Xochitl Torres Small was sworn in as the USDA’s new deputy secretary Monday, a job she said is the next step in a “personal” relationship with the department that spans generations. Torres Small takes over as USDA’s deputy from Kevin Shea, the administrator of USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service who had also been serving as USDA’s deputy in an acting capacity since the departure of Jewel Bronaugh. Torres Small is the first Latina to be USDA's deputy secretary; Bronaugh was the first woman of color in the role.

Kevin McAdams.jpegKevin McAdams, Perdue Farms

Kevin McAdams has been tapped as the next CEO of Perdue Farms, succeeding Randy Day, who is retiring. McAdams most recently served as the COO of Perdue Farms and was also the president of Perdue Foods. McAdams has also held senior leadership roles with companies such as Red Bull North America, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo/Frito-Lay, Jack Links, Mizcan, Schwab’s Consumer Brands, and Pabst Brewing Company. Day has been with Perdue Farms for the last 43 years, six of which he served as CEO. 

The International Dairy Foods Association has promoted four staff members. Michelle Albee Matto is now the associate vice president of regulatory affairs and nutrition. She previously was the senior director of regulatory affairs and nutrition. Before joining IDFA, Matto worked for the Food Research and Action Center. Melissa Lembke has been promoted to associate vice president of programs and partnerships. She has previously held senior marketing and event services positions at nonprofit organizations and an international law firm. Donald Grady is now senior director of legislative affairs. He previously was the director of legislative affairs. Before joining IDFA, Grady was a legislative assistant for Rep. Jim Costa, D-Calif., handling the agriculture portfolio. Tyesha Wilson has been elevated to director of financial services. She joined IDFA in 2002 as an accounting assistant. 

Thomas Fay has been appointed as the director of the Farm Credit Administration’s Office of Secondary Market Oversight, which oversees the Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation, also known as Farmer Mac. He comes to FCA after working four years at Wells Fargo where he was the vice president for independent risk management. 

Clarice Turner has been selected as the next president and CEO of the Almond Board of California. Turner will replace Richard Waycott, who will step away from the helm at the end of 2023. He announced his departure in November 2022 and will begin transitioning the role to Turner when she begins in September. Turner most recently served as president of Napa Valley winery Joseph Phelps Vineyards. The California native has also held CEO and senior executive positions at Boudin Bakery, Starbucks Coffee Company, YUM! Brands, Papa Murphy’s International and PepsiCo. 

Lauren Lurkins has left the Illinois Farm Bureau, where she served as the director of environmental policy. She has started Lurkins Strategies, her own environmental policy consulting agency. Lurkins was with IFB for the last 10 years. Before that, she was an environmental attorney at Hodge Dwyer & Driver.

Certis Biologicals announced a new global structure and leadership to oversee the regional business units. Chris Judd has been selected as vice president for North America. Ryuataro Matsuhashi will be the vice president tapped to lead the Latin America region and oversee the Certis Biologicals Mexican and Brazilian entities. Lastly, Tarang Srivastava has been elevated to vice president overseeing the Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia regions.

Ruramiso Mashumba.JPGRuramiso Mashumba, Global Farmer NetworkCody Sargent has joined the Heritage Foundation as the new assistant director of media and public relations. Sargent previously worked on Capitol Hill as the press secretary for Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala.

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Patience Koku from Nigeria and Ruramiso Mashumba from Zimbabwe have taken on expanded roles of regional leads for Africa at the Global Farmer Network. Each regional lead helps communicate the issues impacting farmers in their region.

Lalit Verma will be retiring at the end of July from the University of Arkansas System’s Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering. He has served as department head for more than 23 years. 

Chris Derico has been selected as the 2023-2024 president of the School Nutrition Association. Derico will take on this position in addition to his job as the child nutrition director for Barbour County Schools in Philippi, West Virginia. 

Lisa Hamler-Fugitt has announced she is stepping down as the executive director of The Ohio Association of Foodbanks. She will be succeeded in the role by Joree Novotny, who has been with the organization for the last 13 years and previously served as the chief of staff. Hamler-Fugitt has served at the helm for over 20 years, she will stay on as executive director after a transition period has taken place to allow Novotny to settle into her new role. 

L.G. Raun, a rice farmer from El Campo, Texas was unanimously elected to serve as the new chair of the USA Rice Farmers Board of Directors, taking over from Mississippi’s Curtis Berry. Louisiana rice farmer Eric Unkel handed over leadership of the USA Rice Council Board of Directors to Josh Sheppard who farms near Richvale, California. The USA Rice Farmers Board also elected Louisiana rice farmer Fred Zaunbrecher as vice chair and California rice farmer Tom Butler to Sheppard’s vacated vice chair seat. Each new appointee will serve a two-year term that begins August 1, 2023.

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