WASHINGTON, July 19, 2017 - It’s official. President Trump has nominated the American Soybean Association’s longtime CEO, Steve Censky, to be deputy agriculture secretary. The Minnesota native served at USDA in the Reagan and first Bush administrations. You’ll recall that Agri-Pulse reported that Censky was in line for the job way back in May.

Mary Waters, who has a long background in agriculture, has been nominated to be assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs. Waters has been serving as a deputy assistant secretary in the State Department’s Bureau of Legislative Affairs. Previously, she served as president of the North American Millers’ Association, vice president for corporate relations with the Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation, and assistant secretary for congressional relations at the Department of Agriculture

Ertharin Cousin, former executive director of the U.N.’s World Food Programme, is joining the Chicago Council on Global Affairs as a Distinguished Fellow on Global Food and Agriculture. Before taking the World Food Programme post, Cousin served as U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome. In 2014, she was named in TIME Magazine's list of the 100 most influential people in the world and on Forbes Magazine’s “List of The World's 100 Most Powerful Women.”

President Trump plans to nominate Rostin Behnam to be a commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission for the remainder of a five-year term expiring in June 2021. Behnam has been serving as senior counsel to Senate Ag Committee ranking member Debbie Stabenow of Michigan since 2011...The president also intedns to tap Michael Dourson to be EPA’s assistant administrator for Toxic Substances. Dourson is a professor in the Risk Science Center at the University of Cincinnati, College of Medicine.  He also previously worked at EPA, earning the Arnold J. Lehman award from the Society of Toxicology and the International Achievement Award from the International Society of Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology. 

Alliangroup has hired former Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns as its new chairman of agriculture. Johanns, also a former governor and U.S. senator from Nebraska, will help guide the firm’s outreach on the various tax credits and incentives available for the benefit of the ag industry.

Howard Sklamberg, former deputy commissioner for global regulatory operations and policy at the FDA, has joined Akin Gump as a partner in its health care and life sciences regulatory practice in the nation’s capital. Sklamberg had been overseeing FDA’s Office of Regulatory Affairs and Office of International Programs. He had also previously served as director of the Office of Compliance, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

The cattle industry has honored six families as regional winners of its Environmental Stewardship awards. The families will compete for the national award, which will be announced at the annual Cattle Industry Convention in Phoenix in February. The regional award winners are: Blue Lake Farm, operated by Rusty and Jessie Thomson, Sharon, S.C.; SFI Inc., Seth and Etta Smith, Nemaha, Iowa; Sterling Cattle Co., Jimmy and Theresa Sterling, Coahoma, Texas; Flying Diamond Ranch, Scott and Jean Johnson, Kit Carson, Colo.; Jim O’Haco Cattle Co., Jim and Jeanni O’Haco, Winslow, Ariz.; and Munson Angus Farms, Chuck and Deanna Munson, Junction City, Kan. The Environmental Stewardship Awards program was established in 1991 by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association to recognize outstanding land stewards in the cattle industry. ESAP is sponsored by Dow AgroSciences, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Cattlemen’s Foundation.

The Red River Farm Network has hired Megan Ternquist as a member of its farm broadcast team. The North Dakota State grad joins RRFN after working in public relations with the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation. She also interned at KFGO Radio in Fargo as a farm and ranch reporter. She starts the new job on July 24.

Peter Lynch joined AgReliant Genetics as its new vice president of research. He previously worked for Monsanto in Lebanon, Indiana, leading key projects involving plant breeding.

(Clarification: Agri-Pulse would like to clarify an item we ran in last week’s Farm Hands on the Potomac concerning personnel changes at Syngenta. The Switzerland based company says it is separating some of the segments in its R&D and Production & Supply groups. Crop Protection, under Jon Parr, will now have the crop protection segments of R&D and Production & Supply reporting directly to him. Seeds, under Jeff Rowe, will now have the seeds segments of R&D and Production & Supply reporting directly to him. The clarification is based on updated information provided by Syngenta.)