WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — Hugh Whaley, a longtime agriculture industry relations and communications professional, has joined the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and the National Wheat Foundation (NWF) as director of corporate relations.

In his new role, Whaley will be the organizations’ lead staffer working to initiate, build and maintain strategic relationships with agribusinesses and other industry partners.

NAWG and the Foundation, which is managed by NAWG, facilitate a wide range of policy, educational and outreach activities and maintain the Wheat Growers Building on Capitol Hill.

“Coming into my new role with NAWG and the Wheat Foundation, I knew immediately that we needed to put an increased focus on our relationships with our state associations, fellow wheat industry and commodity organizations and our corporate partners,” said NAWG Chief Executive Officer Jim Palmer. “I am happy to bring Hugh on board to help us develop and implement a plan to improve our outreach with current and potential partners for the benefit of wheat growers.”

Whaley was most recently the general manager for the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA), of which NAWG is a member. Previous to that, he worked for two well-known marketing communications firms focusing on agriculture clients and for the American Soybean Association.

“The U.S. wheat industry is a major source of the world food supply necessary to feed an ever-increasing global population,” said Whaley. “Both NWF and NAWG will play a vital role in assisting U.S. wheat growers and the entire industry in maintaining and growing that position of importance. I’m very excited to have the opportunity to assist both organizations achieve their strategic objectives.”

NAWG also announced the promotions of Brooke Shupe to director of government affairs for risk management and Will Stafford to assistant director of government affairs for trade, transportation and commodity markets.

Shupe joined the association in April of last year and manages farm policy, crop insurance and related policies. She also runs WheatPAC, wheat growers’ political action committee. Stafford came to NAWG in 2011 and became a government affairs representative last year. In addition to trade, transportation and markets, Stafford follows research policy.

“NAWG’s government affairs team has impressed me since coming on staff. I am glad Brooke and Will both want to grow with us, and we look forward to continuing to see the fruits of their labor in the policy arena over the coming years,” Palmer said.