WASHINGTON, August 30, 2017 - Polly Ruhland will be the next CEO of the United Soybean Board, effective Nov. 1. Ruhland will succeed John Becherer, who plans to retire at the end of the year after 23 years of service to the checkoff. Ruhland is currently the chief executive of the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue named Tony Tooke as the next chief of the U.S. Forest Service, succeeding Tom Tidwell, who is retiring Sept. 1. Tooke joined USFS back in 1980, when he was 18. The Alabama native is currently the regional forester for the agency’s Southern Region.
Lynden Johnson, executive vice president for Country Operations at CHS, says he plans to retire Oct. 2 after more than 35 years of service to the global energy, grains and food company. Mike Johnston, now senior vice president of Operations for Country Operations, will assume the role of interim leader and will report to CHS President and CEO Jay Debertin.
USA Rice is welcoming Emily Woodall to its team as manager of rice conservation services working on Regional Conservation Partnership Program grants through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. Woodall, who holds a master’s degree in animal science from West Texas A&M University, will be based in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Ag lobbyist Scott Bennett has signed on with Rep. Bob Goodlatte as a legislative assistant handling agriculture and trade issues, among other things. He previously worked with the Keys Group, a lobbying firm focusing on food safety, ag policy, trade and rural development.
The National Grocers Association hired Christopher Jones to head up its government relations team with the title of vice president and counsel. Jones previously served as legislative director to Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Ark. NGA says Jones will oversee the trade association’s team of lobbyists and manage a portfolio of issues including agriculture, nutrition and regulatory reform. Jones had a previous stint with NGA, working as senior manager of government relations from July 2014 to February 2015.
Julie Busse has joined the National Corn Growers Association as communications manager in NCGA’s St. Louis office. Busse most recently worked at Osborn Barr as an associate director. The Illinois State alum previously worked at DuPont Pioneer’s Heartland Business Unit, where she managed industry, university and government relations, among other things. Busse was also a farm broadcaster at Illinois Farm Bureau’s RFD Radio Network, where she earned the Horizon Award from the National Association of Farm Broadcasting.
Kali Matalon has returned to the Senate Appropriations Committee as a professional staff member, after spending two years as a defense and technology lobbyist with Innovative Federal Strategies. She previously worked on the Appropriations Committee from January 2013 to September 2015 and served on the staff of former Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va.
Archer Daniels Midland Co. appointed Rachel Hudson to the position of vice president and treasurer. Hudson joined ADM in 2002 and has held leadership positions in the company’s finance, treasury and commodity-trading functions in the U.S., Brazil, Germany and Switzerland. In addition to her treasury role, she will continue to serve as chief financial officer for the company’s Corn Division.
Agrium Inc. named Mike Frank president of Agrium Retail, effective Sept. 18. Frank comes to Agrium from Monsanto where he held a wide variety of senior positions. Most recently, he was the lead Monsanto senior executive planning the pending integration with Bayer. In his new role, Frank will be responsible for all of Agrium’s global retail operations, including Crop Production Services in North America, Landmark in Australia and South American retail operations.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Ct., has hired Will Serio as communications director in her Washington office. Serio, a 2013 Vassar College graduate, most recently worked in the office of Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio.
The American Feed Industry Association is welcoming Paul Davis as its new director of quality, animal food safety and education. Davis, who holds a doctorate in animal sciences from the University of Florida, joined AFIA from the Tennessee Farmers Cooperative where he served as director of feed and animal health.
United Fresh Produce Association has hired Kate Olender as senior director of health and wellness, a new position created to support the association’s business programs related to health and wellness. Olender is currently account supervisor and new business knowledge manager for food and nutrition at Edelman, a leading public relations agency. She has previously served as coordinator of the Healthy Corner Store Initiative at the Food Trust in Philadelphia and as food systems project manager with the Northwest Initiative in Lansing, Michigan. She starts the new job Sept. 5.
Ken Barham is settling into his new job as vice president of customer and brand marketing at Nufarm Americas. The North Carolina State grad previously worked at Syngenta, most recently as the product marketing lead. Nufarm Americas Inc. is a subsidiary of Australia-based Nufarm Ltd., a manufacturer, supplier and marketer of crop protection products based in Australia.
The National Sorghum Producers board of directors re-elected Don Bloss of Pawnee City, Nebraska, as board chairman at its annual August board meeting. Dan Atkisson of Stockton, Kansas, was re-elected vice chairman, and Kendall Hodgson of Little River, Kansas, was elected treasurer. Additionally, Atkisson, Larry Dahlsten of Lindsborg, Kansas, and Tom Willis of Liberal, Kansas, were all re-elected to three-year terms on the board. Changes to the board are effective Oct. 1.
The International Dairy Foods Association named Cary Frye to the position of senior vice president of regulatory affairs. Frye has served IDFA member companies for almost 20 years, representing those businesses on food labeling and standards of identity, ingredient technologies, nutrition and health issues, and product safety.
The National Hemp Association has added two new members to its board of directors. NHA describes Christine Ianuzzi and Marielle Weintraub as “trailblazers in the hemp and cannabis industries.” Ianuzzi is a managing partner with H.A. Bruno Events LLC, which operates Leading Edge Expositions, the producer of the Cannabis World Congress and Business Expositions. Weintraub, who has a doctorate in behavioral neuroscience, currently works with Covance Food Solutions, an analytical chemistry and contract research organization.
Doug Wilson is retiring as CEO of Shawano Resources International, an agricultural holding company based in Shawano, Wisconsin. Wilson has spent 49 years in the artificial insemination industry, 39 of them with CRI.
Earl Christianson, who ran Christianson’s Inc., a farm equipment business in Minnesota until he retired in 1991, died earlier this month at the age of 87. Christianson is said to have helped introduce the 4WD tractor to agriculture, working closely with Douglass and Maurice Steiger to develop and market the Steiger tractor. As the original Steiger dealership, Christianson’s Inc. went on to sell and service 4WDs in the southern Red River Valley area.
Funeral services will be held Sept. 6 near Washington, D.C., for William Lesher, a former assistant secretary of agriculture who went on to found a successful agribusiness firm. Lesher died Aug. 25 after injuring himself in a fall that exacerbated his multiple myeloma. He was 71. Lesher earned a doctorate in agricultural economics from Cornell and joined the staff of then-Sen. Richard G. Lugar, R-Ind., as legislative assistant for agriculture. He later became chief economist of the Senate Agriculture Committee and served at USDA during the first term of the Reagan administration. In 1985, he and the late Richard E. Lyng, who later would become secretary of agriculture, founded the food and agriculture consulting firm that would later become Lesher & Russell and is now the Russell Group. In 2009, Lesher became executive director of the Global Harvest Initiative, retiring in 2012. Funeral Services will be held at 10 a.m. on Sept. 6 at the Colonial Funeral Home, 201 Edwards Ferry Road NE, Leesburg, Va., The Lesher family suggests contributions to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation in lieu of flowers.