Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Wednesday that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is accepting nominations to re-establish the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee for Trade (APAC) and six Agricultural Technical Advisory Committees for Trade (ATACs).

"USDA and the U.S. Trade Representative rely heavily on the individuals who serve on these committees to provide their expert advice on U.S. trade policy and priorities," said Vilsack. "They will be an invaluable asset as we work to deliver economic and strategic trade benefits and opportunities to America's farmers and ranchers as we work toward doubling U.S. exports as part of the President's National Export Initiative."

The private sector advisory system was established by Congress in 1974 to ensure that U.S. trade policy and negotiation objectives reflect U.S. commercial and economic interests. The system's three tiers consist of the President's Advisory Committee on Trade and Policy Negotiations, five general policy advisory committees (including APAC), and 22 technical advisory committees (including six ATACs).

Ag trade advice

The APAC provides advice on overall agricultural trade policy objectives and positions prior to entering trade agreements, the operation of trade agreements and other trade matters.

The six ATACs focus on specific commodities, covering trade in:

  • animals and animal products;
  • fruits and vegetables;
  • grains, feed, oilseeds and planting seeds;
  • processed foods;
  • sweeteners and sweetener products; and
  • tobacco, cotton and peanuts.

The committees, usually composed of 35 members, represent a cross-section of the food and agriculture industry and must have knowledge of agriculture and trade matters. Committee members must be U.S. citizens, qualify for a security clearance and serve without compensation for time, travel or expenses.

Nominations for any of the committees must include a current resume and AD-755 (Advisory Committee Membership Background Information), available on the internet at http://www.fas.usda.gov/admin/ad755.pdf. In addition, FAS encourages the submission of the optional form AD-1086 (Applicant for Advisory Committees Supplemental Sheet), available on the internet at www.fas.usda.gov/admin/ad1086.pdf.