President Joe Biden plans to nominate Paul Martin as the inspector general of the United States Agency for International Development. He has served as inspector general for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration since 2009. In 2020, Martin was selected to serve as vice chairman of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee created by the CARES Act. In this position, Martin oversaw $5 trillion in federal pandemic relief spending.

 Paul Martin.jpgUSAID IG pick Paul Martin

The Department of Agriculture has made several senior staff changes, including one addition to its political team. Samuel Marquez has been selected as the new deputy chief of staff of USDA's Rural Housing Service. He previously was the deputy chief of staff and special assistant to the assistant secretary at the Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration. Before that, he worked at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund. Valerie McMakin has been tapped as the chief of staff for the Office of Congressional Relations. She previously served as a legislative adviser in that department. Lesley Cunningham now serves as a special adviser in the Office of the Secretary. Cunningham has been with the Office of the Secretary since 2021 and in this new role will function as the director of operations for both the Office of the Secretary and the Office of the Deputy Secretary. Hunter Henderson has been moved over to the White House Liaison Office as the deputy White House liaison. Henderson previously served as the special assistant for the Farm Service Agency.

Peggy Browne is leaving CropLife America where she was the vice president of government relations. In an email farewell, Browne said “due to family matters, it is now [time] to embark on a new chapter.” She will remain on board at CropLife during a transition period until a replacement has been selected. 

Carrie Carroll has joined Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative as the new director of climate-smart. She had been at the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute since 2014, most recently as the sustainability strategy leader. Edge also promoted Jamie Fisher to senior project manager for the cooperative’s climate-smart project. She previously was a project manager organizing farmer-led watershed conservation groups with Edge’s sister organization, Farmers for Sustainable Food.

carrie carroll.pngCarrie Carroll, Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative

Mercury, a public strategy firm, has added Toi Hutchinson and Zach Koutsky to its Illinois team led by former Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill. Hutchinson previously served as president and CEO of the Marijuana Policy Project. She also served as an Illinois state senator from 2009 to 2019. Koutsky founded Berteau Consulting, a boutique government relations and political consulting firm based in Chicago.

Kraft Heinz Co. has added three new people to its North American leadership team. Helen Davis is now the senior vice president and head of North America operations. She brings over 25 years to the role and previously worked at Unilever, where she was the head of supply chain North America beauty, well-being, and personal care. Rebecca Dunphey has been hired as the new senior vice president and president of fresh, beverages and desserts. She previously was group president of the care and connection division at The Clorox Co. Simon Laroche has moved to senior vice president and president of Canada and North American Coffee. He has been with Kraft Heinz for more than four years and was most recently president of Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Japan.

The American Bakers’ Association has selected Keri Ann Hayes to lead its political action committee. She serves as the director of PAC and campaign resources services at Husch Blackwell Strategies.

Andrew Vlasaty has joined bp as the senior federal government affairs manager. He previously worked at FGS Global as the director of government relations. Before that, he worked for former Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., as a policy adviser. 

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Steve Tatum is the new associate director of corporate communications at Valent USA. He previously was at Kaiser Permanente as the IT communications manager. 

Monica Thornburg has joined the Missouri Beef Industry Council as the new manager of industry relations. She graduated from Northwest Missouri State University with a degree in agricultural science. She later worked on a ranch in Delta Junction, Alaska, and also started her own agricultural marketing business, called Agriculture for All Communication.

Monica Thornburg .jpgMonica Thornburg, Missouri Beef Industry Council

Brent Boydston is the new chairman of the U.S. Grains Council’s board of directors. Boydston works at Bayer Crop Science as the corn, cereal grains, digital agriculture and carbon lead. Before joining Bayer, the Kansas native worked at the Colorado Farm Bureau as the vice president of public policy, and he spent more than seven years working on Capitol Hill. Verity Ulibarri of the United Sorghum Checkoff Program was chosen as vice chairwoman and Mark Wilson of the Illinois Corn Marketing Board was elected secretary-treasurer. Jim Reed of the Illinois Corn Marketing Board and Jim O’Connor of the Minnesota Corn Research and Promotion Council were also elected as at-large directors.

The Illinois Soybean Board elected new leadership during its annual meeting. Ron Kindred was selected as chairman after serving as vice chairman for the previous two years. He previously served as a director of the Illinois Soybean Association, a position he was in for 13 years. Brad Daugherty was elected as the new vice chairman, Tim Scates as secretary, Bryan Severs as treasurer, and Dwayne Anderson as assistant secretary-treasurer.

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