WASHINGTON — US Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack and US Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced on Aug. 24 the appointment of 130 new private-sector representatives to serve on seven agricultural trade advisory committees that represent US agriculture.
Representatives supporting the pet food industry included Betsy Flores, senior vice president of public policy for the Pet Food Institute; Kent Swisher, president and chief executive officer of the North American Renderers Association (NARA); Constance Cullman, president and chief executive officer of the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA); Dana Johnson Downing, senior vice president of international programs of NARA; Gina Tumbarello, senior director of global strategies, policy and trade at AFIA; and Charles Starkey, Ph.D., vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs for NARA.
Flores and Johnson Downing were appointed to the Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade in Animals and Animal Products; Cullman and Swisher will join the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee; and Starkey and Tumbarello were named to the Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade in Grains, Feed, Oilseeds and Planting Seeds.
“I am honored to be selected to represent US pet food makers on the USDA Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee (ATAC) for Trade in Animals and Animal Products,” Flores said. “US exports of pet food have increased year-over-year and are becoming a key driver for growth in the sector. I look forward to providing insight into the US pet food industry to the secretary of agriculture and the US Trade Representative through the ATAC.”
Tumbarello has served on the Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade in Grains, Feed, Oilseeds and Planting Seeds since 2014, and Cullman has served on the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee since 2020.
“Last year, the US animal food industry exported over $11 billion worth of feed and pet food products,” Cullman said. “The AFIA’s ability to provide ongoing industry representation to the US trade negotiators is paramount to ensuring continued and further global market access for the US animal food industry and our vision for a healthier world through advanced animal nutrition. We are thrilled to continue being a voice for the country’s nearly 5,650 animal food manufacturers.”
The new group of advisors will join the 70 existing committee members whose terms have not expired. The newly appointed committee members will serve until August 2027 and the committees will be supplemented by additional appointments over the next four years.
“We [members of NARA] are honored to have been appointed to serve in these advisory roles by Ambassador Tai and Secretary Vilsack,” Swisher said. “These appointments are an example of how a small association like NARA consistently punches above its weight because our team brings a wide range of policy and technical expertise that can help guide the administration’s strategy on trade.”
Complete rosters of the committees, including the 130 new appointees and 70 members already serving, are available here:
Find more articles related to pet food export opportunities and trade.