Farm groups call on Senate to confirm McKalip, Taylor nominations

Ag groups across the country are calling on Congress to confirm nominees for two key ag positions before the end of the year.

Brian Kuehl, executive director of Farmers for Free Trade, says a letter this week asks Senate leaders to secure the confirmation of Doug McKalip as Chief Ag Negotiator for the Office of the US Trade Representative and Alexis Taylor as Under Secretary of Agriculture for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs at USDA.

“While our competitors, Australia or the EU, are out there cutting (trade) deals, we don’t have a team on the field,” Kuehl said. “We’ve got half of a team at best.”

Bill Northey with the Agribusiness Association of Iowa tells Brownfield he’s concerned the positions have been vacant for two years.

“If somebody doesn’t get confirmed by the end of December and a new Congress comes in January, I believe that folks need to be renominated again,” Northey said. “Sometimes they have to file paperwork again and go through hearings again.”

In the letter, the groups say American agriculture needs experienced leaders representing farmers in international negotiations.

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