DES MOINES, June 28, 2017 - Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank, is the winner of the 2017 World Food Prize. Adesina is being recognized for significantly expanding food production in his native Nigeria, increasing access to credit for smallholder farms across Africa, and energizing political forces to improve African agriculture. Adesina, who worked with 1970 Nobel Peace Prize winner Norman Borlaug at the Rockefeller Foundation, was the lead organizer of the 2006 African Fertilizer summit, where Borlaug, then 92, challenged African leaders to bring the Green Revolution to the continent. He will receive the award and $250,000 at the Iowa Capitol in Des Moines in October.

The American Feed Industry Association promoted Veronica Rovelli to senior director of meetings and events. The Dickinson College grad has been with AFIA since 2008. Rovelli will work with Connie Samuels, AFIA’s new manager of meetings and events. Samuels comes to AFIA after a stop at Envision EMI.

Sunripe Certified Brands hired Paul Hoker as its new chief financial officer. The Palmetto, Florida-based supplier of fresh fruits and vegetables said Hoker has more than 12 years of experience in financial planning and reporting, acquisition strategy, forecasting and budgeting, including working as controller for Lipman Produce.

USA Rice has hired Cameron Jacobs as the new manager for domestic promotion where he’ll be working on the association’s consumer and foodservice marketing campaigns and handling additional communication initiatives. The Dickinson College grad most recently served as spokesman for the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions … Meanwhile, USA Rice Millers’ Association recently elected Alex Balafoutis as its chairman and Keith Gray as vice chairman at the group’s annual convention, in Carlsbad, California. Balafoutis is vice president of sales for the rice business unit at PGP International in Woodland, California, and Gray is vice president of supply chain at Riviana Foods. Their two-year terms begin Aug. 1.

SuperValu Inc. says Bruce Besanko, its chief financial officer and COO, will leave the grocery store distributor and retailer in early July to take advantage of an opportunity outside the company. Rob Woseth, SuperValu's chief strategy officer, will take over as interim CFO, while Controller David Johnson will become interim chief accounting officer, as the company seeks a permanent replacement.

Congratulations to Kelly Wismer who’s been promoted to public relations manager for NTCA – the Rural Broadband Association. Wismer had been doing outreach work and some lobbying for the organization. The University of South Dakota grad previously worked on the staff of Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D.

The Maine Farm Bureau has chosen Julie Smith as its new executive director. She’s replacing Alicyn Smart, who has accepted a position as assistant professor and assistant plant pathologist at the University of Maine, Orono. A lawyer who grew up on a dairy farm operated by her grandfather, Smith is a former resident of the Fort Collins, Colorado, area where she was involved in several agricultural organizations, including the state’s first Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm and a restaurant that served only locally produced food.

Noted food safety expert Dave Theno died last week after being hit by a large wave while swimming in Hawaii. He was 66. Theno worked for Jack in the Box for 16 years and is widely credited with devising food safety protocols that helped the burger company survive after being linked to a 1993 E. coli outbreak that sickened hundreds, including four children who died. Theno had been running the Del Mar, California-based food safety consulting company Gray Dog Partners since 2009. 

Les Tindal, South Carolina’s elected commissioner of agriculture from 1982 through 2002, died June 27 at his home in Pinewood, S.C. He was 89. First elected as a Democrat, he switched parties to become a Republican during his third term.