Senator Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, called on President Biden to fill a couple of key USDA positions that deal with agricultural trade. He wants qualified officials appointed to the positions of Chief Agricultural Negotiator at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs.
Grassley said in the letter to the White House, “I write to you today to express my concern that your administration is not making agricultural trade a priority. Two positions that are essential to agricultural trade have been left vacant, and there is no indication on when they will be filled. Appointing individuals to these two positions will allow the U.S. to expand market access and strengthen our agriculture community.”
He points out that agriculture is essential to the livelihood of the 86,000 family farmers in Iowa and Americans who rely on export markets to sell the country’s abundance of food. Grassley also says, “Every day that passes without qualified leadership in these positions means the U.S. is playing without a full team against our competitors. Agriculture trade issues will continue to matriculate, and these two positions will have a portfolio that impacts every farmer and rancher in the country.”
The National Association of Farm Broadcasting and the American Farm Bureau Federation contributed to this report.