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NMPF Recognizes Employee Excellence Through New Roles

April 15, 2021

Five NMPF staff members are taking on enhanced responsibilities within the organization in recognition of their exemplary service to the dairy community.

Jaime Castaneda, Shawna Morris, Jamie Jonker, Claudia Larson, and Theresa Sweeney-Murphy each will be taking on greater responsibilities in their new roles. “These changes within our organization are a tribute to the hard work and leadership shown by our staff, who together have served dairy farmers and their cooperatives during a challenging time,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “Each recognition is well-deserved; together they show just how strongly our staff serves to dairy’s needs. We are proud of the service they have given through the years and look forward to their continued service in the future.”

Jaime Castaneda, currently Senior Vice President for Policy Strategy and International Trade, will become Executive Vice President for Policy Development & Strategy, focusing on developing and implementing domestic and international policy initiatives. In this role, Castaneda will continue working closely with all of NMPF’s departments, with a particular focus on our policy strategy and execution. He also will continue to lead NMPF’s close partnership with the U.S. Dairy Export Council. Castaneda has been an ardent advocate for cooperatives, farmers and the industry as demonstrated by his impressive leadership on many key NMPF initiatives including dairy margin coverage, immigration reform, various trade negotiations, the creation of the Consortium for Common Food Names, and much more.

Shawna Morris will be promoted to Senior Vice President for Trade Policy, leading our trade policy advocacy efforts. In her current role as Vice President of Trade Policy, Morris has worked actively to advance and promote dairy trade policies that strongly benefit the U.S. dairy industry. She has played a critical role in our efforts working with U.S. and foreign governments, as well as with various international organizations. In her new role, she will continue to work closely with the U.S. Dairy Export Council, developing and promoting the international policy interests of U.S. dairy farmers and the wider U.S. dairy industry, domestically and around the world, as trade policy becomes an increasingly key factor in the economic well-being of dairy farmers.

Dr. Jamie Jonker will be promoted to Chief Science Officer, adding this to his title of Vice President, Sustainability & Scientific Affairs. Jonker’s promotion recognizes his key role at NMPF as lead scientific expert on the many issues affecting the dairy industry, from animal health to sustainability, to dairy farm biosecurity, to air and water quality, and much more. Jonker leads NMPF’s engagement domestic and international scientific groups such as the U.S. Animal Health Association (USAHA), the International Dairy Federation (IDF), the World Animal Health Organization (OIE), and Codex Alimentarius (Codex). Jonker serves on the IDF Board of Directors and last year was elected chair of the IDF Science Program Coordinating Committee.

Dr. Claudia Larson has been promoted to Senior Director, Government Relations. Since joining NMPF in 2019, Larson has undertaken advocacy and outreach work on a wide range of issues, leading the organization’s efforts in Congress to advocate for agricultural labor reform, where she played an active role in crafting and advancing the bipartisan Farm Workforce Modernization Act, which recently passed the House for a second time. Larson has also built support for NMPF’s child nutrition priorities and worked successfully with Congress to secure key improvements to the Small Business Administration’s COVID-19 relief programs to better assist dairy farmers and their cooperatives.

Theresa Sweeney-Murphy, currently Communications Manager, will become NMPF’s Communications Director, a role that reflects her rising level of responsibility within the organization as she innovates in member communications and expands the reach and relevance of NMPF’s Young Cooperators. Since joining NMPF in 2019, Sweeney-Murphy has led and implemented new initiatives that have improved our outreach to members and the broader community, spearheading NMPF’s special-topic member toolkits, enhancing its website and maintaining an active NMPF presence on social media. As leader of the YCs, Sweeney-Murphy has implemented regular webinars, among other offerings.