Dr. John M. Bonner, who has served as the Executive Vice President and CEO of the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) since July 2005, will be retiring effective January 31, 2013 to pursue other interests and spend more time with family.
CAST, a nonprofit organization based in Ames, Iowa, was founded in 1972 by agricultural scientists from seven professional agriculture-related scientific societies "to provide accurate scientific information about agricultural issues involving science and technology to decision makers in government, the media, and the public." During his tenure Dr. Bonner has initiated major operational and structural changes that have turned CAST into what it is today-a highly respected international organization with 22 member societies, 6 member companies, and 7 member nonprofit organizations, plus individual members from 47 states, Washington D.C., Guam, Puerto Rico, and 11 countries.
During the past seven years, Dr. Bonner has significantly raised CAST's visibility by providing strong leadership that has led to numerous accomplishments by the organization and its staff:
- restructured the Board and business model, established a Board of Trustees, and revised the bylaws;
- upgraded and expanded Friday Notes, the organization's signature electronic newsletter;
- established a greater web presence, attracting users from 173 countries worldwide;
- initiated the active use of social media including a CAST blog, Twitter, and Facebook page;
- reached out to youth groups such as FFA, 4-H, and Agriculture Future of America;
- began the production of professionally filmed videos based on CAST publications;
- arranged to have CAST's own channel on SchoolTube and postings on YouTube;
- produced 38 peer-reviewed publications as well as Annual Reports, Publication Catalogs, and special 35th and 40th anniversary documents;
- hosted rollout presentations for each new publication and produced 18 Capitol Hill seminars in conjunction with the National Coalition for Food and Agricultural Research (NC-FAR);
- developed relationships with many Congressional leaders, building good will for CAST;
- visited more than 125 Hill staffers in D.C. and informed them of CAST resources; and
- called on many agency and organization administrators in D.C. and around the country.
Above all, Dr. Bonner has built and maintained a team in the CAST office that is competent, efficient, and dedicated. The CAST Board of Directors is extremely grateful for everything he has done for CAST and for agriculture, and wishes him well on his retirement.
To ensure the continued success of CAST and pave the way for a smooth transition and continuity of operations, CAST is initiating a search for Dr. Bonner's successor. A Search Committee led by Dr. Phil Stahlman, CAST President-Elect, has been formed and has begun the search and selection process that is expected to be completed within six months. A position description and application information will be available in the near future. CAST would like to thank all its members and stakeholders for their continued support and patience as the organization embarks on a new chapter in its 40-year history of service to the agricultural community.