WASHINGTON, Sept. 27, 2017 - Jay Vroom says he’s retiring as CropLife America’s president and CEO at the end of 2018. That would give him more than 30 years at the helm of the largest U.S. trade organization representing manufacturers and distributors of agricultural pesticides. “When I stepped into this role in 1988, I don’t think I could have foreseen the challenges and triumphs the industry would encounter over the past three decades,” Vroom said during CLA’s annual meeting in Dana Point, California. Before joining CLA, Vroom served as executive vice president and CEO of the National Fertilizer Solutions Association, now the Agricultural Retailers Association. Vroom says that after he retires, he plans to stay involved in agriculture and “work on the critical issues of growing agriculture technology and improving profitability for American farmers.”

Brooke Appleton has left her job as director of public policy and political strategy at the National Corn Growers Association. One well-placed source says the University of Missouri alum is heading to USDA to serve as chief of staff to Steve Censky, who’s been nominated by President Trump as the department’s deputy secretary.

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall has joined the board of directors of the Supporters of Agricultural Research Foundation, a group dedicated to supporting and expanding USDA’s competitive grant science research. In a SoAR release announcing the appointment, the Georgia broiler, cattle and hay farmer said the Farm Bureau “clearly supports ongoing efforts to elevate food, agricultural and natural resources research as a national priority.”

Farm Credit Services of America and Frontier Farm Credit named Mark Jensen as incoming president and chief executive officer of the customer-owned financial cooperatives. Jensen, the associations’ chief risk officer, will assume his new role on Nov. 1. He succeeds Doug Stark, who is retiring. Jensen joined FCSAmerica in 1992 and has held senior vice president positions with the Association for the past 16 years. 

The Corn Refiners Association (CRA) has hired Allison Cooke as director of food policy. Cooke joins CRA from Kellen, the association management company, where she worked with the Calorie Control Council, the International Food Additives Council, and the Infant Nutrition Council of America.

The World Food Prize Foundation has chosen Bishop Richard Pates of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Des Moines as the recipient of the Robert D. Ray Iowa SHARES Humanitarian Award. Foundation President Kenneth Quinn said Pates is being honored for “his leadership in confronting hunger at home and abroad,” and especially for his role building international understanding as chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The award will be presented at the Iowa Hunger Luncheon on Oct. 16 in Des Moines.

Ann Bartuska, a senior official at USDA, is joining Resources for the Future (RFF) as vice president for the newly formed Land, Water, and Nature Program. She will be working in tandem with RFF Senior Fellow Raymond Kopp, who previously was named vice president of the also new Energy and Climate Program. At USDA, Bartuska has been serving as deputy undersecretary for research, education and Economics as well as the department’s chief scientist. She starts the new job Oct. 1.

Philippe Rousseau was named the global chief executive officer for Verisem. That’s the new name for the specialty seed crop division of Paine Schwartz Partners. Previously, Rousseau led the sunflower and winter canola business for Syngenta.

PlantResponse has made two U.S.-based additions to the crop technology company’s global leadership team. Rad Page was named chief commercial officer, and John Kruse, director of global agronomy. Page brings 34 years of agricultural expertise, having held leadership positions within Hydro Bío, United Agri Products, Crop Production Services, FMC and Pinnacle Ag. Kruse is a former assistant professor and crop specialist at Louisiana State University’s Agricultural Center, as well as director of agronomy – biologicals for Koch Biological Solutions.

Agriculture Future of America has named the two individuals it will honor at its AFA Leader in Agriculture Award Dinner on Nov. 3 in Kansas City, Missouri. Arthur Gen “A.G.” Kawamura is a third-generation produce grower and shipper from Orange County, California, and a former secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. He is also co-chair of Solutions From the Land, a non-profit that is developing innovative and sustainable collaborations for 21st century agriculture. The other honoree is Joel Mathiowetz, a fifth-generation farmer near Morgan, Minnesota, and the owner of Farm Gate Consulting, which provides generational transition and peer group consulting. The awards recognize individuals who have made significant contributions within the food and agriculture industry and have a record of supporting career and leader development for young men and women in agriculture through work and service.

A memorial service will be held Friday in Austin, Texas, for former Dow AgroSciences President and CEO Charlie Fischer, who died Sunday at the age of 75. Fischer helped the company enter the field of biotechnology during his leadership from 1999 to 2004 and was the first person to hold the chairmanship of both CropLife America and CropLife International at the same time. He had a passion for FFA and was a past chairman of the sponsors’ board. In 2002, he was named the Agribusiness Leader of the Year by the National Agri-Marketing Association.

The ag sector is also mourning the passing of former U.S. Undersecretary for Farm, Foreign, and Agricultural Services Gus Schumacher, who also died Sunday. He was 77. Schumacher was a co-founder and board chairman of the non-profit nutrition group Wholesome Wave, which said “the good food movement, the ag sector and the world has lost one of the most magnificent advocates ever known.” Prior to serving as undersecretary at USDA, Schumacher served as administrator of the department’s Foreign Agricultural Service, worked as a senior agri-lender for the World Bank, and served as Commissioner of Food and Agriculture for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.


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