The Senate Finance Committee this week approved the nomination of Doug McKalip to be the chief agricultural negotiator at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).

The nomination, which now heads to the full Senate for approval, was passed by the committee in a unanimous vote (27-0). A Senate floor vote on the nomination has not yet been scheduled.

“Today’s unanimous vote by the Senate Finance Committee sends a strong, bipartisan message that Doug McKalip will be an outstanding Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the Office of the United States Trade Representative,” U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said. “Doug’s decades of public service and his unparalleled knowledge of agricultural and food security issues will be a major asset to our office as we continue to advance a trade agenda that benefits our farmers, ranchers, and producers.”

McKalip has held leadership roles at the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Biotechnology Regulatory Services mission area, served as a senior advisor for Agriculture and Rural Affairs at the White House Domestic Policy Council during the Obama administration, and most recently served as senior advisor to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. He has worked in the federal government for 29 years. For a short time, McKalip served as Secretary Vilsack’s chief of staff during the Obama administration.

He holds a Master’s in Public Policy from American University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh.

Gregg Doud was the last to hold the position of chief agricultural negotiator. Elaine Trevino was nominated, but recently withdrew her nomination to the position.