Christopher Harris is stepping down from the Colorado River Board of California’s executive director position. He has been in the position for nearly 25 years. 

Ashton Redd, a recent graduate of the University of Arizona in agribusiness and environmental water resource economics, began as a customer service and technical support representative for startup VandWater Inc. in Kansas. Redd was formerly an Arizona state FFA officer, Farm Foundation cultivator, and Agriculture Future of America Leader’s Conference attendee. 

Stacy Heaton has been promoted to vice president of communications and public relations at California Dairies. She has been with the organization since 2019, previously as director of communications. 

Emma Grimes has joined the staff of Rep. Vince Fong, R-Calif., as press secretary. She was previously a scheduler for Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-SD. 

Jeff Correa has been appointed manager of the Fresh Pear Committee of Federal Marketing Order 927. He will continue in his current role as director of international marketing at Pear Bureau Northwest as he takes over his new duties. Correa succeeds Kevin Moffitt, who held the position since 2001. Moffitt will be moving into a mentoring role at PBNW for the upcoming year. 

Lynn von Koch-Liebert is departing from the California Strategic Growth Council after three years serving as executive director. Von Koch-Liebert will transition to the community development financial institution, lendistry, as head of climate, energy and infrastructure. The change was effective June 27. 

Natalie Wymer, the Wine Institute’s vice president of communications and member relations, died on June 23 at age 63 after a battle with cancer. The Wine Institute described her as “an inspiration for her kindness, camaraderie and collaborative spirit.” She had been with the institute since 2021. 

Robert J. (Bob) Gallo, who served as Wine Institute Chairman in 1977-1978, died on June 22 at age 89. He spent his life in the family business and helped GALLO work with the Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers to draft and implement the Code of Sustainable Wine Growing Practices. Until his passing, Bob resided in Modesto and was preceded in death by his wife of 63 years, Marie Damrell-Gallo, and his son, Mark. He is survived by his seven children, 22 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

David Chavern has been named president and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) effective Sept. 1 to succeed Susan Neely, who announced her retirement earlier this year. Chavern previously led the Consumer Brands Association. Neely once headed the American Beverage Association before taking the insurance industry trade association position.

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Three new directors were elected to serve on the Farm Foundation board: Jason Brantley, vice president at John Deere; Krysta Harden, president and CEO at the U.S. Dairy Export Council, and Erin Nazetta, director at Broadview Group Holdings. Harden is a board member at large, Brantley fills a seat dedicated to the manufacturing industry, and Nazetta has a seat reserved for a graduate of the Young Agrifood Leader program. All were elected at the board’s June meeting.

Dan Durheim began a new position as chief operating officer of the California Farm Bureau on Monday. He was assistant vice president of sponsor relations at Nationwide Insurance and worked for nearly two decades for the Minnesota Farm Bureau and the American Farm Bureau Federation. 

Dan .pngDan Durheim, COO of the California Farm Bureau. 

Stewart Verdery, who founded Monument Advocacy in 2006, is stepping down as CEO after 18 years. Partner John Murray will assume day-to-day operations of the public policy and public affairs firm. Monument Advocacy works primarily on food and agriculture issues. 

Mark Hayes started as vice president of global communications at the Futures Industry Association on Tuesday. He was vice president of communications at the Farm Credit Council. 

The Montana Grain Growers Association hired Kera Birkeland as director of policy. Formerly a Utah state representative and vice chair of the Utah Republican Party, Birkeland brings an array of government affairs, campaign management and legislative experience into the position. 

Shawn P. O’Grady has been elected chair of the Feeding America board. He retired Sunday as head of the North America Foodservice segment at General Mills. O’Grady succeeds Kelvin H. Taketa, retired president and CEO of the Hawai’i Community Foundation. Three new Feeding America board members were also elected: Julie Butner of Tarrant Area Food Bank, Kofi Bruce of General Mills and Rita Carreón of Unidos US. All began their terms Monday.

The American Seed Trade Association elected 2024-25 officers at its leadership summit in June. Dan Foor of DLF North America was elected chair, Dave Treinen of Syngenta first vice chair and Bryan Gerard of JoMar Seeds second vice chair. They began their duties Monday. Dave Armstrong of Sakata Seed completed his term as president during the meeting. 

The Office of the United States Trade Representative tapped Brenna Dougan as acting assistant USTR for labor affairs. Dougan recently was deputy assistant USTR. 

AMVAC, an American Vanguard company, promoted Rick Rice to business unit leader for application technologies. Rice will continue integrating AMVAC’s application technology business unit work with its precision ag technologies. He has experience in sales and marketing in crop protection, seed genetics, biotechnology and application technology. 

William D. Dar, former secretary of agriculture in the Philippines, has been appointed chair of the board of trustees of the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA). He succeeds Paul S. Teng, who was chair since 2013. Teng was a dean at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and once was plant pathology professor at the University of Minnesota and the University of Hawaii.

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