WASHINGTON, Mar. 8, 2017 - President Trump has named Stephen Vaughn as general counsel for the Office of U.S. Trade Representative, where he’ll also serve as acting USTR, pending action on the confirmation of Trump’s nominee, Robert Lighthizer. Vaughn was most recently at the law firm of King & Spalding, where he worked for a little more than a year. Before that, for 23 years, the veteran litigator was at Skadden Arps, where Lighthizer also practiced.

David Schemm, a third-generation wheat farmer from western Kansas, was elected president of the National Association of Wheat Growers last week at a board meeting held in conjunction with the Commodity Classic in San Antonio. Jimmie Musick, from Southwest Oklahoma, was elected vice president, and Texan Ben Scholz moved up the ranks of leadership to Treasurer. Gordon Stoner from Outlook, Montana, will continue to serve on the executive committee in the role of past president, while Dave Milligan from Cass City, Michigan, was chosen as secretary.

Phil Carson, director of Illinois-based Tri-County Electric Cooperative, succeeded North Arkansas Electric Cooperative CEO Mel Coleman as president of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. Other NRECA board officers are Curtis Wynn, CEO of Roanoke Electric Cooperative, who was elected as vice-president, and Chris Christensen, a director of NorVal Electric Cooperative, the new secretary-treasurer…. During the meeting, NRECA honored former CEO Jo Ann Emerson with its Clyde T. Ellis Award. Emerson, a former congresswoman from Missouri, led NRECA from March 2013 until September 2015 when she stepped down after suffering a brain hemorrhage.

Micah Ragland, a former senior U.S. EPA official, has been hired by Walmart as the retail giant’s director of national media affairs for sustainability communications. Ragland was EPA's associate administrator for public engagement and environmental education during the final years of the Obama administration. Ragland also has also been a congressional aide for several House Democrats, including Reps. Sanford Bishop of Georgia, André Carson of Indiana and Jim Clyburn of South Carolina.

Barb Determan, who served as president of the National Pork Producers Council from 2001-2002, has been inducted into the NPPC Hall of Fame. NPPC cited her leadership and dedication to the pork industry. During her tenure as president, Determan oversaw the court-ordered split of the Pork Checkoff Program from NPPC that paved the way for the council to reestablish itself to provide the legislative, regulatory and trade advocacy necessary for the industry to achieve success. Determan, a hog producer from Early, Iowa, is president, owner and strategist of Heartland Marketing Group… Also inducted into the Hall, posthumously, was Doug Wolf, who served on the NPPC board for five years, including as president from March 2011 to March 2012. Wolf, who died suddenly last July, was a partner in Wolf L&G Farms LLC, with his wife Kris and son Shannon. “Doug Wolf was a humble guy, who put family first, the pork industry and farming second and himself last,” said NPPC CEO Neil Dierks.

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Ken Maschhoff, co-owner and chairman of The Maschhoffs, the largest family-owned pork production company in North America, was elected president of the National Pork Producers Council at the National Pork Industry Forum last week in Atlanta. Jim Heimerl, of Johnstown, Ohio, was elevated to president-elect, and David Herring, of Lillington, North Carolina, was chosen as vice president.

Traci Via and Ashley Collins are settling into their new jobs with Kansas City, Missouri-based Agriculture Future of America. Via is director of development and communications, and Collins is the director of collegiate relations. AFA also has selected 10 Student Advisory Team members and 19 Campus Ambassadors to serve for the 2017-18 year. For a list of the new student leaders, click here.

Greek yogurt maker Chobani has hired former Nestlé Waters North America CEO Tim Brown as its new president and chief operating officer. He’s replacing private equity executive Kevin Burns, who stepped down in December. He’ll report to founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya. Brown starts the new job March 20.

The directors of the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board (NDB) have elected new leaders to help oversee national dairy checkoff strategies. The new chair is Amber Horn-Leiterman of Brillion, Wisconsin; Brad Scott of San Jacinto, California, is vice chair; Joe Kelsay of Franklin, Indiana, is secretary, and Carol Ahlem of Hilmar, California, is treasurer.

The Iowa State University Agricultural Business Club honored Sarah Fiedler Thorn with its Outstanding Alumni Award. After graduation from Iowa State, she started her career working on Capitol Hill for former Rep. Cooper Evans, R-Iowa. Thorn spent much of her career working for DuPont Pioneer in the company’s government relations group. In 2014 she established Thorn Consulting Group, helping clients address public policy trends.