Ms. Waters is joining NAMA from the Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corp. (Farmer Mac), where she has been vice-president for corporate relations since 2005. There she was responsible for congressional and public outreach and communications. Farmer Mac, a congressionally chartered shareholder-owned institution, provides a secondary market for agricultural and rural housing mortgage loans.
“Mary’s career has been focused on the issues that face agriculture and agribusiness,” said John Miller, NAMA chairman. “Her leadership roles in the public and private sectors, strong communications skills and experience in Washington will be a valuable asset to NAMA and the future of our association. She joins an experienced and dynamic staff that will make for a very strong team to address our issues today and for the future.”
Before joining Farmer Mac, Ms. Waters was an assistant secretary for congressional relations at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. She was the primary liaison for food and agriculture to members of Congress and their staffs. During her four years at the U.S.D.A., she coordinated the agency’s responses to homeland security efforts after the September 11 attacks and food safety measures associated with “mad cow” disease.
Earlier, Ms. Waters spent 15 years as senior director and legislative counsel in the Washington office of ConAgra Foods. She began her career in Washington as a legislative assistant on the staff of Representative Larry Hopkins of Kentucky.
A graduate of the University of Illinois with a bachelor’s degree in political science, Ms. Waters has a law degree from George Mason University. She is a member of the District of Columbia Bar, Women in Government Relations, the Washington Agricultural Roundtable, and the Agribusiness Club.
“I’ve had the opportunity to interact with the milling industry and with the NAMA staff during my years with ConAgra and will now enjoy being fully engaged with the industry as it faces many opportunities and challenges ahead,” Ms. Waters said.
The NAMA search process culminating with the hiring of Ms. Waters was led by Mr. Miller with members of the NAMA executive committee. Their recommendation was approved by the full executive committee and the board of directors.
With the succession, Ms. Waters will become the organization’s second president. Ms. Faga has served as president of NAMA for 12 years, since the group was created. After April 5, Ms. Faga will continue to work for NAMA on a consulting basis during a transitional period.