Andrew Zacher is the new acting deputy chief of staff at the Food and Drug Administration. He’s been with FDA for more than eight years, most recently as a senior policy adviser in the Office of the Commissioner. Before joining the commissioner’s office, Zacher spent time in FDA’s Office of the Chief Counsel and as a regulatory official in the Office of Therapeutic Biologics and Biosimilars. He also has spent time detailed to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

Zacher succeeds Tristan Colonius, who left the role to become the chief veterinary officer and deputy director for science policy at FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. Colonius has been at FDA since 2017 and also spent time as a Senate staffer and as a supervisory public health veterinarian at USDA.

Heidi Kühn, founder and CEO of the humanitarian group Roots of Peace, has been named this year's World Food Prize laureate for her work to revitalize agriculture in war-torn areas. A California native, Kühn helped transform landmine-ridden fields in Afghanistan, Angola, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Croatia, Israel, Iraq, Palestinian areas and Vietnam. Her nonprofit has also begun removing mines in Ukraine.

The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology is giving its 2023 Borlaug CAST Communication Award to Alison Bentley, the director of the Global Wheat Program at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center. Bentley was recognized for her “rapid, science-led response” to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as well as the creation and leadership of the Women in Crop Science network.

Angela Records is joining the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research as its new chief scientific officer. Records brings more than 20 years of experience in plant pathology and comes from the U.S. Agency for International Development, where she was in charge of a team that determined the U.S. government’s approach to supporting food security research initiatives.

President Joe Biden has tapped Monica Bertagnolli to be the director of the National Institutes of Health. Bertagnolli is currently the director of the National Cancer Institute, the first woman to hold the position. In addition to her time in government, she is a surgeon and professor who grew up on a Wyoming ranch.

 Heidi-Kuhn-300.jpgHeidi Kühn, Roots of Peace The National Advisory Board for Biden’s reelection campaign, announced last week, includes 50 Democratic Party leaders, including many with ties to farm policy. The panel includes Senate Ag Committee members Cory Booker, D-N.J., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Raphael Warnock, D-Ga.; Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chair Tom Carper, D-Del.; House Ag Committee members Shontel Brown, D-Ohio, and Nikki Budzinski, D-Ill.; House Ag Appropriations Subcommittee member Lauren Underwood, D-Ill.; and former House Ag Committee members Ro Khanna, D-Calif, and Michelle Lujan Gresham, who is now the governor of New Mexico.

Patrick Bond‘s time on Capitol Hill is coming to a close. Bond has been the communications director for Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., since 2019 after coming from the office of former House Ag Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert Aderholt, R-Ala. Bond will be moving to New York at the end of the month. His last day in Lucas’s office is May 26.

The Congressional Western Caucus has added two new staffers. Josie McLaurin is a new policy advisor for the caucus focusing on agriculture, Endangered Species Act, forestry, public lands, and water issues. She was most recently a manager of government affairs for the USA Rice Federation. Adam Brown has also joined the caucus as a press assistant. He comes from the Republican National Committee, where he worked in the communications department. 

Nathan Bowen has been promoted to advocacy and public affairs vice president with the Irrigation Association. Bowen first joined IA in 2022 as its advocacy director after previous stops as a consulting partner at APTA Trade Partners and a 10-year stay at the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, where he was most recently the group’s executive director of public policy.

The American Feed Industry Association announced new titles for two of its staffers: Gina Tumbarello is now the group's senior director of global strategies, policy and trade and Mallory Gaines is now AFIA's director of market access and multilateral affairs. An AFIA release said the new titles “better reflect the depth and breadth of work they do for members on a global scale.”

The Torrey Advisory Group has added Olivia Lucanie to its team. Lucanie comes to the firm from the Prism Group, where she was a senior associate. TAG also promoted two members of its staff. Julie McClure has been elevated to vice president. McClure was most recently in a director role. Ashley Smith, formerly Ashley Willits, is now a director. She previously was a policy manager on staff.

The Sugar Association’s new head of communications is Stephanie Addison. She comes from the American Securities Association, where she was the vice president of public affairs. Addison’s career also includes stops at the Farm Credit Council, the National Association of Conservation Districts, and the House Ag Committee. She worked for the committee during deliberations on the 2018 farm bill.

Lynsee Gibbons has been hired at USApple as the new director of communications, effective May 23. She most recently worked at Golden Key Group, where she was the manager of corporate marketing and communications.

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Lisa Bryant is a new member of the team at the Red Angus Association of America. Bryant operated her own company, Cowboy Connection Designs, for nearly 25 years and has also worked in various marketing and business development roles for Oklahoma State University, the Chickasaw Nation and others.

Kianna Wilson has been chosen as the new industry relations manager for the FMC Corporation. She is currently a district sales manager for the company's Northeast region and also has experience in the company's fungicide product portfolio. She came to FMC from Corteva, which she joined at its inception as an employee of the former Dow AgroSciences.

Kianna-Wilson-FMC.jpegKianna Wilson, FMC Jim Burg has been selected to sit on the American Transportation Research Institute board of directors. With over 40 years of experience in the trucking industry, Burg serves as president of the James Burg Trucking Co., a flatbed carrier that operates over 90 trucks throughout the Midwest.

The Republican Governors Association has a new policy director. Stephanie Groen has joined RGA after a little more than eight years working for Iowa governors Terry Branstad and Kim Reynolds. She was most recently Reynolds’s deputy chief of staff.

Wisconsin native Mike Carter has been elected as the new board chairman of Potatoes USA. Bringing over 25 years of experience in the potato industry, Carter serves as the CEO and co-owner of Bushmans’ Inc. He succeeds Jason Davenport of Bakersfield, California, who will now serve as past chair.

Cassie Folk is the new director of government relations for the British alcoholic beverage company Diageo. Folk most recently operated her own firm in Washington and has also spent time in the policy shops of the Cannabis Trade Federation, Reynolds American Inc., and the National Confectioners Association.

Canadian packaged meats company Maple Leaf Foods has appointed Curtis Frank as its new president and CEO. Frank has been with the company for more than two decades and succeeds Michael McCain, who is stepping down after 25 years at the helm. McCain will continue to serve as the executive chair of the company’s board of directors.

Meristem Crop Performance, which calls itself one of the fastest-growing crop input companies in America, hired Chris Thrasher as its director of innovation and product management. Thrasher comes from Agrauxine, where he was the company’s North American director.

Aztalan Bio has hired Jeffrey Oestmann as its new CEO. The former head of biofuel operations at Syngenta has experience leading ethanol plants across the country and also spent nearly 20 years in various roles at Cargill earlier in his career. Aztalan is planning to restart its Wisconsin facility this fall and is trying to become just the second large grain processing plant with a dry front-end fractionation system; the other is Europe’s largest ethanol plant owned by the same parent company.

Andrew and Jordan Healey were married Saturday, May 13, in Hudsonville, Michigan. Andrew is a senior manager of legislative affairs for the National Propane Gas Association. Jordan is a director of leadership and organizational training for the American Farm Bureau Federation.

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