WASHINGTON, DC, US — President Joe Biden has announced his intent to nominate Doug McKalip as the chief agricultural negotiator in the Office of the US Trade Representative.
McKalip is in his 29th year of federal service as an agriculture policy leader and trade expert. He has served as senior adviser to the Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on all agricultural matters relating to trade, national security, animal and plant health regulations, and a wide portfolio of domestic and international issues, since March 2021. Earlier, he served in a leadership capacity in the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Biotechnology Regulatory Services. He also was a senior adviser to the Secretary of Agriculture from 2015 to September 2016, and also was acting chief of staff.
McKalip was senior adviser for agriculture and rural affairs at the White House Domestic Policy Council, where he counseled President Barack Obama on issues involving farm, ranch, and rural policy. He was the director of the White House Rural Council and coordinated the Executive Branch-wide response to the 2012-13 drought. In addition, he has held a variety of other roles at the US Department of Agriculture, including as confidential assistant to the Secretary, and director of legislative and public affairs for the National Resources Conservation Service at the USDA.
He received a bachelor’s degree in political science at the University of Pittsburgh and a master’s degree in public policy at the American University in Washington, DC. He is a graduate of the Executive Fellows Program at Harvard Kennedy School of Government (2020), a fellow in the California Agricultural Leadership DC Exchange (2018), and a graduate of the Federal Executive Institute in Charlottesville, Virginia, US (2005). He was also a participant in the Student Council for US Affairs at the United States Military Academy at West Point.
“USTR’s chief agricultural negotiator will play a pivotal role in maintaining and building on these successes on behalf of America’s workers, farmers, ranchers, and producers,” said Katherine Tai, US Trade Representative. “Doug McKalip is a highly qualified nominee with decades of experience in public service. His institutional knowledge of USDA spans multiple administrations, from leading different offices to serving as trusted adviser to Secretary Vilsack, and will help us continue the close collaboration between our agencies that has enabled so much success.
“Russia’s war against Ukraine has disrupted the global supply of commodities, which increases the risk of food insecurity for millions of people. If confirmed, Doug will join a leadership team sharply focused on addressing these issues. I hope the United States Senate will swiftly consider Doug’s nomination and confirm him to this position.”
The National Association of Wheat Growers and US Wheat Associates were among the industry groups to welcome the nomination of McKalip.
“NAWG applauds President Biden nominating Doug McKalip to this critical role, and we encourage the Senate Finance Committee to work quickly in moving forward this nomination,” said Chandler Goule, chief executive officer of NAWG. “I know Doug very well from his decades of public service at the USDA, and he will be able to hit the ground running on day one. There are numerous challenges facing the United States when it comes to ag trade, but we are eager to see Doug’s nomination move quickly so he may begin important work at USTR to advocate for U.S. wheat farmers.”
Vince Peterson, chairman of USW, added, “Trade is incredibly important to US wheat producers, who export about half their production each year. That makes securing market access and the work of USTR critical. We welcome the nomination and look forward to him being confirmed and in place to advocate for agriculture at USTR.”