Ag News

Biden nominates Iowa native for USDA Undersecretary of Trade of Foreign Agricultural Affairs

IARN — Today President Biden nominated Iowa native Alexis Taylor for the role of Under Secretary of Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs at USDA. Currently the director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture, Taylor previously worked on trade issues at USDA and on agricultural issues for former Iowa Congressman Leonard Boswell.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack touched on Taylors nomination.

“Alexis Taylor has dedicated her life to public service,” Secretary Vilsack said. “She has not only spent her career serving the American people through her work in U.S. agricultural and trade policy, but also as a Veteran of the U.S. Army. Her nomination builds upon USDA’s commitment to link U.S. agriculture to the world to enhance export opportunities for American farmers and producers and increase global food security. Alexis currently serves as the Director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture, a position she was appointed to in December 2016 by Governor Kate Brown, where she oversees policy directives for Oregon’s 38 programs and its 500 employees. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and minor in Communications from Iowa State University. Alexis is a collaborative leader with a track record of working towards large-scale solutions in partnership with the communities she serves. This spirit and approach position her uniquely for this role and will ensure cohesiveness between USDA and the Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs team. I am confident Alexis is the right person to lead as we continue to address global food security, promote American exports across the globe and strengthen trade relationships with our global partners.”

Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Executive Director Monte Shaw said they enjoyed working with Taylor previously and look forward to working with her again.

“While this post has been left open longer than we would have liked, IRFA is very excited to see Alexis Taylor put forward for this important position,” Shaw said. “First off, she’ll be able to hit the ground running. We enjoyed working with Taylor during her time as a staffer for former Congressman Leonard Boswell and in her role at USDA during President Obama’s administration. Taylor understands ag and the importance of trade. She brings a ton of experience to the position, and there’s no doubt she’ll be a great advocate for expanding ag and biofuels exports. IRFA strongly urges the U.S Senate to support Taylor as the next USDA Under Secretary of Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs.”

Senator Chuck Grassley, a senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, issued a statement applauding Taylor’s nomination and calling for the Biden administration to fill the position of Chief Agricultural Negotiator at the office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).

“Congratulations to Alexis Taylor on her nomination to serve as the USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs,” Grassley said. “While I’m very pleased an Iowan whom I know to be talented and hardworking has been nominated for this role, the announcement is long overdue. I once again urge the Biden administration to also nominate a qualified individual for Chief Agricultural Negotiator at USTR without delay. Iowa farmers and producers across the country rely on a robust trade system to export their goods. And as I’ve said for months, the Biden administration should be doing more to develop additional market access initiatives to support farmers, grow our agricultural economy and strengthen our trade alliances around the world. This has become even more important recently, as Putin continues waging war in Ukraine, and China – our number one trade competitor – watches closely. U.S. agricultural producers need to have a leading voice on the world stage who can advocate for free and fair trade, especially in the Indo-Pacific region. Thankfully, Alexis Taylor has the right background and experience to hit the ground running, and I look forward to supporting her throughout the Senate confirmation process ahead.”

Taylor has served as a policy expert on ag issues for several members of Congress on Capitol Hill and managed the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services. An Iraq veteran, Taylor grew up in Iowa on her family’s 160-year-old farm.

Taylor’s nomination will go before the Senate for final confirmation.

Story courtesy of the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network.

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)