Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), in cooperation with the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), is accepting nominations for new members to serve on its agricultural trade advisory committees. Nominations received by Nov. 18, 2016, will be considered for the next round of appointments.
“USDA and USTR rely on the agricultural trade advisory committees to provide significant insight into trade issues for the United States. Hearing the diverse views of our agricultural experts helps us formulate trade strategy and keep American exports growing,” Vilsack said. “Committee members serve an invaluable role to help enact trade agreements and trade policies that benefit America’s farmers, ranchers and rural America.”
“American farmers and ranchers raise the best agricultural products in the world. Their livelihoods, families, and communities depend on fair, enforceable trade rules in order to export those high-quality products to markets around the globe,” said Ambassador Froman. “We need our agricultural partners working hand-in-hand with us as we open new export markets for America’s producers. The guidance provided by these committees is crucial, and the continued partnership of America’s agricultural leaders remains imperative as we work to harness the benefits of trade for all U.S. farmers.”
Members of the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee (APAC) advise USDA and USTR on operating existing U.S. trade agreements, on negotiating new agreements and on other trade policy matters. Members of the Agricultural Technical Advisory Committees (ATACs) represent specific commodity sectors and provide technical advice and guidance on trade issues that affect both domestic and foreign production. The six ATACs focus on trade in:
• Animals and animal products;
• Fruits and vegetables;
• Grains, feed, oilseeds and planting seeds;
• Processed foods;
• Sweeteners and sweetener products; and
• Tobacco, cotton and peanuts.
Committee members represent a cross-section of U.S. food and agricultural stakeholders and must have knowledge of agriculture and trade matters. Committee members, who serve four-year terms, must be U.S. citizens, qualify for a security clearance, and serve without compensation for time, travel or expenses. The committees generally meet in Washington, D.C., at least twice a year.
Nominations must be received by 5 p.m. ET on Nov. 18, 2016. Nominations received after that date will be considered for future appointments as appropriate to maintain staggered terms. All nomination materials should be mailed in a single, complete package to: Thomas Vilsack, Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-1001, Attn: APAC/ATACs. Courtesy electronic copies of the nomination materials should be sent to ATACs@fas.usda.gov.
USDA works to strengthen and support American agriculture, an industry that supports one in 11 American jobs, provides American consumers with more than 80 percent of the food we consume, ensures that Americans spend less of their paychecks at the grocery store than most people in other countries, and supports markets for homegrown renewable energy and materials. Since 2009, USDA has provided $5.6 billion in disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; expanded risk management tools with products like Whole Farm Revenue Protection; and helped farm businesses grow with $36 billion in farm credit. The Department has engaged its resources to support a strong next generation of farmers and ranchers by improving access to land and capital; building new markets and market opportunities; and extending new conservation opportunities. USDA has developed new markets for rural-made products, including more than 2,700 biobased products through USDA’s BioPreferred program; and invested $64 billion in infrastructure and community facilities to help improve the quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/results.