WASHINGTON — The US Senate voted on Dec. 21 to confirm former director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture Alexis Taylor as the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) undersecretary for trade and foreign affairs.
As the new top agricultural trade official, Ms. Taylor will be responsible for overseeing international negotiations related to agricultural trade, developing US trade policies, opening foreign markets to US farm goods and promoting US agriculture.
Ms. Taylor in September said her top priorities would be working with the US Trade Representative on a path toward country-of-origin labeling that is World Trade Organization-compliant, holding Canada and Mexico to their commitments under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, trying to expand export markets for dairy and other farm products within the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework and working to contain highly pathogenic avian influenza cases without disrupting markets.
Industry groups praised the Senate for confirming Mr. Taylor.
“Alexis has a strong background in agriculture from growing up on a farm in Iowa and also has a deep knowledge of trade issues from her time on Capitol Hill and with USDA in previous roles,” the US Grains Council said. “We look forward to working with her to promote American agriculture.”
The National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and US Wheat Associates (USW) issued a joint statement praising the confirmation.
“NAWG applauds the confirmation of Alexis Taylor to this key role, and I personally congratulate her for this historic appointment,” said Chandler Goule, chief executive officer of NAWG. “I have worked with Alexis for over 15 years, and I know the agriculture industry will benefit immensely from her expertise. She is a widely recognized leader on agriculture policy and has the domestic and international experience to help navigate US agriculture through growing global changes and help expand markets for US agricultural products. We appreciate the Senate’s bipartisan support of Alexis and look forward to working with her.”
Vince Peterson, president of USW, added, “Global markets for food and agricultural products like milling wheat are growing, so finally having Ms. Taylor in this position will help re-establish the United States as a leading export market participant. After serving as agriculture director in Oregon, she understands just how important it is to maintain a strong promotional effort in export markets. We look forward to working with her to build overseas markets for US wheat.”