USDA and USTR Name New Members To Agricultural Trade Advisory Committees

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman today announced the appointment of 19 additional members to six agricultural trade advisory committees.

“The agricultural trade advisory committees provide great insight into trade issues for the United States. Hearing from such a wide variety of agricultural experts helps us formulate our trade strategy and keep American exports growing to record numbers,” Vilsack said. “Agricultural trade plays a vital role in the health of our economy, and the new members of the committees will bring welcome new perspectives.”

Congress established the advisory committee system in 1974 to ensure U.S. agricultural trade policy objectives reflect U.S. commercial and economic interests. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) jointly manage the committees.

“A primary objective of President Obama’s trade agenda is to unlock economic opportunity for American farmers and ranchers,” said Froman. “As we fight to open markets across the world to more U.S. exports, direct insight from the American agricultural community is essential.  I welcome these well-qualified individuals, and look forward to hearing their advice.  I also look forward to continued engagement with the public with regard to U.S. agricultural trade policy and how it can continue to benefit American families.” 

Since 2009, nearly one-third of U.S. economic growth has been due to exports. In 2013, American exports were a record $2.28 trillion. Agricultural exports alone reached a record $140.9 billion and supported nearly one million jobs in the last fiscal year. 

The committees provide advice and information to the Secretary of Agriculture and the U.S. Trade Representative on negotiating objectives and positions, and other matters related to the development and administration of U.S. agricultural trade policy.  

The Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee is comprised of senior representatives from across the agricultural community and provides advice on general trade policy matters. The Agricultural Technical Advisory Committees offer technical advice and information on specific product sectors. 

The new appointments became effective June 15, 2014.  Nominations for committee members are accepted at any time and appointments are made periodically, usually for a period of four years. More information is available at  Questions may be directed to USDA Trade Advisory Committee staff at 202-720-6219 or via email to


Newly appointed members by committee are:

Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee (APAC)

Name Organization
Chad Blindauer                                             Blindauer Farms                                                                     

Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade in Animals and Animal Products



Shelly McKee

USA Poultry and Egg Export Council

David Carter

National Bison Association

Stephen Sothmann

U.S. Hides, Skins and Leather Association


Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade in Fruits and Vegetables



William Braswell

Florida Blueberry Growers

Brett Erickson

Texas International Produce Association

Jake Lewin

Organic Certification CCOF Certification Services, LLC

Mathew M. McInerney

Western Growers Association

Melissa Poole

Roll Global

Mark Powers

Northwest Horticultural Council

Daniel Ritchey

Riverfront Packing Company


Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade in Grains, Feed, Oilseeds and Planting Seeds



Carlton Bridgeforth

Bridgeforth International Association

Paul B. Green

North American Millers Association

Paul E. Shubeck

Poet Industries

Gina Tumbarello

American Feed Industry Association


Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade in Processed Foods



Audrae Erickson

Mead Johnson Nutrition

Melissa Peabody

The Starbucks Coffee Company

Maia Jack

American Frozen Foods Institute


Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade in Sweeteners



Cassandra Kuball

Corn Refiners Association