American Pistachio Growers tapped Zachary Fraser as president and CEO. Before joining the association, he worked in sports media, most recently at Fresno State athletics property. Fraser will meet with members at the Pistachio Growers annual luncheon in Visalia July 26. 

Invariant added Nathan Yanez as a manager. He was a senior account executive at the California-based Lucas Public Affairs focused on biotechnology and the environment. A California-Davis graduate, Yanez has interned on Capitol Hill and in the California legislature. 

Bion Environmental Technologies, Inc., a startup that produces organic and low-carbon nitrogen fertilizer products from manure waste, has appointed Turk Stovall and Bob Weerts to its board. Stovall is a fifth-generation Montana rancher and CEO-owner of Stovall Ranching Companies and Yellowstone Cattle Feeders. Weerts is an entrepreneur from Minnesota who has founded four companies, including Erosion Control Plus and Green Energy and Development. 

Anna Claire Stietenroth joined the office of Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., as a legislative assistant. She will work on the agriculture, food, animals, transportation and public works portfolios. A University of Georgia graduate, Stietenroth was previously a legislative assistant in the office of Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga. 

Susan Luke, Syngenta.jpgSusan Luke, SyngentaSyngenta hired Susan Luke as a senior communications manager for Syngenta U.S. crop protection and corporate communications. She will work with the government affairs and legal teams on U.S. issues management. Luke recently was director of global issues and crisis communication for Bayer’s crop science division. She reports to Kathy Eichlin, head of U.S. Crop Protection and Corporate Communications. She started Monday. 

Pablo Sierra-Carmona was promoted to communications director for Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz. She was previously press secretary in the office. 

The International Dairy Foods Association has made three staff changes. Andrew Jerome was promoted to vice president of communications. He has been IDFA's communications since 2020 after working at Torrey Advisory Group and the National Farmers Union. Jessica Matsko was promoted to manager of executive office and special projects. She held several IDFA administrative positions for 17 years. Victoria Pender has been promoted to manager of events and programs. She worked earlier at the American Farm Bureau Federation.  

The Food Research and Action Center named Crystal FitzSimons interim president. She has led FRAC’s child nutrition work for 16 years, recently as director of child nutrition programs and policy. During the transition, Lynette Fraga, a veteran nonprofit executive, has been tapped as senior advisor at FRAC. The changes come after Kelly Horton, who was appointed interim president in April, stepped down July 1. Horton succeeded Luis Guardia, who left after four years as president. FRAC has launched a search for a permanent head in collaboration with Boardwalk Consulting. 

Seamus McKeon was promoted to senior legislative assistant in the office of Rep. Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif. He will manage the transportation, tribal, public works, and immigration portfolio areas. 

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Glenn "G.T." Thompson named Kelsey Holt as communications director in his personal office. She was previously press secretary on his committee staff. Holt succeeds Maddison Stone, who resigned to become director of strategic communications at the U.S. Travel Association.

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Tom Brand, executive director of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting for 12 years, will become director of the St. Joseph Community Alliance in Missouri July 29. Before NAFB, he was farm director at KFEQ radio in Missouri for 15 years. 

The U.S. Apple Association promoted Christopher Gerlach to vice president of insights and analytics. Since joining USApple in 2020, he has directed economic and data analytics reports. Gerlach previously worked at the International Council of Shopping Centers. 

Christopher Gerlach USApple.jpgChristopher Gerlach, U.S. Apple AssociationUSDA Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Alexis Taylor administered the oath of office to six new Foreign Agricultural Service officers. They are Damian Ferrese, assigned to Nairobi, Kenya; Joshua DeMoss, Beijing, China; Jeffrey Galloway, Accra, Ghana; Benjamin Henderson, Hanoi, Vietnam; Katherine McBride, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and Jason Wrobel, Guatemala City, Guatemala.

Joseph Molokwu joined the U.S. International Trade Administration full-time as an international trade compliance analyst. He has held internships with ITA, the Senate Agriculture Committee's Republican staff, and with the U.S. Dairy Export Council. Molokwu graduated from Baylor in May with a degree in international studies. 

The Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation tapped Kerin Clark as executive vice president. She has been with Farm Bureau since serving as an intern in July 1994 and recently was director of media and member relations. Clark will succeed Ken Hamilton, who retires in October. 

Snack manufacturing company Truly Good Foods promoted Eric Leonard to chief strategy officer. He served as the company’s chief financial officer for the past two years. 

Scoular has appointed Kari O’Neill Potts as chief legal officer and corporate secretary, effective July 13. She succeeds Megan Belcher, who had been named chief legal officer at Kohler Co.  

Anna Claire Stietenroth joined the office of Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., as a legislative assistant. She will work on agriculture, food, animals, transportation and public works areas. A Georgia graduate, Stietenroth was previously legislative assistant to Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga. 

Madeline Ring has left the National Farmers Union. She worked as assistant to the president since January 2023. Ring was previously a staff assistant for the House Agriculture Committee. 

After two years, Keith Harrison left the NASDA Foundation, where he was program manager, to join the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture as director of development. He worked at the Tennessee Department of Agriculture and Tennessee Farmers Cooperative before NASDA. 

ChadChad Groves, Seaboard Foods.jpgChad Groves, CEO of Seaboard Foods  Groves is the new president and CEO of Seaboard Foods. Prior to joining Seaboard in 2021, he held leadership positions at Trilliant Food & Nutrition LLC and High Liner Foods and was a board member and treasurer of the National Pork Board. Groves succeeds Peter Brown, who retired. 

Larry L. Groce, a Plainville, Illinois, farmer and past chairman of the U.S. Grains Council, died July 1 at Blessing Hospital in Quincy, Illinois. He was 80. Groce was presented the council’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014 commemorating his more than 40 years of dedication to American agriculture. He chaired the USGC in 1994 at a time when U.S. coarse grains export markets shifted from Europe to Asia and the North American Free Trade Agreement was negotiated. Groce was an honorary life fellow of the Farm Foundation and a member of its Round Table, and vice president of Global Industries, a Nebraska-based maker of grain storage, drying, and handling systems.

University of Minnesota crop science professor Don Wyse, a prominent advocate of sustainable agriculture, died July 2 of injuries suffered in a fall. He was 77. Wyse co-founded the Forever Green Initiative more than a decade ago. The perennial grain Kernza is one of more than a dozen sustainable crops developed at Minnesota as part of the initiative. Wyse was co-director of the Center for Integrated Natural Resources and Agricultural Management.

Duane E. Eaton, who retired in 2014 as head of meetings and trade shows at the former Produce Marketing Association, died July 3. He was 75. Eaton had a 41-year career as an association executive, including 34 years at PMA, which merged with the United Fresh Produce Association in 2022 to form the International Fresh Produce Association.

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