U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has announced the appointment of Louisiana State University graduate Daniel Whitley as the new Administrator of the Department’s Foreign Agricultural Service, overseeing personnel in nearly 100 U.S. embassies, consulates, and international organizations around the world and collectively providing representation across 180 countries.
“I am deeply humbled by this opportunity, but I think it is more a reflection of all your hard work during my time as Acting Administrator than any personal achievements,” Whitley noted in a message to FAS staff. “I know that together, we will continue to meet future challenges from bringing staff back to the physical workplace and navigating the latest trade landscape to finding new ways to support farmers and ranchers and delivering on Administration priorities.”
The FAS specializes in providing expertise in international trade policy, market development and export assistance, trade data and analysis, and international food aid.
Whitley is no stranger to FAS stakeholders and the agricultural trade community, having served in various positions during a 20-year career with the agency. Most recently, he was responsible for leading the FAS trade policy and market analysis teams as Associate Administrator.
Throughout his FAS career, Whitley held leadership positions including Deputy Administrator of the Office of Global Analysis and Director of the Office of Civil Rights. Whitley joined FAS after starting his career with USDA’s Economic Research Service, focusing on market access issues in the World Trade Organization.
Whitley has been serving as the Acting Administrator for FAS since the Administration’s transition in January of 2021.
Whitley holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural economics, is a proud graduate of Southern University and A&M College and Louisiana State University.
In a release USA Rice President and CEO Betsy Ward said, “We are pleased that Secretary Vilsack has appointed Daniel to this important role for U.S. agriculture and particularly important for the rice industry. His experience within FAS speaks for itself and we don’t expect any real transition period as he already ‘hit the ground running’ several months ago.”
According to Ward, USA Rice relies heavily on a longstanding relationship within the FAS to award Market Access Program, Foreign Market Development Program, and most recently, Agricultural Trade Promotion Program funding to support efforts that promote U.S. rice and other commodities throughout dozens of markets overseas.
USA Rice members also support the work FAS’s food assistance division does to provide milled and fortified rice to those in need, using the Food for Progress and McGovern Dole Programs.
"We are looking forward to working more closely with Daniel in this more permanent role to further grow our export markets worldwide," said Ward.
USA Rice and other commodity groups work closely with the trade policy and data analysis teams both in Washington and at the various FAS posts across the globe to monitor and support market promotion.