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Senate confirms USDA trade undersecretary

Alexis Taylor will be the new top agricultural trade official.

2 Lisa Selfie December 2020 Headshot

The U.S. Senate voted on December 21 to confirm Alexis Taylor as U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)'s new top agricultural trade official.

Taylor will serve as the USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agriculture Affairs.

Taylor had served as director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture since 2016. Before that, Taylor worked at USDA in the Obama administration in the Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services area. Taylor also had worked on Capitol Hill for members of Congress. As an Army reservist in college, Taylor also served a year in Iraq.

The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) welcomed the confirmation.

"Alexis has a strong background in agriculture from growing up on a farm in Iowa and also has a deep knowledge of trade issues from her time on Capitol Hill and with USDA in previous roles," said USGC in a statement. "We look forward to working with her to promote American agriculture."

In May, the White House had nominated Taylor to be USDA's undersecretary for trade and foreign affairs — an ambassador responsible for overseeing international negotiations related to agricultural trade, developing USDA's trade policies, opening foreign markets to U.S. farm goods and promoting American agriculture.

At the time, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Taylor is a collaborative leader with a track record of working toward large-scale solutions in partnership with the communities she serves.

"This spirit and approach position her uniquely for this role and will ensure cohesiveness between USDA and the Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs team," said Vilsack.

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