Laura Himes has moved up to vice president of sourcing—fresh at Walmart Inc. She began working for Walmart in 2013 and most recently was the director for produce merchandising.

The Canadian Produce Marketing Association’s new chair is Colin Chapdelaine. A 25-year industry veteran, Chapdelaine heads up berry operations at Star Produce. He’s been on CPMA’s board since 2015 and previously served from 2007-2012.

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.

 Heidi-Kuhn-300.jpgHeidi Kühn, Roots of Peace

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.

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.

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. 

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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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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