WASHINGTON, May 24, 2107 - The board of directors at CHS Inc has elected Jay D. Debertin as the farmer-owned co-op’s president and CEO. Debertin succeeds Carl Casale, who is credited with achieving record performance levels and expansion during his seven-year tenure. Debertin, who joined CHS in 1984, previously served as executive vice president and chief operating officer for the company's energy operations and processing food ingredients business.

Spencer Pederson, formerly a legislative assistant to Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., is settling into his new job as a principal with the Bockorny Group, a government relations firm. In Scott’s office, Pederson handled issues involving energy, agriculture, the environment and trade, among others. Pederson has also served as press secretary for the House Natural Resources Committee.

Sara Decker has taken a job with Wal-Mart as director of federal government affairs. She’d been working for Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla, for more than six years, most recently as his legislative director… George Ross Parman has joined Altria Group as manager of the tobacco giant’s communications team. Parman had been director of crisis communications at the public affairs firm kglobal.

David Redl has been nominated to serve as the Commerce Department’s assistant secretary for communications and information, which involves running the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. Redl is currently chief counsel, communications and technology, with the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and a former director of regulatory affairs with CTIA – the Wireless Association.

Erin Perrine is now press secretary to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. The University of Connecticut grad formerly held the same job with the Senate Republican Conference.

Doug Keesling was appointed to join the board of directors of CNFA, Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture, an international agricultural development organization. Keesling, a fifth-generation farmer, owns and operates Keesling Farms, which grows wheat, corn, soybeans, grain sorghum, and forages on a 2,500-acre family-owned operation in Chase, Kansas. He is also a former chairman and current member of the Kansas Wheat Commission.

The Animal Agriculture Alliance has promoted Allyson Jones-Brimmer to director of membership and Casey Whitaker to communications manager. Jones-Brimmer joined the Alliance in April 2015 as membership and marketing manager. Whitaker began working at the Alliance in February 2015 as a communications intern and transitioned into a full-time role as communications coordinator a few months later… Meanwhile, Terry Wehrkamp, director of live production at Cooper Farms in Ohio, has assumed chairmanship of the Alliance’s board of directors. Wehrkamp accepted the gavel at the spring board meeting earlier this month from Sherrie Webb, director of animal welfare for the National Pork Board. At the same meeting, the board elected Sarah Novak of the American Feed Industry Association as its chair-elect for a two-year term beginning in May 2019.

Legislation to rename USDA’s Red River Valley Agricultural Center in Fargo, North Dakota, as the Edward T. Schafer Agricultural Research Center was approved by the House of Representatives recently on a voice vote. Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., sponsored the bill to recognize the former U.S. Agriculture Secretary (2008) and North Dakota governor (1992-2000). The state’s two U.S. senators, Republican John Hoeven and Democrat Heidi Heitkamp, are sponsoring a companion bill in the Upper Chamber.

Our condolences go out to former U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and his family on the death of Vilsack’s six-year-old granddaughter Ella. The child died early Friday following what the family called a sudden illness. Ella was the daughter of attorney Jess Vilsack, the oldest son of Tom and Christie Vilsack. He and his wife, Kate, have two other children. Tom Vilsack, a former Iowa governor, is currently president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council.