WASHINGTON, Oct. 4, 2017 -  The Senate confirmed the nominations of Steve Censky to become deputy agriculture secretary and Ted McKinney to be the Agriculture Department’s first undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs. The nominations were approved on voice vote Tuesday evening, one day after the Senate Agriculture Committee approved the nominees. They will be the first Senate-confirmed executives at USDA since Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue took office in April. 

President Donald Trump plans to nominate R.D. James of Missouri to be an Assistant Secretary of the Army, Civil Works. A civil engineer and farmer from New Madrid, Mo., who also manages grain elevators and cotton gins, James most recently served as a civilian member and engineer on the Mississippi River Commission, where he provided water resources engineering direction and policy advice for several decades.…..The White House also announced that Kimberly Reed of West Virginia will be nominated to be First Vice President of the Export-Import Bank of the United States. Reed most recently was president of the International Food Information Council Foundation, and was counsel to three Congressional committees in the U.S. House of Representatives: Ways and Means, Government Reform and Oversight, and Education and the Workforce.

There’s a new CEO at cereal giant Kellogg Co. He’s Steven Achillean, who most recently served as president and chief executive officer at Nature’s Bounty, a health and wellness business. His predecessor, John A. Bryant, has decided to retire, although Kellogg says Bryant will continue to serve as executive board chairman until March 15, 2018, when Cahillane will assume the role of chairman and CEO.

Hormel Chairman of the Board Jeffrey Ettinger will retire, after nearly 11 years in the role, and over 13 years as a director. President and CEO Jim Snee will become chairman of the Minnesota-based meat giant, where he’s worked for 28 years, on Nov. 20.

The Senate Agriculture Committee has lost a key staffer. Julian Baer, a senior policy advisor, left the panel for a job with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. Baer had been with the committee since April 2013 when he joined as a senior professional staffer. Before that he was a policy advisor with OFW Law.

Taunja Berquam is retiring after more than a decade on the Democratic staff of the House Appropriations Committee. Before that she worked as a program manager with the Army Corps of Engineers in the Portland, Oregon, office……Haley Dorgan is settling in at the Women’s Equality Center at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Dorgan, a former press secretary for Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., is the center’s media director, working on issues related to reproductive health and rights in the U.S. and Latin America.

There have been two important changes recently in the leadership at USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Dr. Betty Goldentyer has moved to D.C. from a regional office in Raleigh, North Carolina, to assume duties as the associate deputy administrator in the agency’s Animal Care operation. Goldentyer has been with APHIS since 1988. In addition, Dr. Burke Healey is now associate deputy administrator for Veterinary Service programs. Healey, who started with USDA in 2004, served as the National Incident Commander for the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza outbreak of 2014-2015, successfully leading the largest animal disease incident response in U.S. history.

Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Christopher Giancarlo appointed Brian Bussey as the new director of the agency’s Division of Clearing and Risk (DCR). Bussey is currently the associate director for Derivatives Policy and Trading Practices in the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Trading and Markets. He’ll join the CFTC on Oct. 16. John C. Lawton, who has been serving as the acting director of DCR since January, will become special advisor to the DCR Division director.

Kevin Skunes says cultivating relationships with the livestock industry is one of his biggest priorities as he takes over the presidency of the National Association of Corn Growers. Promoting ethanol and trade are also on his priority list, said the North Dakotan, who had been NCGA’s first vice president. He assumed the new job on Oct. 1, succeeding Wesley Spurlock, who became chairman.

John Vatri, vice president of operations at Cardinal Meat Specialists, was elected board chairman of the North American Meat Institute last week at NAMI’s annual meeting in Washington. Joe Maas, co-owner and vice president of operations at JTM Provisions, was elected vice chairman. Also elected to guide the organization during the coming year were Bar-S Foods Co. President and CEO Warren Panico, who will serve as treasurer, and Brad McDowell, president of AB Foods LLC, the next secretary. 

NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association named Leif Oveson as its vice president of legislative affairs. Oveson has been with NTCA for eight years, most recently as government affairs director. In his new role he will oversee the association’s strategic government relations initiatives and lobbying activities, working with members of Congress and their staff to promote broadband in rural America.

The American Angus Association is beefing up its communications team with four new hires, including Rachel Robinson, a University of Missouri alum who had been working as a senior executive at Woodruff in Kansas City, Missouri. The other hires are communications specialists Ali Luety and JD Rosman and video production specialist Max Stewart. Luety, a recent Iowa State University grad, spent this past summer interning for Agri-Pulse in our Washington office. Rosman graduated in May from Oklahoma State University and Stewart graduated from Kansas State University this past August.

Leslie McCuiston of Columbus, Nebraska is America's Pig Farmer of the Year. The National Pork Board says the award recognizes a farmer who excels at raising pigs using the We Care ethical principles and who connects with today's consumers about how pork is produced. McCuiston is a senior production manager for The Maschhoffs, overseeing 70 employees who care for more than 18,000 sows in central Nebraska and surrounding states.

The College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at the University of California-Davis will honor seed industry executive Gabe Patin on Oct. 6 with its Award of Distinction for “achievements that enhance the college's ability to provide cutting-edge research, top-notch education and innovative outreach.” Patin, 87, was instrumental in the development of the UC Davis Seed Biotechnology Center – an accomplishment which he calls one of the greatest of his life. 

Funeral services were held last week for Alto “Bud” Adams, known by many as the dean of Florida cattlemen, who died Sept. 22 at the age of 91. For decades Adams managed the family 40,000-acre cattle ranch that stretched across St. Lucie and three other Florida counties. Adams is credited with creating a new breed of heat-resistant and heavy beef cattle known as the Braford. The United Braford Breeders said Adams’ legacy will be felt for generations to come.


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