WASHINGTON, Mar. 22, 2017 - Scott Graves, the former Republican staff director of the House Agriculture Committee who recently joined the law and lobbying firm, Williams & Jensen, has been named executive director of the American Association of Crop Insurers. Graves began working in the personal office of House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas, in 2005 and served as his chief of staff before becoming the ag committee’s GOP staff director in January 2015. AACI, which was founded in 1970, has been represented by McLeod, Watkinson and Miller, with Mike McLeod serving as executive director. David Graves, no relation to Scott, will continue as AACI’s president.

Tim Martin is settling into his new job as a public policy attorney at WilmerHale in Washington, D.C. Martin recently left the staff of Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., where he was legislative director. He previously worked for Rep. Scott Tipton of Colorado as general counsel and legislative assistant.

Jason Lusk has accepted an offer to be the next head of the Department of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University, starting July 1. Lusk says he’s thoroughly enjoyed his 12 years at Oklahoma State, where he held the Willard Sparks Endowed Chair in the Department of Agricultural Economics, but he says it’s time for a new challenge.

U.S. Wheat Associates is congratulating Alvaro de la Fuente for his devotion to wheat farmers and USW customers around the world. De la Fuente, the regional vice president in USW’s office in Santiago, Chile, recently marked 40 years of service to the organization.

Jim Allen, former president of the New York Apple Association, and Matt Wells, previously a business development specialist for Cornell Cooperative Extension, have joined New York Apple Sales in Glenmont, New York. Allen will focus on marketing efforts and other activities in his new role as VP of marketing, and Wells on food safety and quality assurance as the association’s director of field services.

Minnesota farmers are mourning the death of David Haugo, who died March 12 at the age of 82. Haugo was an early backer of the Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers, helping the group get established in 1976 and serving as its president from 1989-1992.

Longtime farm-magazine publisher Don Evashenko passed away March 10 at the age of 77. Evashenko, of Chesterfield, Missouri, began his career with Dakota Farmer before taking over as publisher of Soybean Digest magazine when it was owned by the American Soybean Association. Later, the North Dakota State grad served as publisher of Agri Marketing magazine and joined Drake & Associations where he managed the Christmas Tree Association and Agricultural Publishers Association before retiring in 2006.

(CORRECTIONS: A story in the March 15 Agri-Pulse newsletter had the wrong first name for Jason Goldblatt, President Trump’s special representative for international relations. In a separate item, we incorrectly referred to Ryann Durant, the new press secretary for Sen. John Cornyn, as a “he.” Agri-Pulse apologizes for the errors.)