The Oregon Department of Agriculture will need to search for a new Director, after the Senate voted Wednesday to confirm Alexis Taylor as Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs.


Taylor was first tapped to serve as ODA Director by Governor Kate Brown in 2016.  Prior to her time in Oregon, Taylor served as the deputy under secretary for the Farm and Foreign Agriculture Services at the USDA, where she was responsible for advancing international trade policy and leading efforts with states to support and open new, international market opportunities for U.S. food and agriculture producers.  Additionally, Taylor led the USDA's Women in Agriculture Initiative, which is dedicated to fostering and growing a mentoring network for women pursuing careers in agriculture across the country.


Despite Wednesday’s vote, the Senate has still yet to act on the nomination of Doug McKalip as chief agricultural trade negotiator at USTR.


“I’d like to thank Director Taylor for her committed service to the people of Oregon and wish her my very best in her new role," said Governor Kate Brown.  "Over the last six years, she has led the Oregon Department of Agriculture with purpose, determination, and compassion.  Her commitment to collaboration, equity, and inclusion has been unwavering, even as our state faced unprecedented challenges over the past few years.


"I cannot think of a better nominee for this role. Director Taylor's passion for agriculture, rooted in her Midwest, family-owned farm upbringing, combined with her years of experience in agricultural issues at the local, statewide, and national levels, will serve our country well. I know that she will bring an approach focused on advancing U.S. agriculture and growing our economy, while at the same time working to ensure equity, safety, and collaboration."


“I’m confident Alexis Taylor will do a great job in this important role at USDA and I’m pleased she was finally confirmed," noted American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall.  "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," Duvall continued.  "Alexis will be both. Our team at AFBF looks forward to working with her to pursue new and expanded market opportunities for our agricultural products. 


“I urge the Senate to move quickly to confirm Doug McKalip as chief agricultural trade negotiator at USTR, too. It’s critical for U.S. agriculture to be well represented in trade negotiations and dispute resolution discussions, and this vacancy puts us at a disadvantage.”


"The U.S. Grains Council welcomes the U.S. Senate’s confirmation of Alexis Taylor to serve as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agriculture Affairs," the organization said in a release Wednesday.  "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. We look forward to working with her to promote American agriculture."


"USMEF thanks the U.S. Senate for its confirmation of Alexis Taylor, who will be a tremendous asset to USDA and a champion for U.S. agriculture," noted U.S. Meat Export Federation President and CEO Dan Halstrom.  "USMEF had many opportunities to work with Ms. Taylor in her previous roles at USDA and she brings an exceptionally strong background and track record to this key position."


“Alexis will continue to lead U.S. agriculture to further heights in her new role as she advocates for opportunities to extend the reach of American grown products around the world,” National Association of State Departments of Agriculture CEO Ted McKinney said. “Alexis brings experience, character and a deep understanding of how regulations across the globe matter for individuals in local communities.”


By the way, Taylor served on the 2020-2021 NASDA Board of Directors sharpening states’ impact on federal agricultural policy.  While a NASDA member, she also served on the NASDA Foundation Board from 2018-2022, developing and discovering new resources for state agriculture departments to better serve constituents.


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

More From PNW Ag Network