WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Widespread Praise for Doug McKalip’s Nomination to Serve as USTR’s Chief Agricultural Negotiator

June 09, 2022

Yesterday, President Biden announced his intent to nominate Doug McKalip to serve as Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the Office of the United States Trade Representative. Doug is a highly qualified nominee with decades of experience in public service, including serving as a trusted advisor to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. If confirmed, he will help build on USTR and USDA’s work to expand market access for U.S. farmers, producers, ranchers, and exporters, while addressing key food security challenges that millions face.
Here’s what they are saying about Doug McKalip’s nomination:
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack: “Doug McKalip is highly qualified and exceptionally capable of serving the American people as Chief Agricultural Negotiator. Having served as a key agriculture policy official for nearly three decades, he has worked on every aspect of farming from soil conservation, and the supply chain to dealing with sensitive trade and national security matters. Through his service, he has represented American farmers around the world and advocated for U.S. agricultural products and technology. Doug has been a key member of my team throughout my tenure as Secretary of Agriculture and has demonstrated a consistent ability to tackle difficult issues and to develop bi-partisan solutions to challenges when opposing views exist. These skills will serve him well as Chief Agricultural Negotiator for the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR). We will miss having Doug here at USDA, but know that American agriculture and USTR will be well served by having him in this new role. I urge the U.S. Senate to confirm him at the earliest possible opportunity.” [Statement]
Reuters: Biden nominates longtime USDA adviser to agricultural trade post
“U.S. President Joe Biden intends to nominate Doug McKalip, a veteran agricultural and trade policy expert, to be the U.S. Trade Representative's next chief agricultural trade negotiator, the White House said on Wednesday. McKalip, a longtime U.S. Department of Agriculture official, has served as the senior adviser to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on trade, national security and animal and plant health regulations since March 2021.”
Roll Call: Biden picks USDA veteran for USTR agriculture negotiator post
“McKalip has held a variety of USDA posts over nearly 29 years. He has had stints as senior adviser to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, senior adviser to the secretary, and legislative and public affairs director for the Natural Resources Conservation Service. He also served as senior policy adviser on rural affairs for the White House Domestic Policy Council during the Obama administration. His responsibilities over the years make him familiar with commodity markets, trade issues and subjects such as biotechnology.”
Agri-Pulse: Biden to nominate USDA advisor McKalip as USTR ag negotiator
“McKalip, a familiar face in the halls of USDA for years, was named as one of Vilsack’s advisers on 'matters relating to trade, national security, animal and plant health regulations, and a wide portfolio of domestic and international issues' in April last year, according to the White House.”
Progressive Farmer: At Last, Ag Trade Negotiator Nominated
“Agricultural groups on Wednesday gave their nod of approval to the long-awaited nomination for a new chief agricultural negotiator at the U.S. Trade Representative's Office (USTR). Doug McKalip, who has more than 29 years of service at USDA, currently is a senior adviser to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. McKalip works in policy and regulatory issues at USDA with a focus already on issues such as international security, biotechnology, research and renewable energy, according to his biography. McKalip also served as senior policy adviser for rural affairs at the White House Domestic Policy Council during the Obama administration.”
Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden [D-OR]: “It's vitally important for Ambassador Tai to have a full team that can ensure USA-grown wheat, berries, meat and other ag products can reach markets around the world. Mr. McKalip has an impressive history of public service in this field. I look forward to reviewing his nomination and filling this high-profile role." [Statement]
Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow [D-MI]: “The Chief Agricultural Negotiator position is essential when it comes to growing new markets abroad and protecting our producers from unfair trade practices. That’s why I’ve led my colleagues in urging the White House to fill this important position. As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, I look forward to reviewing Mr. McKalip’s nomination.” [Statement]
Congressman Adrian Smith [R-NE]: “We must seize every opportunity for US producers. I'm glad President Biden finally answered my call to fill key agriculture trade posts in the administration, including the Chief Ag Negotiator role at USTR. I trust the Senate will thoroughly vet Doug McKalip's qualifications.” [Tweet]

