ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, U.S. — The U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) made changes to its leadership with the addition of Shelbi Knisley as director of policy and the promotion of Chad Weignad to regional director for Sub-Saharan Africa.
Knisley will be working in USW’s headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., and comes to the association after spending five years at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Most recently, she worked in the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) as a trade policy adviser for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. In that role, she led strategy and collaboration on policy covering nutrition, biotechnology, sustainability, antimicrobial resistance, CODEX, plant and animal health and agroecology.
Her time with the USDA also included experience analyzing wheat markets for the FAS and oilseed markets for the Economic Research Service.
“Shelbi’s experience in international trade while at USDA and her analytical background makes her a valuable asset to USW’s trade policy priorities,” said Dalton Henry, vice-president of policy at USW. “In addition to trade policy, she will be responsible for leading our work in food aid and wheat breeding innovation.”
Knisley received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in agricultural and applied economics from Texas Tech University, where her thesis focused on analyzing China’s impact on Australia’s grain sorghum export market. She also spent time interning on the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture and with the National Sorghum Producers and Sorghum Checkoff.
Knisley fills a position held by assistant director of policy Elizabeth Westendorf, who recently left USW to pursue other opportunities.
“We appreciate Elizabeth’s contributions to the organization since joining USW in 2014,” Henry said. “In particular, her work on innovation, sustainability and creating programs for farmer delegations traveling to Africa to focus on food aid are legacy items that will benefit USW long after her departure. We wish the best to Elizabeth in her new endeavors.”
In Cape Town, South Africa, Weigand is replacing regional director of Sub-Saharan Africa Gerald Theus, who retired on Dec. 31, 2019. Weigand has been assistant regional director since December 2018.
“Chad’s experience as our market analyst and effectively representing U.S. wheat farmers in different regions around the world is ideal for him to head up our effort in this competitive set of markets,” said Mike Spier, vice-president of overseas operations at USW. “He will be a positive leader for our team and will continue working hard for U.S. wheat farmers.”
Weigand joined USW in 2009 as market analyst in the Arlington, Virginia, headquarters office before transferring to Mexico City as assistant regional director in 2011.
He received a bachelor’s degree in international relations and business administration from the University of San Diego and a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University. Weigand spent two years in the Peace Corps as an agribusiness specialist in Ecuador and completed an internship with the Office of Trade Programs at the FAS.