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New USDA Role To Work With Trade Representative

Last week, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced an update to leadership roles at USDA.

There are seven undersecretaries, the change would add a trade undersecretary combining it with the Foreign Agricultural Service.

That change was authorized by the 2014 farm bill.

The Iowa Farm Bureau President Craig Hill says the Undersecretary of Trade and Foreign Affairs will work along side the U.S. Trade Representative.

Hill says, "The USDA has a number of issues with regards to Plant and Health Inspection Service, regulatory issues, compliance to our regulatory processes, and so we need to bring in and dovetail that as well, to the USTR interests of expanding trade."

No undersecretaries have been chosen yet, but Secretary Perdue says his undersecretary of trade will be someone who wants to sell American products and break down trade barriers to other countries.

Earlier this month, in Iowa, Perdue promised trade was a priority, , "I'm going to be the unapologetic, chief advocate, chief salesmen for American agricultural products around the world and we're going to go, 'You grow them, we're gonna sell them.'"

In the change up to leadership, the National Resource Conservation Service will be moved to the same undersecretary as the Farm Service Agency and the Risk Management Agency. That leaves the forestry undersecretary as it is.

But the Undersecretary of Rural Development position is now gone, which has caused concerns among agricultural groups and senators.

Perdue counters that this elevates the position to greater importance, now it reports directly to him. He committed at the announcement to argue for the needs of rural america.