Wednesday the Senate confirmed Darci Vetter to be the next chief agricultural negotiator for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Vetter replaces Islam Siddiqui who stepped down earlier this year.
Vetter is currently the USDA deputy under secretary for farm and foreign agricultural services, a position she has held since 2010.
“Darci is the right person at the right time to stand up for American farmers, ranchers and workers in tough trade negotiations underway with Asia and Europe. Oregon wheat growers, dairy farmers, and organics producers need someone at the negotiating table who understands that any trade deal must result in ambitious, comprehensive market opening for American agriculture,” said Senate Finance Committee chairman Ron Wyden (D., Ore.). “I am confident that Darci - the daughter of an organic farmer from Nebraska with deep experience on agriculture trade issues - will fight hard for their interests and those of all American agriculture producers.”
During a hearing to consider Vetter’s nomination on May 8, Wyden said that the only way to pry open markets such as Japan for agriculture is by passing strong, enforceable trade deals, and noted Vetter’s outstanding record on trade policy. The committee approved Vetter’s nomination unanimously on May 21.
American Soybean Assn. president and Iowa farmer Ray Gaesser called Vetter a “versatile and capable advocate for American agriculture.” He added she will add a strong voice as negotiations move forward with Europe and in the Pacific Rim.
International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) senior group vice president Clay Hough said Vetter’s “background and expertise make her a perfect fit for this new role, and we're excited to work with her on issues important to the U.S. dairy industry.”
The position of chief agricultural negotiator, which holds the rank of ambassador, was created by Congress in 1997 to ensure that U.S. agriculture is fully represented in trade negotiations at the highest level. During her Senate confirmation hearing in May, Vetter mentioned specific areas where USTR and Congress need to work together, including market access for U.S. dairy in Japan and Canada, as well as geographical indications (GIs).