McKalip tapped by Biden to become chief ag negotiator

A senior advisor to the secretary of agriculture has been selected for nomination to become the chief agricultural negotiator for the office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

“Doug McKalip is highly qualified and exceptionally capable of serving the American people as chief agricultural negotiator,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “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.”

McKalip, who previously served as a senior advisor at the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, senior policy advisor for Rural Affairs at the White House Domestic Policy Council, and director of legislative and public affairs for U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, was announced on June 8 as the nominee by President Joe Biden.

National Grain and Feed Association President and CEO Mike Seyfert congratulated McKalip on his nomination.

“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,” Seyfert said. “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.”

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor expressed her support for the nomination.

“Growth Energy strongly supports President Biden’s nomination of Doug McKalip as USTR Chief Agricultural Negotiator,” said Skor. “A level playing field for international trade is vital to the success and growth of our American agriculture and biofuels industries, and Mr. McKalip knows this well after decades of experience in public service, including in his current role at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“We urge a swift confirmation of Mr. McKalip so he can lead USTR’s efforts to support the large role our rural communities play in the global economy, particularly in keeping costs down at the pump and decarbonizing the transportation sector. Once confirmed, we look forward to working with Mr. McKalip to maintain and open new global export markets for America’s biofuel producers and farmers.”

The nation’s largest corn organization applauded the move that it says important.

“This position is important to corn growers,” said Brooke S. Appleton, vice president of public policy at the National Corn Growers Association. “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.”

McKalip has worked on agricultural policy and trade for over 28 years. He most recently served as senior advisor to Vilsack. The position, which requires a Senate confirmation, is charged with conducting and overseeing international negotiations related to trade in agricultural products.

The American Soybean Association welcomes the long-awaited announcement from Biden that he has nominated McKalip to fill an important role in trade.

Stephen Censky, ASA CEO, said, "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."

ASA urges the Senate to swiftly confirm McKalip’s nomination.

Dave Bergmeier can be reached at 620-227-1822 or [email protected].