President Trump has picked ISDA Director Ted McKinney to be the new Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Affairs at USDA. McKinney told HAT, in his first media interview since being nominated, that he is honored and humbled by the appointment and the overwhelming support he has received from the agricultural community, “I am honored to be nominated by the President and so appreciate the support of Secretary Perdue as well as the outpouring of support from around the state and around the country. It is truly heartwarming, and I am looking forward to the confirmation process.”
Randy Kron, President of Indiana Farm Bureau, said McKinney is a great pick for the newly created trade position, “Having Ted McKinney as an advocate on trade for agriculture is a major positive.”
Jane Ade Stevens, CEO of Indiana Soybean Alliance, Indiana Corn Marketing Council, and Indiana Corn Growers Association, said McKinney has the skills to forge a new direction for U.S. agricultural trade, “We are particularly pleased that Ted will be overseeing trade and foreign agriculture issues at the USDA. Indiana corn and soybean farmers know that exports are a vital market for Indiana and the United States. We are pleased to see a leader like Ted nominated for this position because of his passion, expertise, and experience. “
Before heading the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, McKinney had a long and successful career with Elanco Animal Health and Dow AgroSciences. Beth Bechdel with AgriNovus, a biosciences initiative, said McKinney will be an effective voice for getting new technology approved by other countries. She added that McKinney will have his work cut out for him as he takes on a newly reorganized USDA, “There will be some bureaucratic and institution challenges for Ted. He is going to have to spend some time getting a realignment of the trade team at USDA.”
Major trade and commodity groups around the country expressed their support for the Hoosier native. The National Corn Growers Association said in a statement, “Mr. McKinney is an excellent choice to fill this new role. He has a longstanding record of service to the agriculture industry, and will be a strong advocate for U.S. agriculture on the global stage. We urge the Senate to move quickly to confirm him, so that our industry is in the best position to capitalize on increased global demand for our products.” The American Soybean Association also called for McKinney’s confirmation, “McKinney’s prospective position in the newly-created Undersecretary for Trade post at USDA is one that ASA and other agriculture groups have long advocated for.”
McKinney is expected to be confirmed by the Senate prior to the August recess. Meanwhile, Governor Holcomb will be compiling a list of possible replacements for McKinney at ISDA.