Oregon’s Agriculture Department Director Alexis Taylor nominated by White House to serve in USDA

A White House announcement said she was nominated to serve as under secretary for trade and foreign agriculture affairs.

By: - May 13, 2022 3:24 pm

The Oregon Department of Agriculture oversees a number of programs on agriculture, food safety, pesticides and noxious weeds. (Oregon Department of Agriculture)

Alexis Taylor, Oregon’s Agriculture Department director, has been nominated by the Biden White House to serve in the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

An announcement by the White House of nine nominees said Taylor had been appointed to serve as under secretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs in the department.

Since 2016, Taylor had led Oregon’s Agriculture Department, a job that includes promoting the state’s wide array of food and nursery products and regulating the $50 billion industry. The state produces more than 220 agricultural products, spanning cattle, grass seed, cherries, hazelnuts and wine, and has 37,000 farms across 16 million acres.

Alexis Taylor (Oregon Department of Agriculture)

The department declined to provide her age or comment on the appointment. It said she makes about $15,000 a month.

Before that, she oversaw the USDA’s Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, according to the announcement. It said she traveled worldwide, opening markets to U.S. products. Taylor also has worked for members of Congress from Montana and Iowa. She was born and raised in Iowa and moved to Oregon after working 12 years in Washington D.C., the announcement said.

She graduated from Iowa State University and grew up on her family farm in Iowa, which has been in her family for more than 160 years, the White House said. She is well known among agriculture leaders in Iowa. Following the announcement, the president of the Iowa Corn Growers Association, Lance Lillibridge, issued a statement, congratulating her on the appointment.

“We are thrilled to see an Iowa native nominated who understands the importance of trade policy and promoting agriculture, corn, and biofuels in a global market. We look forward to the opportunity to work with Alexis in her new role,” the growers association said.

The Oregon Farm Bureau congratulated Taylor as well, saying they were thrilled she won such a critical position in the USDA. “Her decades of trade experience, strong leadership and steady hand will be an asset to the Biden administration as they attempt to improve domestic food security and prevent food shortages,” Dave Dillon, executive vice president said in a statement. “We know she will bring her knowledge and love of Oregon agriculture with her in this new role, and we can’t wait to see what she can accomplish.”

In high school, Taylor enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves and served one tour in Iraq during her junior year in college in the 389th Combat Engineer Battalion, according to the White House. She is not longer a reservist but remains an advocate for  veterans, the statement said.

She will have to be confirmed by the Senate.

The announcement follows another White House appointment in January. The Biden administration appointed Margaret Salazar, executive director of the Oregon Housing and Community Services Department, as the federal department’s regional administrator for Oregon, Alaska, Idaho and Washington.

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Lynne Terry
Lynne Terry

Lynne Terry has more than 30 years of journalism experience, including a recent stint as editor of The Lund Report, a highly regarded health news site. She reported on health and food safety in her 18 years at The Oregonian, was a senior producer at Oregon Public Broadcasting and Paris correspondent for National Public Radio for nine years. She has won state, regional and national awards, including a National Headliner Award for a long-term care facility story and a top award from the National Association of Health Care Journalists for an investigation into government failures to protect the public from repeated salmonella outbreaks. She loves to cook and entertain, speaks French and is learning Portuguese.