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U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Key Staff Appointments and Promotions

WASHINGTON, May 29, 2024 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the names of individuals who hold senior staff positions in Washington, D.C.

Crestina Martinez has been appointed Colorado State Director for Rural Development

Martinez previously served as Director of Strategic Outreach & Advocacy at Xcel Energy where she developed and implemented strategic outreach and advocacy initiatives centered on environmental justice, energy equity, and Tribal relations. Martinez also has experience as Adams County Director of Long-Term Recovery & Major Initiatives where she led the development of strategies for equitable economic and health recoveries from COVID-19 and as Chief of Staff in the Office of the Colorado Lieutenant Governor where she led policy and legislative strategies, stakeholder outreach, and constituent services. Before that, Martinez also served as Regional Manager in the Colorado Department of Local Affairs where she managed local government operations emphasizing rural community and economic development and served as a Costilla County Commissioner. Martinez owns and operates a small cattle ranch in Southern Colorado and holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in Sociology and Spanish from Colorado College and certificates from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business.

Yeshimebet Abebe was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administration

Since 2022, Abebe has worked in USDA’s Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC) as the Director of Organizational Management and Cultural Transformation in FPAC’s Business Center. Before then, Abebe worked as an Assistant County Attorney in Black Hawk County, Iowa, and as a District Representative for Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer. She received a Juris Doctor from the University of Miami School of Law, a Master of Arts in International Law and the Settlement of Disputes 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 a 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 USDA from the Milken Institute, where she worked on global programming and events. Previously, she served as Director of Communications at both the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) where she also led USISPF’s Food & Agriculture committee to promote business-friendly policies in India with global food companies and the Plant Based Foods Association. She began her career on Capitol Hill as a Speechwriter in the Office of U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (MD) and as a Women’s Congressional Policy Institute Fellow in the Office of former U.S. Representative Carolyn B. Maloney (NY). 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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