U.S. Grains Council: “Doug McKalip has extensive international experience and more than 28 years of government service at the USDA. He will be able to use his strong background in farm and trade policy and his knowledge of biotechnology to advance trade priorities and open markets for U.S. corn, sorghum, barley and co-products. Upon his confirmation, we look forward to working with him in his pivotal role at USTR.” [Statement]
Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation: “The position of USTR’s Chief Agricultural Negotiator plays a central role in driving trade policy and expanding overseas markets for dairy products. Doug is an excellent choice given his strong background in agriculture, earned while serving in numerous positions within the White House and USDA. He brings an informed perspective on how to best drive policy and support American agriculture and he will be ready to lead from day one. NMPF encourages the Senate to confirm him without delay, so that he may hit the ground running.” [Statement]
Krysta Harden, President and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council: “Doug has spent a lifetime in service to America’s farmers and rural communities, and we are grateful for his dedication. He has seen firsthand how opening new markets and lowering tariffs on American dairy products have been essential to the success or our farmers, manufacturers and workers.” [Statement]
Chuck Conner, President and CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives: “NCFC applauds the announcement by President Joe Biden today that he intends to nominate Doug McKalip to be the chief agricultural negotiator in the office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). Filling this role is critically important as American agriculture looks to expand markets across the globe and respond to the critical food crisis in the developing world caused by Russia’s attack on Ukraine. Throughout his three-decade career at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), he has been a champion of America’s farmer, ranchers and rural communities, making him an excellent choice for this role. Once his nomination is formally submitted, we urge the Senate to take it up without delay and vote for confirmation.” [Statement]
Stephen Censky, CEO of the American Soybean Association: “U.S. agriculture faces numerous challenges on the global marketplace, and we are thrilled President Biden has nominated Doug McKalip to serve as Chief Agricultural Negotiator at USTR. Doug understands these challenges deeply from his years of service at USDA and in the White House, and ASA is glad to have that expertise added to the team at USTR. U.S. soybean growers are excited to work with Doug in his new role.” [Statement]
Jim Bair, President and CEO of the U.S. Apple Association: “Mr. McKalip knows our industry and knows our issues. We have been communicating with him just over the last few weeks about trade issues critical to the health of the U.S. apple industry. This is a home-run pick. We congratulate him and thank the President for nominating him.” [Statement]
Mike Seyfert, President and CEO of the National Grain and Feed Association: “Doug McKalip is eminently qualified to serve as chief agricultural negotiator with decades of experience in public service and deep knowledge in agricultural trade and national security. NGFA has worked with him on myriad issues important to U.S. agriculture. He has the experience and expertise to secure greater market access for U.S. products and ensure enforcement of clear and fair rules with our trade partners so the U.S. food and agriculture industry may fairly compete in the global economy. NGFA urges the Senate to approve his nomination expeditiously, as it is critical to ensure the role of chief agricultural negotiator is filled so that U.S. agriculture is fully represented in trade negotiations at the highest level.” [Statement]
Brian Kuehl, Executive Director of Farmers for Free Trade: “Mr. McKalip’s long service at USDA should prepare him well for fighting for the needs of our nation’s farm and food interests. We need aggressive action to open markets for American ag, particularly as we struggle to compete globally due to trade policies that have encouraged protectionism and erected too many barriers to trade. USTR knows well that U.S. farmers and ranchers export more than 20 percent of what they produce and that those exports are essential to their prosperity. We must continue to expand and protect American food and ag exports.” [Statement]
Becky Rasdall, Vice President of Trade Policy and International Affairs for the International Dairy Foods Association: “IDFA is pleased with President Biden’s intent to nominate Doug McKalip to serve as USTR’s Chief Agricultural Negotiator. Mr. McKalip has served in the federal government with distinction over several decades and administrations, demonstrating a commitment to furthering the interests of U.S. agriculture and those who produce and market U.S. food and agricultural products. IDFA is confident that, should he be confirmed, Mr. McKalip will work within USTR and the White House to continue to advance market opportunities for U.S. dairy around the world. We strongly urge the U.S. Senate to expedite a hearing to advance his nomination.” [Statement]
Brooke S. Appleton, Vice President of Public Policy at the National Corn Growers Association: “This position is important to corn growers. We are very pleased to see this nomination in place and moving forward, and we look forward to working with Mr. McKalip on some of our key trade issues.” [Statement]