Hoosier Ag Today is in Kansas City, MO this week for the National Association of Farm Broadcasting annual convention. We will be here throughout the week speaking with some of agriculture’s top journalists and bringing this information to you.
The first person we heard from was former Under Secretary of Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney on agricultural trade in the Biden administration.
âIf there is anyone who is frustrated with the lack of attention given to international agricultural trade, I think we have to remember that candidate Biden first campaigned on domestic policy and I think that he focuses on that. So whether you like it or not, elections have these consequences and we see it. “
McKinney didn’t want to be too critical though. He said he admired some of Biden’s appointments.
âI think Ambassador Tai is a great choice. Secretary Vilsack, well known to all of us, who spent many years as head of the Dairy Export Council, has immersed himself deeply in business issues, which are sometimes positive but often frustrating. So he’s coming back with a lot more experience than he could have had under the Obama administration, and I think that’s good.
McKinney also welcomes the appointment of Elaine Trevino, President of the Almond Alliance of California, as Chief Agriculture Negotiator.
His former post of Undersecretary of Commerce is still vacant.
âI hope they get there. Rumors have it that there have been candidates, but for various reasons they have not quite succeeded in meeting the ethical guidelines. The best example, from what I’m told, is that if there is a farmer appointed, they are told that he has to sell the farm to do the job. Well, I hope it doesn’t, but I have to believe Secretary Vilsack is working overtime trying to find this role because it is very important to maintain the relationship.
McKinney is now the CEO of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture.