Washington, Mar. 15, 2017 - The agricultural community is mourning the loss of Kika de la Garza, a long-time congressman from South Texas who chaired the House Agriculture Committee for 14 years. De la Garza died Tuesday at the age of 89. The colorful Democrat became chairman of the committee in 1981 – near the beginning of a prolonged and difficult U.S. farm crisis. De la Garza remained at the helm until Republicans took control of the House after the 1994 elections. He stayed on the committee as ranking member for one term and retired at the end of 1996. Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts, who chaired the House Ag Committee after de la Garza’s tenure, tweeted that, “out of respect, we never called him the ranking member. We called him ‘Chairman Emeritus.’ Roberts went on: “Kika served with distinction and provided great leadership for all of agriculture,” adding, “Agriculture has lost a great friend and leader.”

President Donald Trump plans to nominate J. Christopher Giancarlo as chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the White House said on Tuesday. Giancarlo has been acting chairman of the CFTC since Jan. 20 after being confirmed as a commissioner of the agency in 2014.

Ryann Durant is moving from one side of the Capitol to the other. The Wake Forest alum is taking over the press secretary job in the office of Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. He had been communications director for Rep. Austin Scott of Georgia… Bri Hearn has moved to the office of Rep. Leonard Lance, R-N.J., where she’s a legislative assistant. She had been working as a press aide for Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas.

Brent Blevins is leaving the House Natural Resources Committee to join the staff of Alabama’s new Republican senator, Luther Strange, where he’ll be working on agricultural issues. He says he’s looking forward to working on ag issues for a Southerner during a farm bill cycle. Blevins starts the new job on March 20.

The American Soybean Association presented Joe Jobe with its Special Meritorious Service Award at ASA’s award banquet during the recent Commodity Classic in San Antonio. The award honors individuals who served the soybean industry above and beyond the ordinary. Jobe, the president of Rock House Advisers, spent 17 years as CEO of the National Biodiesel Board.

Randy Day, a 36-year veteran of Perdue Farms, has been named CEO of the privately held poultry company. He’s taking over for Jim Perdue, who will remain chairman and brand spokesman.

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Syngenta appointed Angus Kelly, currently head of corporate affairs Hawaii, as head of corporate affairs AME, based out of Basel, Switzerland. Kelly joined Syngenta in 2007 working with U.S. government relations in Washington, D.C. He has also spent several years in Brussels as senior advisor for EU public affairs.

Lee Briese of North Dakota has been named International Certified Crop Adviser of the Year. Briese provides consulting services on 16 different crops on over 80,000 acres, but still finds time to voluntarily partner with North Dakota State University to staff field days and winter meetings. The award is presented by the International Certified Crop Adviser Program and American Society of Agronomy.

Animal sciences innovator Temple Grandin is one of 10 women selected for induction into the 2017 National Women’s Hall of Fame. Grandin’s designs for livestock handling systems transformed the industry and are used worldwide today. The induction ceremony will take place in September, in Seneca Falls, New York, where the Hall is located. The town was the site of the first women’s rights convention, held in 1948. Click here for a list of the 2017 inductees.

The American Feed Industry Association promoted Gary Huddleston to director of feed manufacturing and regulatory affairs. Huddleston previously served as the manager of feed manufacturing safety and environmental affairs. He joined AFIA in 2015.