Judith McMeekin has announced plans to retire from the Food and Drug Administration on June 30. McMeekin, the associate commissioner for regulatory affairs, is the third top FDA official to leave this year. Former deputy commissioner for food policy and response Frank Yiannas left in January and Director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Susan Mayne announced she will leave at the end of May. Carol Cave, deputy associate commissioner, will serve in the acting capacity when McMeekin retires. McMeekin has worked at the FDA for 15 years and began her tenure in the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Office of Compliance.
Frank Yiannas has been selected to sit on Chipotle’s Food Safety Advisory Council. Yiannas served under two administrations as the deputy commissioner for food policy and response at the FDA, a position he held from 2018 to 2023. Before that, he spent 30 years in leadership roles with Walmart and the Walt Disney Company.
Kate Huskin has been promoted to vice president of communications and public relations at the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. She previously was the senior communications director.
Jason Henderson has been selected as the new vice president of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. He comes from Purdue University, where he was the senior associate dean for faculty development and director of extension.
Eric Bohl has been brought on to The Bockorny Group as a principal leading the company’s agriculture practice. He most recently worked at the Missouri Farm Bureau where he was the director of public affairs and advocacy. He was also the chief of staff for Rep. Jason Smith, R-Mo., and former Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo.
Sam Wojcicki has left the office of Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., where he was the legislative director covering the portfolio for agriculture, farm bill, conservation, transportation, infrastructure, broadband, environment, and climate. He has taken on the role of senior director of climate policy at the National Audubon Society.
Jennifer Heins has been elevated to Sen. Chuck Grassley’s, R-Iowa, chief of staff. She has been in the senator’s office since 2011 and previously served as the director of scheduling and senior adviser.
Sarah Sarbacker has been hired as the director of communications and marketing for FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative. She previously worked at Boviteq, a bovine IVF company, and a division of Semex, where she served as the client service supervisor for North America.
Carena Miles has joined the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition as an operations manager. She most recently was a volunteer and education coordinator at Shalom Farms. Before that, she was a healthy food access coordinator for the City of Jersey City in New Jersey.
The Department of Agriculture has appointed five members to serve on the National Pork Board. Those members include Al Wulfekuhle, Iowa; Gordon Dale Spronk, Minnesota; Morgan Wonderly, California; Santiago Vazquez, North Carolina; and Stewart Leeth, Richmond, Va.
Megan Wheeler joined Vive Crop Protection as Chief of Staff. A member of the executive team, she will partner closely with CEO Dr. Darren Anderson on key initiatives such as M&A, fundraising, and effective scaling. She has over 17 years of marketing and operational experience in tech across multiple disciplines, including real estate, pharmaceutical, custom software development, finance, and digital accessibility.
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U.S. Farmers & Ranchers in Action (USFRA) announced the organization and CEO Erin Fitzgerald have agreed to an amicable parting of ways to pursue new opportunities. “The USFRA Board of Directors appreciates the contributions Erin made to USFRA during her nearly 5-year tenure as CEO,” said USFRA Board Chair Marilyn Hershey, Dairy Management Inc. chair. As the Board undertakes the process to identify the next CEO, a group of USFRA staff members will lead day-to-day operations of the organization in concert with the Executive Committee.
Farm Journal announced that Prescott Shibles has joined the company as CEO. He takes over from Andy Weber who retires after 23 years as CEO and becomes vice chairman of Farm Journal’s board of directors. Prior to coming to Farm Journal, Prescott was executive vice president of Randall Reilly’s Asset Intelligence Division, including its agriculture products, and he previously served as chief marketing officer of Advantage Media, CEO of Vital Business Media and vice president of New Media at PRISM/Penton (Informa). He began his career in the early days of the Internet at About.com (Dotdash Meredith).
Donald K. Hanes, who headed public relations efforts of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) for 25 years, died April 13 at an assisted living facility in Taneytown, Maryland, of congestive heart failure. Hanes was in charge of NCFC communications and member relations from 1971 until he retired as vice president in 1996. During his career, he was an active leader in the Agricultural Relations Council, Cooperative Communicators Association, Advertising Council of Cooperatives, and the National Planning Committee for Co-op Month. After retirement, he chaired both the board of Greenbelt Cooperative in Maryland and the Maryland Cooperative Law Coalition, which led efforts to enact a consumer co-op law in Maryland in 1986. He also served on the board of the Cooperative Development Foundation.
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