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USDA announces key senior staff appointments

These appointments reflect USDA’s commitment to strengthening its leadership and enhancing its service.

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced several key senior staff appointments in Washington, D.C.

Crestina Martinez has been named the Colorado State Director for Rural Development. Martinez brings extensive experience in strategic outreach and advocacy, previously serving as Director of Strategic Outreach & Advocacy at Xcel Energy, where she focused on environmental justice, energy equity, and Tribal relations. She also led COVID-19 recovery strategies as Adams County Director of Long-Term Recovery & Major Initiatives and served as Chief of Staff in the Office of the Colorado Lieutenant Governor. Additionally, Martinez has experience in rural community and economic development from her time as Regional Manager in the Colorado Department of Local Affairs and as a Costilla County Commissioner. She owns a small cattle ranch in Southern Colorado and holds degrees from Colorado College, Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, and the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business.

Yeshimebet Abebe has been appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administration. Since 2022, Abebe has served as Director of Organizational Management and Cultural Transformation at USDA’s Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC) Business Center. Her previous roles include Assistant County Attorney in Black Hawk County, Iowa, and District Representative for Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer. Abebe holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Miami School of Law, a Master of Arts in International Law from the UN Mandated University of Peace in Costa Rica, and a Bachelor of Science in Urban and Regional Studies from Cornell University.

Nina Anand has been appointed Speechwriter in the Office of Communications. Anand returns to USDA after her previous tenure as a Speechwriter and Public Affairs Specialist in the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and Acting Communications Coordinator in the Office of Communications. She rejoins from the Milken Institute, where she focused on global programming and events. Anand has also served as Director of Communications at the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum and the Plant Based Foods Association. Her career began on Capitol Hill as a Speechwriter for U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin and as a Women’s Congressional Policy Institute Fellow in the Office of former U.S. Representative Carolyn B. Maloney. Anand holds a master’s degree in conflict resolution from Georgetown University and a bachelor’s degree in religious studies from Davidson College.

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