Today, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the creation of an undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). He continued by declaring that the reorganization includes the formation of a newly-named Farm Production and Conservation mission area to have a customer focus and meet USDA constituents in the field.
National Association of Wheat Growers’ (NAWG) President David Schemm made the following statement:
“Mandated in the 2014 Farm Bill, the establishment of this undersecretary position emphasizes the mutual importance of agriculture and trade to the American economy.
“NAWG applauds the USDA for emphasizing the importance of trade by creating a specific mission area devoted to the Department’s trade programs. This move highlights the significance that programs like the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) program play in promoting wheat and other ag commodities all over the world.
“We also commend the Administration for recognizing the value of American agricultural products to international markets.
“Further, NAWG appreciates USDA’s efforts to streamline agencies that producers interact with locally by moving NRCS into the same mission area as the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and the Risk Management Agency (RMA). We hope this effort will also lead to streamlining the paperwork of the programs administered by these agencies.
“Our producers rely on trade access throughout the world. It’s vital that whomever fills this new position ensures that American wheat growers are made a priority in trade negotiations.
“NAWG is ready to work with the Administration in its search for a qualified candidate to fill this position and encourages them to use farmers and their farm organizations as a sounding board as the process moves forward.”