Morris and Koehler appointed to USDA committees on agricultural trade

IMG_8739TIFTON, Ga. (July 9, 2015) U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and United States Trade Representative Michael Froman recently announced the appointment of Brenda Morris, peanut farmer from Ocilla, Georgia, to the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee (APAC) and Don Koehler, Georgia Peanut Commission executive director, to the Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade in Tobacco, Cotton and Peanuts (ATACs).

“The last six years have been the strongest in history for U.S. agricultural exports, with international sales of American farm and food exports totaling $771.7 billion,” says Sec. Vilsack. “Those exports now support more than a million quality American jobs. As we negotiate new trade agreements in Asia and Europe we will rely on APAC and ATAC members’ expertise and knowledge to bring home the best possible deals.”

Morris was reappointed to serve on the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee until June 15, 2019. Morris has been farming with her husband, Armond, in Ocilla, Georgia, for 52 years. The farm totals 2,500 acres of peanuts, cotton, corn and small grains.

“I feel privileged as a farmer to be able to serve on APAC and provide advice regarding trade policy and the impact of trade negotiations,” Morris says. “Trade is important to farmers as we continue to seek additional export opportunities and develop policy and trade negotiations that will benefit the American farmer.”

Koehler’s reappointment to the Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee (ATAC) for Trade in Tobacco, Cotton and Peanuts is effective through June 15, 2019. The Tobacco, Cotton and Peanuts ATAC provides technical advice on U.S. agricultural trade issues to the Secretary of Agriculture and the United States Trade Representative (USTR).

“I am honored to represent the peanut farmers of Georgia on the ATAC Committee,” Koehler says. “We are making great strides in the export market for peanuts and we need to continue to focus our efforts on increasing trade as our productivity continues to advance.”

Congress established the advisory committee system in 1974 to ensure a private-sector voice in establishing U.S. agricultural trade policy objectives to reflect U.S. commercial and economic interests. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative jointly manage the committees.

The APAC provides advice and information to the Secretary of Agriculture and the U.S. Trade Representative on the administration of trade policy; including enforcement of existing trade agreements and negotiating objectives for new trade agreements. The ATACs offer technical advice and information about specific commodities and products.

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