Cecille Madriz.jpegCecille Madriz, Fall Creek Farm and Nursery

Steve Hawkins is moving to president and CEO of ADAMA, succeeding Ignacio Dominquez, who is retiring from the crop protection company. Hawkins currently serves as ADAMA’s senior vice president for the Americas. Before joining ADAMA, Hawkins held many senior leadership roles with Syngenta and GROWMARK. 

Fall Creek Farm and Nursery has promoted Cecille Madriz to grower support representative for customers in California and North Carolina, relocating to California’s Central Valley in the summer of 2023. She previously was the assistant production manager at the blueberry breeding and nursery company’s headquarters in Oregon. 

Rachelle Schulken has been brought on to the Organic Produce Network as the new vice president of events. She brings over 14 years of fresh produce industry experience, previously working as the marketing and sustainability manager for Calavo Growers.

The National Mango Board has selected Dan Spellman as the new director of marketing. He brings over 20 years of experience to the role, previously working in the online travel sector for companies like Alvaria, Worldhotels, AAA National, and Travelocity. 

USDA has promoted two and added one to senior staff positions at the Department. Jamal Habibi has been promoted to chief of staff for trade and foreign agricultural affairs. He most recently was the chief of staff for USDA’s Rural Housing Service. Russellie Bongolan has been elevated to White House liaison. She most recently was the deputy White House liaison and before that was the special assistant to the undersecretary for Research Education and Economics. Aliza Drewes has joined the USDA staff as the new senior adviser on energy for Rural Utilities Service. Drews most recently was the founder and executive director of the Rural Investment to Protect our Environment (RIPE).

Kathy Eichlin has been selected as the head of U.S. crop protection corporate communications for Syngenta North America. She has over 30 years of corporate communications and public relations experience and has worked at Syngenta for the last 15 years. She most recently was the head of internal communication for Syngenta North America and head of corporate business partnering. 

Dilma Rousseff, former president of Brazil, has been tapped as the new president of the China-based New Development Bank. Rousseff was president of Brazil from 2011 to 2016. Before that, she was the minister of mines and energy and minister chief of staff during President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s first two terms. The New Development Bank supports economic development in the BRICS nations, which include Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Dilma Rousseff.pngDilma Rousseff, New Development Bank

The National Pork Board has brought on Jamie Burr as the organization’s new chief sustainability officer. Burr previously worked at Tyson Foods where he was the director of environmental compliance and environmental lead for all of Tyson’s live-animal production businesses. 

Fred Clark has returned to Cornerstone Government Affairs as a senior consultant. Clark worked at Cornerstone from 2003 to 2013 and then moved to the Senate Agriculture Committee, where he was the chief counsel from 2017 to 2022. You can watch Clark’s Meet the Farm Hand interview to learn more about his career. 

Raúl García is the new vice president of policy and legislation for Earthjustice. García previously was the legislative director for healthy communities, where he worked on the organization’s federal safeguards for clean air, clean water, and against toxic exposure. He succeeds Marty Hayden, who is transitioning to a senior policy adviser role after 25 years with the organization. 

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American Farmland Trust has moved Nathan L’Etoile to be the national farm viability managing director. He previously was AFT’s New England regional director. Ethan Winter will now be AFT’s national smart solar director. He will set and implement AFT’s strategy for solar energy generation and farmland conservation. Winter previously was the northeast solar specialist.

Scott Hedderich has joined Nuseed as the North American policy and government affairs director. He previously worked at the Renewable Energy Group as the executive director of corporate affairs. 

Farm Credit and Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) have awarded 25 students as the 2023 Farm Credit VIP Scholars. The awardees each received “a $1,000 academic scholarship, the opportunity to participate in the Farm Credit VIP track of the 2023 National MANRRS Conference, and $1,500 in travel compensation to attend the MANRRS Conference,” according to the release.

The Hass Avocado Board has graduated another class of its Board Leadership Development (BOLD) program. The new class includes: Casey Evans Beltran, La Bonanza Avocados; Maureen Cottingham, Camlam Farms; Caitlin Cunha, Del Rey Avocado;  Hillary DeCarl, Del Rey Avocado; Elizabeth Flores, Mission Produce; Gwen Jackimek, Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A.; Osvaldo Magaña, Limoneira Company; Carlos Ignacio Valerio Medel, Fruitval S.A. de C.V.; Jeff Onstot, Westfalia Fruit Marketing USA; Jose Daniel Pardo, Westfalia Fruit Marketing USA; John Patrick, Eco Farms; and LeighAnne Thomsen, Calavo Growers.

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