McKinney Pushes Biden Administration to Correct US Ag Trade Deficit

[[{“value”:”Ted McKinney, CEO of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA). Photo: C.J. Miller / Hoosier Ag Today.


We’re buying far more ag products from outside the U.S. than what we’re selling and exporting—and that’s led to a U.S. ag trade deficit of $16.6 billion for fiscal year 2023.

One Indiana ag leader says the Biden administration still needs to much more to correct that deficit.

“First, I’ll say that we are pleased the current administration is trying to straighten out some trade under existing rules,” says Ted McKinney, CEO of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA). He had previously served under President Trump as USDA Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs. McKinney is also a native of Tipton County and former director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA).

“We’ve seen the advancement of a few products that we can sell in India, and the same for Vietnam,” he says. “They’re working on trying to fix the dairy issue in Canada, and that ridiculous corn decree in Mexico, so good.”

But, McKinney says he and other ag leaders are pushing President Biden, USDA, and the U.S. Trade Representative to do far more to reverse the ag trade deficit.

“It’s pretty clear that a lot of ag really wants more. If you can’t bring tariffs down, whatever it takes to do that, you’re going to be cut out at least at some level, of a lot of markets. We thought that the testimony of Ambassador Tai’s testimony was good in front of one of the Senate committees, I believe, and she said trade is good for ag but less so for workers. We’ve not heard that before, so let’s parse those. Let’s see, all right, if it’s good for ag, how can we do more for ag? So, we’re respectfully trying to push that,” says McKinney.

Some officials estimate that the U.S. ag trade deficit for fiscal year 2024 may reach $30 billion.