Common Questions About the
Agricultural Advisory Committees for
Q. Why should I apply?
A. If you are a U.S. citizen and have an interest in advancing U.S. agricultural trade, you can use your commodity and/or technical expertise to provide useful input on U.S. trade policy and priorities to the Secretary of Agriculture and the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). The committees should reflect a diversity of views, as well as the diverse population USDA serves. If you have a desire to contribute, please apply!
Q. How long are applications accepted for consideration?
A. Applications may be submitted at any time. Appointments will be made periodically based on need as determined by the Secretary and the USTR.
Q. I am interested in applying for consideration but do not have a security clearance. What level of clearance is required?
A. Applicants must be able to successfully pass an initial background check and obtain a security clearance at the secret level.
Q. What is the difference between the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee (APAC) and the Agricultural Technical Advisory Committees (ATACs)?
A. The APAC focuses on the various policy issues affecting agricultural trade on both the U.S. and global level. It is generally comprised of high-level decision makers from across the U.S. agriculture industry, including producers, processors, and traders.
The ATACs provide advice on commodity-specific aspects of agricultural trade issues. They are generally comprised of individuals who have many years of experience addressing specific technical issues related to agricultural trade.
Q. If appointed, do I have to attend meetings?
A. Yes. From time to time, the Secretary and the USTR call a meeting (held at USDA headquarters in Washington, DC) at which members have the opportunity to voice their concerns about issues of importance. We encourage members to attend, but remain in communication with them through alternative means as well.
Q. I am a minority farmer with a small operation. Why should I apply?
A. Small business plays a major role in the U.S. economy. Minority farmers, including women and small business owners, are encouraged to apply.
Q. If I am selected, how long is my appointment?
A. Committee members are appointed by the Secretary and the USTR to serve approximately four years.
Direct inquiries to Bob Spitzer or Steffon Brown in the Office of Agreements and Scientific Affairs at telephone (202) 720-6219, fax (202)
720-6103. Send e-mail to
Steffon.Brown@fas.usda.gov. Address mail to the Office of Agreements and Scientific Affairs, Foreign Agricultural Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Stop 1040, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-1040.
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