Sep 14, 2021
WASHINGTON, DC -- Yesterday, the Biden Administration announced their intention to nominate Elaine Trevino as the chief agricultural negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. The ag negotiator is ranked as an ambassador, responsible for conducting and overseeing international negotiations related to trade in agricultural products.
Trevino currently serves as president of the Almond Alliance of California, advocating on regulatory and legislative issues in areas of international trade, food safety, water quality and availability, crop protection, air quality, worker safety, and supply chain, all things that are also important to the rice industry. Prior to this role, she served as deputy secretary at the California Department of Food and Agriculture for Governors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Gray Davis. She was responsible for oversight of the international export and trade programs, specialty crop block grant funding, division of marketing services, and plant health and pest prevention.
“As a leader in California agriculture, Elaine is very familiar with the California rice industry and the importance of trade, and I think she will be able to hit the ground running in Washington,” said Tim Johnson, president and CEO of the California Rice Commission. “Over the last year, she has helped lead the way on the local and federal levels to address port congestion, supply chain disruptions, and excessive costs, all of which have been major priorities for the U.S. rice industry.”
In addition to her responsibilities for the Almond Alliance, Trevino also serves on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee providing advice to the Administration on U.S. trade policy, including implementation and enforcement of existing U.S. trade agreements and negotiating objectives for new trade agreements.
Dow Brantley, an Arkansas rice farmer and former chair of USA Rice, also serves on the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee and said of Trevino: “Elaine has been a valuable part of our Advisory Committee and has firsthand knowledge of what kinds of complex trade issues are facing the variety of U.S. commodities represented, including rice. It is vital that we have a chief ag negotiator in place soon to ensure that agricultural priorities are represented in the Administration’s trade talks and trade policy development.”
Once Trevino’s nomination paperwork is officially sent to the Senate Finance Committee, she will be subject to a confirmation hearing, followed by affirmative votes by both the Committee and the full U.S. Senate. If confirmed, she would be the first woman of color and the first Latina in this position.