Trump picks Indiana ag secretary, adviser for USDA posts

by Susan Reidy
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WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. – Indiana Agriculture Secretary Ted McKinney is U.S. President Donald Trump’s pick for Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, a new position created this May in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Trump also said he intends to nominate Sam Clovis for Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics. Clovis is currently the senior White House adviser to the USDA. His nomination has been criticized because he doesn’t have a science background.

USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue applauded Trump’s selections.

“For our new under secretary position emphasizing international trade, I have always said that I want someone who wakes up every morning asking how we can sell more American agricultural products in foreign markets,” Perdue said. “Ted McKinney is that person. His longstanding background in agriculture, economic development, and global issues will make him an unapologetic advocate for U.S. products in the world marketplace.”

Ted McKinney Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs
Ted McKinney

McKinney was sworn in as director of Indiana’s agriculture department in 2014. He has more than 30 years of agriculture leadership experience. Prior to his current position, McKinney was director of global corporate affairs for Elanco Animal Health, a subsidiary of Eli Lilly and Company.

He grew up on a family grain and livestock farm, and started his career in the agricultural chemicals business of Elanco Products Co. He joined Dow AgroSciences in 1990, where he spent nearly 20 years in a variety of corporate affairs responsibilities. In 2009, he returned to Elanco in global corporate affairs. During his Dow AgroSciences tenure, he took leave in 2000 to serve as co-founder and interim executive director for the Council for Biotechnology Information, a public information program sponsored by a consortium of companies involved with the development of crop biotechnology.

McKinney has a bachelor’s of science degree in agricultural economics from Purdue University.

About Clovis, Perdue said he has become a trusted adviser and steady hand.

“He looks at every problem with a critical eye, relying on sound science and data, and will be the facilitator and integrator we need,” Perdue said. “Dr. Clovis has served this nation proudly since he was a very young man, and I am happy he is continuing to serve.”

Clovis was chief policy adviser and national co-chair of the Trump-Pence campaign. He joined the campaign from Morningside College, where he was a professor of economics. Clovis has a bachelor’s of science degree in political science from the U.S. Air Force Academy, a master’s of business administration from Golden Gate University and a doctorate in public administration from the University of Alabama. He is also a graduate of both the Army and Air Force War Colleges. 

He served 25 years in the U.S. Air Force and retired as the inspector general of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and the United States Space Command and was a command pilot.  

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