NGFA joined a diverse group of food and agriculture organizations in a letter to Senate leaders this week asking them to secure the confirmation of key agricultural trade nominees before the end of the year.

Nearly 60 groups signed the letter urging the confirmation of Doug McKalip to serve as chief agricultural negotiator for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and Alexis Taylor to serve as undersecretary of agriculture for trade and foreign agricultural affairs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Both nominees were easily advanced on a bipartisan basis by Senate committees earlier this year.

“Despite unanimous support by the committees and widespread and bipartisan support the Senate has yet to confirm these highly skilled candidates. Time is of the essence to confirm these nominees,” stated the Nov. 29 letter sent to Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

“American agriculture needs experienced leaders representing us in international negotiations. We urge the U.S. Senate to confirm Doug McKalip and Alexis Taylor by the end of this year and appreciate your assistance with this critical matter.”

The letter also details that 20 percent of American farm revenue comes from exports and that U.S. food and agriculture exports support more than 1 million U.S. jobs.

Mr. McKalip has been a key ag policy official for close to 30 years and is currently a senior advisor to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. He has served in numerous leadership positions in USDA and has represented American farmers, ranchers and agriculture around the world and advocated for U.S. agricultural products and technology.

Ms. Taylor is currently the Oregon Director of Agriculture and oversees the state’s efforts in food safety and consumer protection, natural resource protection and the promotion of Oregon products in the United States and around the world. She served a tour in Iraq as a member of the Army Reserves and has worked for several members of Congress.

Advocate: NGFA members can send a pre-drafted letter to their senators urging the confirmation of McKalip and Taylor on ngfa.org/advocacy.