Rayne Thompson
Rayne Thompson

Beginning in January, Sunkist Growers Inc. will have a veteran of federal and state government agricultural service as its director of government relations and public policy. Rayne (Pegg) Thompson is scheduled to begin the job the first week of 2015.

“Given her background, Rayne Thompson understands the challenges farmers face in a competitive global marketplace,” Sunkist president and CEO Russell Hanlin said in a news release.

“Thompson’s understanding of legislative policy, pest/disease issues, and international trade will prove invaluable as she begins her work with Sunkist.”

Michael Wootton, who has been handling government relations for Sunkist, plans to retire in early 2015.

Thompson will leave her current position as manager of federal policy at the California Farm Bureau to join the citrus cooperative based in Sherman Oaks, Calif., according to the news release.

Previously Thompson was administrator of the Agriculture Marketing Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In California, Thompson was deputy secretary at the state’s Department of Food and Agriculture. Thompson also worked with the Agriculture Council of California and the California Farm Bureau Federation.