ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, U.S. — U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) announced on Oct. 2 that it has hired C. Benjamin Conner as assistant director of policy. Conner brings more than five years of agriculture and trade policy work to the position, mainly in the office of U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns. Starting Oct. 6, he will report to USW Vice-President of Policy Shannon Schlecht and support USW’s efforts to work collaboratively with wheat farmers and customers around the world to create a fair and competitive trade environment.  

“Sen. Johanns has consistently supported agricultural trade and Ben played a critical role in forming and articulating those positions,” Schlecht said. “So we are very pleased to have someone with Ben’s experience to help advocate for U.S. wheat farmers in international trade monitoring and negotiations as well as food aid and biotechnology issues.”

Conner joined Johanns’ staff in an administrative role in 2009 and rapidly moved into legislative roles as a correspondent, aide and, most recently, as legislative assistant. He also worked as a special assistant at the U.S. Department of Energy following his graduation from Miami University with a bachelor’s degree in international studies. His undergraduate experience included academic work in management and Middle East and Islamic Studies at American University in Cairo, Egypt. Conner went on to earn a master’s degree in international commerce and policy at George Mason University. He is also completing master’s of science/master’s of business administration degrees in food and agribusiness management from Purdue and Indiana universities.