Ag trade nomination of McKalip moves forward

September 15, 2022

The Senate Finance Committee approved the nomination of Doug McKalip as Chief Agricultural Negotiator by a vote of 27-0. Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) said, “Doug McKalip is a strong choice to take on these challenges as our top trade advocate for American agriculture. He has fans on both sides of this committee, and we expect to work closely with him once he’s confirmed.

The chief agricultural negotiator is a position within the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, not the Agriculture Department, which is why the nomination falls under the Finance Committee’s jurisdiction. In discussing McKalip’s qualifications, Wyden said: “Doug McKalip is a public servant with nearly 30 years of experience in roles focused on ag policy and helping rural America get ahead. He’s currently a top advisor to Agriculture Secretary Vilsack on trade, ag safety, national security and a host of other issues. His experience includes several other leadership positions at the Department of Agriculture and the Domestic Policy Council.” McKalip’s nomination now moves on to the full Senate.

Farm groups have been eager to have a confirmed agriculture negotiator and have also pushed for a confirmed trade under secretary at USDA. That position does fall under the Senate Agriculture Committee’s jurisdiction, but so far, no confirmation hearing has been announced for the Biden administration’s nominee, Alexis Taylor.