After months of waiting Gregg Doud has gained approval from the U.S. Senate to serve as the Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the Office of the United States Trade Representative.
Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) says he is pleased with Doud’s nomination.
“Our hard-working farmers, ranchers, end-users, and folks in rural America have waited too long to be represented at the trade negotiating table,” Roberts says.
Roberts said that Doud will take on the post of Chief Agricultural Negotiator when is sworn into office. There was no time set for the swearing in.
Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue also voiced support following the nomination in a tweet.
“Farmers, ranchers, foresters and producers need strong representation at the negotiating table and he understands what trade means to ag,” Perdue’s tweet reads.
Doud was nominated to the post by President Trump on June 16, 2017, and a hearing before the Senate Finance Committee was Oct. 5. Following that meeting a hold was placed on Doud’s nomination by Senator Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.).
With the urging of Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and others, Doud’s hold was lifted by Flake on Feb. 1 and Moran made the announcement at the Cattle Industry Convention in Phoenix.
“I know Gregg Doud well and personally. He is the person you would want in this job,” Moran said in his announcement before members of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA).
A number agriculture organizations came out in support of Doud being confirmed. NCBA put up “missing person” signs that featured Doud around Montreal during the sixth round of talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
“With talks continuing on NAFTA, the Korea-US trade agreement, and access to many other markets still up in the air, it's imperative that the U.S. Senate now move as quickly as possible to confirm Doud's nomination,” NCBA President Craig Uden said following the hold being lifted.
Dairy industry leaders from the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) both supported Doud’s confirmation prior to the Senate’s approval.
“The role of the agriculture ambassador within the USTR is critical to successful U.S. engagement with current negotiations and growing global markets,” said USDEC President and CEO Tom Vilsack.
“America’s dairy farmers depend on carefully calibrated trade agreements, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement and the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement (KORUS),” said NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern. “We need a strong advocate for agriculture in the USTR during this crucial period.”
Doud is a native of Kansas and grew up on a farm. Since 2013, he has served as president for the Commodity Markets Council. Prior to this he worked on Senator Roberts’ staff for two years on the Senate Agriculture Committee. He worked for NCBA for eight years as the chief economist, and also had stints with U.S. Wheat Associates and the agricultural commodity consulting firm World Perspectives.