ARLINGTON, VA. and WASHINGTON — On June 9, the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA), the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) and Pet Food Institute (PFI) welcomed the nomination of Doug McKalip to chief agricultural negotiator for the Office of US Trade Representative (USTR).

Currently, McKalip serves as senior advisor to US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and has served with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) for about 29 years. McKalip previously worked as senior adviser for the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), senior policy adviser of rural affairs for the White House Domestic Policy Council, and director of legislative and public affairs for the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.

“Doug McKalip is eminently qualified to serve as chief agricultural negotiator with decades of experience in public service and deep knowledge in agricultural trade and national security," said Mike Seyfert, president and chief executive officer of NGFA. "NGFA has worked with him on myriad issues important to US agriculture. He has the experience and expertise to secure greater market access for US products and ensure enforcement of clear and fair rules with our trade partners so the US food and agriculture industry may fairly compete in the global economy.

“NGFA urges the Senate to approve his nomination expeditiously, as it is critical to ensure the role of chief agricultural negotiator is filled so that US agriculture is fully represented in trade negotiations at the highest level,” Seyfert added.

According to AFIA, the US animal and pet food manufacturing industry relies on trade. Exports in 2021 saw an increase of 20% from 2020, rising to more than $7.5 billion in products, $2 billion in pet food and $5.5 billion in feed.

“We are pleased to hear of Doug McKalip’s impending nomination as chief agricultural negotiator,” said Constance Cullman, president and chief executive officer of AFIA. “His experience working at the White House and advising for the USDA makes him an ideal candidate for representing and advocating on behalf of US agricultural interests to expand export opportunities and maintain US competitiveness in the global marketplace. We look forward to working with McKalip to leverage opportunities to tackle trade barriers and open new markets for the US animal food industry.”

With supply chain disruptions continuously hitting both the pet food and agricultural industries, PFI is hopeful McKalip’s appointment could move along initiatives to ease some of the disruptions.

“Supply chain issues have been a source of difficulty for US pet food makers and have only been exasperated by the war in Ukraine,” said Dana Brooks, president and chief executive officer of PFI. “Doug’s three-decade career at the USDA makes him the ideal person to fill this critical role and protect the interests of farmers. We urge the Senate to confirm him quickly.”

Read more about personnel changes throughout the industry.