Mike, thanks for posting that story. Having a bit of bio on the staff at USDA gives me more confidence in it. Those all are people with very solic agriculture credentials, IMO.
It would be interesting to know the "organization" connects of all top people there. I do hope no one believes former employees of NCBA have demands for loyalty to that organization because of past employment.
I know that while at NCBA, Beth Johnson worked valiantly and successfully for keeping beef in the school lunch program when Carol Tucker Forman was fighting as a USDA appointee, to substitute more soy and even yogurt for the beef. She is very knowledgeable and prior to and since her time at NCBA has had experience in a variety of dietary related jobs, I believe.
The main thing about former NCBA employees, is that they had to be very good at their job in that organization, and so will be above average staff for USDA, based on my EXPERIENCE of observing their work for a previous employer.
I don't know Merlyn Carlson well, as the committees he was involved with in NCBA were more along the trade and marketing area and mine were beef safety or nutrition research areas, but always heard good comments about his leadership.
Thank you, also, for not speaking judgmentally against these people simply because of their NCBA connections, past or present. That is as it should be until their actions prove otherwise, and I do not believe that will happen. They are professional people and agriculture is fortunate to have them at USDA, IMO, whatever their connections may be, IMO.