The selections for several agricultural trade advisory committees were recently announced by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, appointing 140 private-sector members to the various committees. There is a total of six Agricultural Technical Advisory Committees (ATAC) for trade, as well as an Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee (APAC) for trade.
Nearly half of the ATAC for Trade in Fruits and Vegetables will be representing California companies and organizations. Some of the appointees include Julie Adams from the Almond Board of California, Alicia Rockwell from Blue Diamond Growers, and Michelle McNeil Connelly of the California Walnut Commission. Other Californians appointed to the committee include Marcy L. Martin from the California Fresh Fruit Association, Joel Nelsen from California Citrus Mutual, Kenneth Melban of the California Avocado Commission, and Mike Montna from the California Tomato Growers Association. Several Californians have been appointed to APAC, including Rayne Thompson from Sunkist Growers, and Elaine Travino from the Almond Alliance of California.
The California wine industry will have appointees serving in multiple committees. Two representatives from the Wine Institute will be serving on two different trade committees. Robert P. Koch will be serving on the APAC, while Charles Jefferson has been appointed to the Trade in Processed Foods committee. George R. Davis from Porter Creek Vineyards will also be serving on the ATAC for Trade in Processed Foods.
The advisory committee system was established by Congress in 1974 and it is jointly managed by the USDA and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. The system is designed to ensure American trade policy and negotiating objectives correspond with the public- and private-sector interests of the U.S. agricultural industry. Other trade advisory committees include the ATAC for Trade in Animals and Animal Products, the ATAC for Trade in Grains, Feed, Oilseeds, and Planting Seeds, the ATAC for Trade in Sweeteners and Sweetener Products, and the ATAC for Trade in Tobacco, Cotton, and Peanuts. Appointees will serve until June 15, 2023, with committees being supplemented by additional appointments over the next four years.