By O. Kay Henderson (Radio Iowa)
A northeast Iowa native has been nominated to help lead U.S. Department of Agriculture efforts to expand and promote exports of agricultural commodities and products. Alexis Taylor has been nominated to serve as undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs.
Taylor promises to work to remove trade barriers and ensure countries adhere to science-based regulations. “Expanding and maintaining diversified market opportunities, rebuilding strong and reliable trading relationships, and and holding our trading partners accountable is essential,” Taylor said.
Taylor expects part of the job will be dealing with the growing food security crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “The United States plays a critical role in combating food insecurity and working to protect the most vulnerable,” Taylor said.
Taylor testified before the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee on Thursday. “I would not be here today without the support of my family, including my mother Carol, who’s watching from home in Iowa,” Taylor said. “…I am also thankful for the first and most influential farmer in my life, my father Joe. Although he has passed, there’s not a day that goes by that I do not call upon the lessons that I learned on the farm from him.”
Taylor grew up near Holy Cross, a small town in Dubuque County, on a farm that’s been in her family for over 160 years.
“I learned many things growing up on my family’s farm, from the hard work and long hours our producers put into raising a crop or keeping livestock healthy to the challenges that unpredicable weather and volatile markets can bring, but one of the most to important things that was instilled in me as a child was a desire to give back to my community,” Taylor said. “…It drew me to a career in public service, working to advance the interests of the community I grew up in — U.S. agriculture.”
Taylor graduated from Iowa State University in 2005 with a degree in political science. She served in the Army Reserves and did a tour of duty in Iraq. Taylor oversaw the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services before being appointed director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture in 2016.