When a candidate is nominated or selected for a leadership position in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it’s not uncommon for industry statements to seem somewhat mellow on the news, often falling back on generic statements like, “We look forward to working with Candidate XYZ.” However, President Biden’s decision to appoint Alexis Taylor, who is currently director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture, as undersecretary for trade and U.S. agricultural affairs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture has drawn genuine support from many key agricultural players.
“I cannot think of a better person to represent the Biden administration on this issue,” said Brooke Appleton, vice president of public policy at the National Corn Growers Association.
Additionally, Ted McKinney, CEO of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA), said, “I offer my enthusiastic endorsement for her candidacy. We know Director Taylor’s passion for seeking market opportunities for American farmers, ranchers and food producers of all types. Her previous experience at USDA, her character and her deep understanding of how regulations across the globe matter for individuals in our communities will benefit all Americans.”
Taylor is an Iowa native, a U.S. Army Reservist, and oversaw the USDA’s Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services before moving to Oregon and being appointed as director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture in December 2016. Taylor also helped pioneer the development of the NASDA Foundation Women’s Farm2Food Accelerator program, enabling budding women food and beverage entrepreneurs to reach new markets for their products.
In an interview shortly after Taylor was appointed to Director for the Oregon Department of Agriculture, NASDA asked her, “In seven words or less, what is some advice you would offer your fellow agriculturalists?”
Taylor responded, “Challenge yourself and others to think differently.”
House Agriculture Committee Republican Leader Glenn “GT” Thompson noted: “While I would have preferred to see this nomination much sooner, I am pleased President Biden has selected Alexis Taylor to serve as the Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs. This position is immensely helpful to our producers, will expand market access and trade promotion opportunities, and can assist the Administration in navigating the unyielding global supply chain crisis.”
Taylor will have to go through the confirmation process by the Senate before formally being installed in the position.