USDA and USTR Name New Members to Agricultural Trade Advisory Committees

Dan General, Industry News Release

usda-logoAgriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman today announced the appointment of 19 additional members to six agricultural trade advisory committees.

“The agricultural trade advisory committees provide great insight into trade issues for the United States. Hearing from such a wide variety of agricultural experts helps us formulate our trade strategy and keep American exports growing to record numbers,” Vilsack said. “Agricultural trade plays a vital role in the health of our economy, and the new members of the committees will bring welcome new perspectives.”

Congress established the advisory committee system in 1974 to ensure U.S. agricultural trade policy objectives reflect U.S. commercial and economic interests. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) jointly manage the committees.

“A primary objective of President Obama’s trade agenda is to unlock economic opportunity for American farmers and ranchers,” said Froman. “As we fight to open markets across the world to more U.S. exports, direct insight from the American agricultural community is essential. I welcome these well-qualified individuals, and look forward to hearing their advice. I also look forward to continued engagement with the public with regard to U.S. agricultural trade policy and how it can continue to benefit American families.”

Since 2009, nearly one-third of U.S. economic growth has been due to exports. In 2013, American exports were a record $2.28 trillion. Agricultural exports alone reached a record $140.9 billion and supported nearly one million jobs in the last fiscal year. The past five years represent the strongest period for U.S. exports in the history of the United States.

The committees provide advice and information to the Secretary of Agriculture and the U.S. Trade Representative on negotiating objectives and positions, and other matters related to the development and administration of U.S. agricultural trade policy.

The Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee is comprised of senior representatives from across the agricultural community and provides advice on general trade policy matters. The Agricultural Technical Advisory Committees offer technical advice and information on specific product sectors.

The new appointments became effective June 15, 2014. Nominations for committee members are accepted at any time and appointments are made periodically, usually for a period of four years. More information is available at Questions may be directed to USDA Trade Advisory Committee staff at 202-720-6219 or via email to

Newly appointed members by committee are:

Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee (APAC)

Name Organization
Chad Blindauer Blindauer Farms

Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade in Animals and Animal Products

Name Organization
Shelly McKee USA Poultry and Egg Export Council
David Carter National Bison Association
Stephen Sothmann U.S. Hides, Skins and Leather Association

Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade in Fruits and Vegetables

Name Organization
William Braswell Florida Blueberry Growers
Brett Erickson Texas International Produce Association
Jake Lewin Organic Certification CCOF Certification Services, LLC
Mathew M. McInerney Western Growers Association
Melissa Poole Roll Global
Mark Powers Northwest Horticultural Council
Daniel Ritchey Riverfront Packing Company

Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade in Grains, Feed, Oilseeds and Planting Seeds

Name Organization
Carlton Bridgeforth Bridgeforth International Association
Paul B. Green North American Millers Association
Paul E. Shubeck Poet Industries
Gina Tumbarello American Feed Industry Association

Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade in Processed Foods

Name Organization
Audrae Erickson Mead Johnson Nutrition
Melissa Peabody The Starbucks Coffee Company
Maia Jack American Frozen Foods Institute

Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade in Sweeteners

Name Organization
Cassandra Kuball Corn Refiners Association