Republican Rep. Vince Fong was sworn in Monday to fill the seat of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Fong won a special election in May to represent California’s 20th congressional district, including parts of Fresno, Tulare, Kern and Kings counties in the Central Valley. The district accounts for 9% of California’s annual agriculture sales and ranks 24th of all congressional districts in the value of agricultural products sold, according to 2022 Ag Census data published by the National Agricultural Statistics Service

AP_MAY_2024_VINCE_FONG_1.jpgVince Fong (CA-20)
AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

Derek Neilson, head of the agriculture division at Case New Holland Industrial, has left the company to "pursue entrepreneurial projects outside of the sector,” according to a news release. Neilson has been with CNH for more than 25 years. His successor has not been announced. 

Jayce Jimenez, a law degree candidate at Harvard Law, has joined the House Agriculture Committee minority staff as a legal fellow. He previously worked as a student attorney at the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic, legal intern at the Clean Air Task Force and as an honors intern at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 

Syngenta Crop Protection has tapped Riley Titus to serve as state affairs lead. He will oversee states in the western Corn Belt, mid-South and mid-Atlantic regions. Titus joins the company after most recently serving eight years at CropLife America as director of state government relations. He has held previous roles at RISE and the International Franchise Association. 

Ryan Donnelly has joined Dow as a public policy and issues leader. Previously, Donnelly spent seven years in the office of Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., most recently as a legislative assistant supporting the agriculture, conservation, sustainability, rural development and trade portfolio. 

USDA has named three individuals to fill senior staff positions. Crestina Martinez has been appointed Colorado state director for Rural Development. Previously, she has experience as the director of strategic outreach & advocacy at Xcel Energy and as chief of staff for the Colorado lieutenant governor. Yeshimebet Abebe has been named deputy assistant secretary for administration. A graduate of Miami School of Law, Abebe comes to her role from USDA’s Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC) Business Center. Nina Anand moves from a position at the Food Safety and Inspection Service to be a speechwriter in the Office of Communications.Raven Kropf.jpgRaven Kropf, Teys USA

Brent Wolke retired as president of Teys USA on June 1 after a more than 37-year career in the beef industry. Raven Kropf has assumed the role of president. She brings over 20 years of experience at Cargill serving in procurement, commercial management, category management and sales roles. Kropf’s most recent position was with Teys, a Cargill Joint Venture, as senior vice president business development value added.

USDA’s World Agricultural Outlook Board (WAOB) has appointed Kent Lanclos to chair its Interagency Commodity Estimates Committee. He will be responsible for the cotton forecasts in the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report. Lanclos has commodity and economics experience at FPAC, the National Cotton Council, USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) and the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA). 

Mike Howard has departed the office of Rep. Jake LaTurner, R-Kan., after nearly three years as communications director. He has taken a position with Amplify as a senior client manager.  

Michaela Todd has been hired to succeed Howard as communications director for LaTurner, effective June 10. She was press secretary in the office of Rep. Tracey Mann, R-Kan.. 

Francisco Javier Trujillo Arriaga has been selected by the North American Plant Protection Organization’s (NAPPO) executive committee as the new chief scientist. He brings experience as a senior policy official in the Mexican agricultural ministry leading large scale plant pest control and eradication programs. Trujillo Arriaga has been a key member of the government’s international phytosanitary trade negotiating team. He will replace Stephanie Bloem upon her retirement in June after a nine-year tenure as NAPPO’s executive director. 

Will Margerum has been promoted to manager of communications at the U.S. Grains Council, responsible for the council’s weekly newsletter, maintaining the website and other internal and external outreach. He served in the role of communications coorFrancie Tolle USDA RMA.jpegFrancie Toll, USDA RMA
dinator since February 2022. 

The USDA Office of the Chief Economist has hired Peyton Ferrier as senior economist on the livestock team. Previously, Ferrier focused on economic analysis of poultry and egg markets at the Agricultural Marketing Service and conducted research on food safety, trade regulations and invasive species at the Economic Research Service. 

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USDA's Risk Management Agency has hired Francie Tolle as deputy administrator for compliance. In addition to operating an Oklahoma wheat, row crop and cattle farm with her family, Tolle has experience at the Farm Service Agency and with RMA Insurance Services and Product Management. 

Bob Trogele, executive vice president and chief operating officer of American Vanguard Corp., retired May 31. His career spanned more than 35 years in the agrochemical industry, including nine with AMVAC. 

Megan Kueker has joined the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers as communications specialist. She was previously associate account manager at Signal Theory. While a student at Iowa State University, Kueker completed internships with the National Pork Board and the Iowa Pork Industry Center. 

Zespri has tapped Jason Te Brake to serve as CEO. He has been with the company since 2020 serving as acting chief global supply officer, head of New Zealand supply chain and commercial manager. Te Brake will succeed current CEO Daniel Mathieson, who is leaving the company on July 1 for a position at Driscoll’s. 

Suzanne Anglewicz, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever

Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever has made two staff changes. Suzanne Anglewicz has been hired for the newly created role of manager of government affairs, state affairs and grass roots. Anglewicz comes to the habitat organization from the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, where she served as manager of field operations, grassroots division. Mark Scherer has been hired as a development officer covering Midwest states. He comes to the role from Illinois State University, where he worked as a development officer. 

The National Wildlife Federation has tapped Michael McShane as communications director. Previously, McShane was communications director for Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev.. 

Rajeev Murthy has joined NOVUS as senior director and managing director of Asia Pacific. Before joining NOVUS, he held regional leadership roles at dsm-firmenich (formerly Royal DSM) in the animal nutrition and health business unit and Elanco's animal health division. Originally from Bangalore, India, Murthy served as CEO of the feed business for Godrej Agrovet Ltd., an Indian livestock and agribusiness company. 

Eleven individuals have been named to the newly established Seasonal and Perishable Agricultural Products Advisory Committee by the USDA and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. ComKate JacksonKate Jackson, Oklahoma Farm Bureau
mittee members include Jeb Smith, president and CEO of the Florida Farm Bureau; David Hill, owner and president of Southern Hill Farms; Lance Jungmeyer, president of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas, and Chris Butts, executive vice president of the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, among others.

Oklahoma Farm Bureau recently added two staff members to the communications and public relations department. Mickinzi Ferguson joined OKFB as a communications specialist. A native of Walkersville, Md., Ferguson graduated from Oklahoma State University in May with degrees in agricultural communications and animal science. Kate Jackson joined OKFB as publications specialist responsible for its Perspective newsletter and quarterly Oklahoma Country magazine. She recently graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in agricultural communications. 

Central Stockyards LLC has added two members to its team. Brent Difley has been named business development director for Canada, responsible for working with feed yards and packers to market fed cattle on the Fed Cattle Exchange. Cassidee Rogers has joined Central Stockyards as business operations coordinator, responsible for coordinating customer relations and daily Fed Cattle Exchange auctions. 

Richard Crowder, a longtime economist and agribusiness leader who served as chief agricultural negotiator for the U.S. Trade Representative during the George W. Bush administration, has died at the age of 84. Crowder, who also served as USDA’s undersecretary for international affairs and commodity programs from 1989 to 1992, later became senior vice president of DeKalb Genetics Corp. and served as president of the American Seed Trade Association before joining USTR in 2006. His funeral was Sunday, June 2, in Baskerville, Virginia. 

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