Top left: Ronda Steciuk, top right: Matthew Boucher, bottom left: Gus Nelson, bottom right: Shane Bacon Submitted photos

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s Bureau of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources Director Nancy McBrady has announced Ronda Steciuk as the new Animal Welfare Program director, Matthew Boucher as the bureau’s new soil scientist, Gus Nelson as The Emergency Food Assistance Program director, and Shane Bacon as the Maine Harness Racing Commission executive director, according to a news release from the Augusta-based bureau.

“Ronda, Matthew, Gus and Shane joining our team will help bolster the department’s capacity to meet the agriculture sector’s challenging problems, such as climate change, animal welfare and food insecurity,” said McBrady. “These new leaders bring wide-ranging expertise and a commitment to support Maine’s rural and agricultural communities and deliver programming designed to solve the sector’s challenges.”

Steciuk of Falmouth brings a wealth of experience and depth regarding animal welfare programs to the bureau. She started with the program on July 25.

Boucher of Westbrook will develop, manage, and direct the department’s new Healthy Soils Program. The position is a key resource for leading climate-smart agricultural practice education, training and information exchange to staff, relevant state agencies, resource partners and constituents ranging from agricultural producers to the general public.

Nelson of Lisbon Falls is the director of The Emergency Food Assistance Program, a federal USDA program that the state administers through acquiring, storing and distributing commodity foods throughout Maine. Additional food access programs he will manage include the Commodity Supplemental Food Program and Maine Hunters for the Hungry.

Bacon of Herman, until this transition as executive director of the commission, was a New York State Gaming Commission Steward, responsible for implementing the commission rules and the presiding judge at Yonkers Raceway.