After nearly two years vacant, the Senate confirmed Doug McKalip to be Chief Agricultural Negotiator at the United States Trade Representative Thursday.  After the vote, USTR, Katherine Tai said McKalip has generated broad, bipartisan support from Members of Congress, governors, and state agriculture commissioners, and also received strong endorsements from key stakeholders.  Tai added McKalip will represent the interests of farmers, ranchers, producers, and workers, including expanding market access for their products and he will further enhance the strong collaboration between USTR and USDA.


McKalip’s confirmation came just one day after the Senate confirmed former Oregon Department of Agriculture Director Alexis Taylor as Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs.


“The American Farm Bureau Federation is pleased that, after several months of delay, Doug McKalip was finally confirmed as chief agricultural negotiator for USTR," said AFBF President Zippy Duvall.  "Doug has proven he is more than qualified for the position with more than three decades of agricultural experience.


“There is much work to be done. Current disagreements over exports to Mexico and potential new trade relationships with the European Union and Great Britain require the leadership Doug brings to the position," Duvall continued.  "We look forward to working with him to create more opportunities for America’s farmers and ranchers to feed families around the globe.”


"USMEF congratulates Ambassador McKalip on his confirmation and thanks the U.S. Senate for taking this action," said Dan Halstrom, CEO and President of the U.S. Meat Export Federation.  "With the U.S. currently engaged in negotiations with several key trading partners, filling this important position was absolutely essential.  We look forward to working with Ambassador McKalip and wish him well in his new role at USTR."


“Throughout his three decades of leadership in critical roles in agriculture trade policy, including his current role as senior advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, McKalip has represented American farmers, ranchers and agriculture around the world and has fiercely advocated for U.S. agricultural products and technology," said Ted McKinney, CEO of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture.  "We need knowledgeable and experienced leaders like McKalip to navigate the complex international trade and food security challenges our world is facing."


We welcome and are very much looking forward to working with Doug McKalip in his pivotal role," The U.S. Grains Council said in a Thursday press release.  "Combining his extensive international experience and more than 28 years of government service at the USDA, his strong background in farm and trade policy and his knowledge of biotechnology will be very helpful to advance trade priorities and open markets for U.S. corn, sorghum, barley and co-products.”


If you have a story idea for the PNW Ag Network, call (509) 547-9791, or e-mail 

More From PNW Ag Network