Dr. John Clifford, who has served the past 12 years as U.S. Department of Agriculture chief veterinary officer and deputy administrator for veterinary services, is transitioning from this role to become the chief trade advisor for veterinary services National Import Export Services staff beginning March 1, according to Kevin Shea, administrator of USDA's Animal & Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS).
In the announcement, Shea said maintaining existing and expanding new markets for trade is essential for today's livestock producers. “This change will allow Dr. Clifford to focus more on global trade issues at a time when international work has become ever more crucial to our mission,” he said.
In the wake of last year's highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak and eradication of the virus, Clifford spent several weeks traveling overseas and meeting with numerous agricultural officials across Asia with the goal of addressing trade restrictions on behalf of the poultry industry. “Those discussions helped maintain poultry trade with several Asian countries,” Shea noted.
In his role as deputy administrator, Clifford has also been actively engaged with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), which is the international body responsible for improving animal health worldwide. This organization helps ensure transparency regarding countries' disease statuses and that countries adhere to the latest science when establishing trade restrictions due to animal disease. As chief trade advisor, Clifford will continue to liaise with the OIE on behalf of U.S. producers, Shea said.
Clifford has been with APHIS for more than 30 years in both field and headquarters positions. At this time, he has established relationships across all animal sectors and has been tirelessly dedicated to safeguarding U.S. animal health. “As administrator, I am thankful we will continue to benefit from Dr. Clifford's expertise in an arena where we have much at stake, and I will announce Dr. Clifford's successor closer to his transition date in March,” Shea said.