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Ag groups celebrate two important confirmations

Ag groups celebrate two important confirmations

The Senate confirmed Alexis Taylor and Doug McKalip for USDA and ag trade positions, respectively

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

The U.S. ag industry received early Christmas gifts this week as the Senate confirmed two of President Biden’s nominees to important positions.

Both Alexis Taylor and Doug McKalip received the necessary Senate support to see them installed as the USDA’s under secretary for agriculture and foreign affairs, and as the USTR’s chief agricultural negotiator, respectively.

Taylor received her nomination in May and the Senate Ag Committee recommended her nomination to the full Senate in September.

The Senate confirmed her on Dec. 21.

Her position at USDA will require her to help U.S. ag access new opportunities with trading partners.

Ag groups are pleased to see these confirmations take place and are ready to work with the new members of the Biden administration.

“I’m confident Alexis Taylor will do a great job in this important role at USDA and I’m pleased she was finally confirmed,” Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, said in a statement. “Her previous experience at USDA, on Capitol Hill and leading a state department of agriculture are solid preparation for what will be a big job.

“Trade is critically important to U.S. agriculture, and we need a strong advocate on the world stage and capable leader for the USDA staff who serve as our eyes and ears around the globe. Alexis will be both.”

Taylor, an Iowa native, previously worked at USDA in the Obama administration. And since 2016 has served as director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

Doug McKalip, who has been with the USDA since 1994, received President Biden’s nomination to be the chief agricultural negotiator in June.

The Senate Finance Committee approved his nomination in September and forwarded it to the full Senate.

Doug McKalip

The Senate confirmed McKalip on Dec. 22.

As chief ag negotiator, McKalip will work within the Office of the United States Trade Representative to negotiate and implement ag provisions in free trade agreements, World Trade Organization commitments and other measures.

His experience working in ag will help him in his new role, the U.S. Wheat Associates said.

“Mr. McKalip’s work in conservation, with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and recent negotiations with the Mexican government on biotech issues match up perfectly with some of the most important agricultural trade barriers,”USW President Vince Peterson said in a statement. “He is well prepared for this position, and we look forward to working with him to open and grow overseas markets for U.S. wheat.”

The American Soybean Association, U.S. Meat Export Federation, Farmers for Free Trade and other ag groups have all released statements celebrating Taylor and McKalip’s confirmations.

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