Justin Kosta.jpegJustin Kosta, California Giant Berry FarmsJustin Kosta has been tapped as the new director of sustainability for California Giant Berry Farms. He most recently worked at Foster Poultry Farms, where he was the director of environmental affairs and sustainability.

Valent U.S.A. has named Kenneth Seebold as the director of field research and development. He will replace Mike Riffle, who announced his plan to retire at the end of June, after more than 35 years with the company. Seebold joined Valent in 2014 and most recently served as the manager of seed protection research and development. 

Trout Unlimited has brought on Lindsay Slater as the new vice president of government affairs and elevated David Kinney to be the new vice president of communications. Slater had worked on Capitol Hill since 1997 and was the chief of staff for 23 years under Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho. For the past five years, Slater led Rep. Simpson’s Columbia Basin Initiative, which would remove the four lower Snake River dams to allow populations of wild salmon to spawn. He succeeds Steve Moyer, who retired after 30 years with the organization. 

Alejandra Danielson Castillo has been named the new director of global programs in the U.S. Grains Council’s Washington office. Castillo most recently was the director for the India office, based in New Delhi. Before that, she spent three years in Singapore, where she was the regional director for South Asia.

Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., has added Trey Forsyth and Kate Covington to the minority staff of the Senate Ag Committee. Forsyth will be a professional staff member handling the portfolio for livestock, poultry, dairy, food safety, and tax issues. He most recently worked for Land O’Lakes, where he was the senior manager of federal government and industry affairs. Before that, he worked at Torrey Advisory Group and was a policy adviser to then-Chief Agriculture Negotiator Gregg Doud at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Covington has moved over to the committee as a legislative aide assisting with the portfolio of nutrition, international hunger, trade, specialty crops, organics, and research. She previously worked in Boozman’s personal office, where she was the correspondence manager. She also handled the agriculture mail. 

Kelsey Holt has joined the majority staff of the House Ag Committee as the new press secretary for Chairman Glenn Thompson, R-Pa. She previously worked for Rep. Ron Estes, R-Kan., as his press secretary. 

Kelsey Holt .jpegKelsey Holt, House Ag Committee Majority Staff

Clayton Smith has become a legislative assistant in the office of Rep. David Valadao, R-Calif., office. Smith handles the portfolio for agriculture and food, appropriations, energy, environmental protection, foreign trade, public lands, natural resources, and telecommunications. He previously was Valadao’s field representative. 

Jess McCarron has been elevated to executive vice president of strategic communications at The Signal Group. McCarron is a former aide to the Senate Ag Committee and served as deputy press secretary at USDA during the Obama administration. She has been with The Signal Group since May 2021 and most recently was vice president. 

Jean Merry has been selected as the new executive director of the American Society of Agricultural Consultants. Merry is the vice president of Countryside Marketing Inc., an association management, marketing, and PR firm that she and her husband established in 1994. 

Jan-Hendrik Mohr has been tapped as the new CEO of CLAAS, a global ag machinery manufacturer. He succeeds Thomas Böck, who has decided to step down as CEO of the CLAAS Group to pursue new endeavors. Mohr has been with CLAAS since 1984. He most recently was the lead of the Grain Harvest Division, which he will continue to lead in a personal capacity. Böck was with CLAAS for 16 years, serving the last four as CEO. 

Steve Hawkins has been tapped as the new president and CEO of ADAMA, a global crop protection company, effective May 1. Hawkins currently serves as ADAMA’s senior vice president of Americas. He will succeed Ignacio Dominguez, who has he will retire.  

Antoon van den Berg has decided to step down from his position as CEO and chairman of the executive committee of Hendrix Genetics. Last year, Hendrix Genetics announced Richard Maatman would succeed van den Berg as CEO in the course of 2023 after a transition period. Antoon will remain an actively involved shareholder of the company.

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Fifteen new members and five returning ones have been appointed to USDA’s National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection. Members are selected to serve on the committee based on expertise in meat and poultry safety, public health, and other Food Safety and Inspection Service policies. New members serving two year terms include Mary Anne Amalaradjou, University of Connecticut; Sharon Birkett, OSI Group; Dianna Viola Bourassa, Auburn University; Byron D. Chaves, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Vanessa Coffman, Alliance to Stop Foodborne Illness; James Richard Dillon, state of Texas; Scott Lee Filbrandt, Bob’s Processing Inc.; James Harbey Hollis, South Carolina Meat-Poultry Inspection Department; James Kincheloe, Center for Science in the Public Interest; Paul Steven Kuber, Washington State University; Anastacia Marie Larkin, Cougle Commission Co.; Ali Mohseni-Motlagh, American Foods Group; Patrick Robinette, Micro Summit Processors; James Rogers, food safety research and testing, Consumer Reports; and Desiree Claire Ann Wineland, American Butchers and Beyond the Butchers. Returning members are: William Battle, Magnolia Processing Inc. DBA Pride of The Pond; Casey Lynn Gallimore, North American Meat Institute; Joseph Harris, Southwest Meat Association; Teresa Schwartz, retired law professor; and Byron Williams, Mississippi State University.

Kimberlee J. (KJ) Burrington has been elected as vice chairperson of the United States National Committee of the International Dairy Federation. Christopher Thompson was selected to serve as treasurer. Burrington is the vice president of technical development at the American Dairy Products Institute. Thompson serves as the international standards director with USDA. The following were elected to the US-IDF Board: Rob Byrne, Dairy Farmers of America; Steve Holmes, Charm Sciences; and Michelle Braun, Agropur.

Alfred “Al” Scheid of Scheid Family Wines passed away on March 31. He was 91. After graduating from Harvard, Scheid bought farm ground in Monterey County California and began operating Monterey Farming Corporation, a partnership that sold bulk wine to large wineries. He later bought out the original limited partners and acquired an additional vineyard thus creating Scheid Family Wines, which has grown from a grape grower to a wine company. Scheid was a founding member of the California Association of Winegrape Growers.