The American Farm Bureau Federation has announced two staff promotions, for Dr. John Newton and Sarah Brown Dirkes.
Newton has been promoted from director, market intelligence to chief economist. In this role he will manage AFBF’s economics team in conducting analysis in support of the organization’s advocacy goals for reaching policy objectives. In addition, he will direct the team’s market analysis on issues of interest to grassroots farmer and rancher members, and state Farm Bureau leaders and staff. Newton joined AFBF in 2016, bringing a wealth of experience from his previous positions which include agricultural economist at the Agriculture Department, a fellowship with the Senate Agriculture Committee and chief economist at the National Milk Producers Federation. Newton earned his Ph.D. in agricultural economics from The Ohio State University; master’s degrees in economics and agricultural economics from The Ohio State University; and a bachelor’s degree in business economics from the University of Louisville. He will report to AFBF Vice President Public Affairs Dale Moore.
Dirkes has been promoted to a new role, executive director of industry relations. In this role, she assumes responsibility for identifying and building strategic partnerships with industry that support Farm Bureau’s mission. She will also develop strategies for engaging with industry to optimize strategic policy alliances that strengthen AFBF’s impact, in addition to communicating Farm Bureau’s value to various audiences. Dirkes joined AFBF in 2014 in a new role as director of external relations, where she brought expertise from her career in the produce industry and management consulting. Dirkes earned a bachelor’s degree in communication with a minor in applied economics and management from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University. She will report to AFBF Executive Vice President Julie Anna Potts.