Skip to main content

USDA and USTR Name New Members to Agricultural Trade Advisory Committees

WASHINGTON, June 26, 2014 — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman today announced the appointment of 19 additional members to six agricultural trade advisory committees.

"The agricultural trade advisory committees provide great insight into trade issues for the United States. Hearing from such a wide variety of agricultural experts helps us formulate our trade strategy and keep American exports growing to record numbers," Vilsack said. "Agricultural trade plays a vital role in the health of our economy, and the new members of the committees will bring welcome new perspectives."

Congress established the advisory committee system in 1974 to ensure U.S. agricultural trade policy objectives reflect U.S. commercial and economic interests. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) jointly manage the committees.

"A primary objective of President Obama's trade agenda is to unlock economic opportunity for American farmers and ranchers," said Froman. "As we fight to open markets across the world to more U.S. exports, direct insight from the American agricultural community is essential. I welcome these well-qualified individuals, and look forward to hearing their advice. I also look forward to continued engagement with the public with regard to U.S. agricultural trade policy and how it can continue to benefit American families."

Since 2009, nearly one-third of U.S. economic growth has been due to exports. In 2013, American exports were a record $2.28 trillion. Agricultural exports alone reached a record $140.9 billion and supported nearly one million jobs in the last fiscal year.

The committees provide advice and information to the Secretary of Agriculture and the U.S. Trade Representative on negotiating objectives and positions, and other matters related to the development and administration of U.S. agricultural trade policy.

The Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee is comprised of senior representatives from across the agricultural community and provides advice on general trade policy matters. The Agricultural Technical Advisory Committees offer technical advice and information on specific product sectors.

The new appointments became effective June 15, 2014. Nominations for committee members are accepted at any time and appointments are made periodically, usually for a period of four years. More information is available at Questions may be directed to USDA Trade Advisory Committee staff at 202-720-6219 or via email to

Newly appointed members by committee are:

Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee (APAC)

Chad BlindauerBlindauer Farms

Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade in Animals and Animal Products

Shelly McKeeUSA Poultry and Egg Export Council
David CarterNational Bison Association
Stephen SothmannU.S. Hides, Skins and Leather Association

Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade in Fruits and Vegetables

William BraswellFlorida Blueberry Growers
Brett EricksonTexas International Produce Association
Jake LewinOrganic Certification CCOF Certification Services, LLC
Mathew M. McInerneyWestern Growers Association
Melissa PooleRoll Global
Mark PowersNorthwest Horticultural Council
Daniel RitcheyRiverfront Packing Company

Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade in Grains, Feed, Oilseeds and Planting Seeds

Carlton BridgeforthBridgeforth International Association
Paul B. GreenNorth American Millers Association
Paul E. ShubeckPoet Industries
Gina TumbarelloAmerican Feed Industry Association

Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade in Processed Foods

Audrae EricksonMead Johnson Nutrition
Melissa PeabodyThe Starbucks Coffee Company
Maia JackAmerican Frozen Foods Institute

Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade in Sweeteners

Cassandra KuballCorn Refiners Association


USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay)