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.

Congress established the advisory committee system in 1974 to ensure U.S. agricultural trade policy objectives reflect U.S. commercial and economic interests. USDA and USTR jointly manage the 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."

Since 2009, nearly one-third of U.S. economic growth has been due to exports, USDA reports. 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 past five years represent the strongest period for U.S. exports in the history of the United States.

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 new appointments became effective June 15, 2014.

Newly appointed members by committee are:


Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee (APAC)

Chad Blindauer, Blindauer Farms


Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade in Animals and Animal Products

Shelly McKee, USA Poultry and Egg Export Council

David Carter, National Bison Association

Stephen Sothmann, U.S. Hides, Skins and Leather Association


Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade in Fruits and Vegetables

William Braswell, Florida Blueberry Growers

Brett Erickson, Texas International Produce Association

Jake Lewin, Organic Certification CCOF Certification Services, LLC

Mathew M. McInerney, Western Growers Association

Melissa Poole, Roll Global

Mark Powers, Northwest Horticultural Council

Daniel Ritchey, Riverfront Packing Company


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

Carlton Bridgeforth, Bridgeforth International Association

Paul B. Green, North American Millers Association

Paul E. Shubeck, Poet Industries

Gina Tumbarello, American Feed Industry Association


Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade in Processed Foods

Audrae Erickson, Mead Johnson Nutrition

Melissa Peabody, The Starbucks Coffee Company

Maia Jack, American Frozen Foods Institute


Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade in Sweeteners

Cassandra Kuball, Corn Refiners Association


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