North America
WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — Five employees with the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) were sworn in as Foreign Service officers during a ceremony at USDA headquarters in Washington, D.C., on July 9. The new officers will begin their Foreign Service careers serving as agricultural attachés at U.S. embassies and diplomatic missions across the globe.

“Our attachés are the eyes, ears, and voice for U.S. farmers and ranchers in foreign countries around the world,” said Ted McKinney, USDA Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs. “Since coming onboard at USDA nine months ago, I’ve traveled to 11 countries and have personally experienced the exceptional work they do to protect and advance American agriculture’s interests abroad. I’m looking forward to working with these new officers as we continue promoting U.S. agricultural products and breaking down trade barriers. With trade one of USDA’s top priorities, their job has never been more critical than it is today.”

The FAS staff includes approximately 140 Foreign Service officers posted around the world, monitoring and reporting on global agricultural production and trade matters, identifying export opportunities, facilitating trade, working to enhance food security and supporting U.S. foreign policy objectives.

“Joining the Foreign Service is a competitive and rigorous process and these five individuals have risen to the challenge, demonstrating that they have what it will take to successfully represent the interests of American agriculture throughout the world,” said Ken Isley, administrator at the FAS.

The officers sworn in on July 9 were:

  • Ryan Bedford, from Ogden, Utah, assigned to the FAS Office of Agricultural Affairs (OAA) in Manila, Philippines;
  • Barrett Bumpas, from Jacksboro, Texas, assigned to the FAS Agricultural Trade Office (ATO) in Tokyo;
  • Rhiannon Elms, from Martinsburg, West Virginia, assigned to the ATO in Mexico City;
  • Lindsay Malecha, from Fort Worth, Texas, assigned to the ATO in Guangzhou, China; and
  • Evgenia Ustinova, from Syracuse, New York, assigned to the OAA in Brasilia, Brazil.