin served as vice chair of the board and chair of the NABC’s government affairs committee. She was also the chair of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council’s Good Practices Committee. Teddy Koukoulis, Fabulous Farms, is the new chair-elect, Ellie Norris of Norris Farms is the new secretary, Art Galletta with the Atlantic Blueberry Co. is the new treasurer, and Ken Patterson with Island Grove is the new past chair.

Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative has reelected Brody Stapel to serve as president. Michael Crinion of Minnesota, Heidi Fischer of Wisconsin, and Josh Meissner of Wisconsin were all tapped to continue to serve on the board of directors.

Members of the Transportation, Elevator and Grain Merchants Association have elected Wyatt Brummer, vice president-western rail grains for The Scoular Company, as chairman. Other officers include Greg Beck, senior vice president of the grain division for CGB Enterprises, as first vice chairman and Aaron Reid, chief operating officer of J.D. Heiskell and Company, as second vice chairman.

A pair of Capitol Hill aggies are getting hitched. Aaron Weber and Rosy Brummette announced their engagement over the weekend. Both handle ag issues for their bosses on Capitol Hill; Weber is a legislative assistant for Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Brummette is a policy adviser for Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo.

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