USDA Chief veterinarian taking on new role |

USDA Chief veterinarian taking on new role

John Clifford, who has served as the Department of Agriculture’s chief veterinarian for the last 12 years, will be taking a new job at the end of March, according to an announcement sent to stakeholders Thursday afternoon.

Clifford, the chief veterinarian with USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, will begin to transition from his current role as deputy administrator for veterinary services to a new job as the chief trade advisor for veterinary services with APHIS’ National Import Export Services staff at the beginning of March. In his new role, Clifford, a 30-year veteran of APHIS, will focus on global trade issues as they relate to veterinary practices in the United States.

In the stakeholder announcement, APHIS Administrator Kevin Shea said he was “thankful (APHIS) will continue to benefit from Dr. Clifford’s expertise in an arena where we have much at stake.” He said the new position will allow Clifford “to focus more on global trade issues at a time when international work has become ever more crucial to our mission.”

APHIS Administrator Kevin Shae said he will announce Clifford’s successor “closer to his transition date.”

In addition, Deputy Agriculture Secretary Krysta Harden also announced on Thursday that she will be leaving USDA at the end of February. Harden has been with USDA since 2009 and has served as the deputy secretary since August of 2013. Harden led the implementation of the 2014 Farm Bill.

Michael Scuse, the current Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, will serve as Acting Deputy Secretary of Agriculture and Alexis Taylor, the current Deputy Under Secretary will assume the duties of Under Secretary.

Finally, Elanor Starmer has been named the acting administrator of Agricultural Marketing Service, due to the departure of Anne Alonzo. Starmer joined USDA in 2011 and most recently served as a senior advisor to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Starmer has coordinated USDA’s work on local and regional food systems through the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative. She also acted as liaison to FDA on the Food Safety Modernization Act and developed strategy to support industry on FSMA implementation.

–American Sheep Industry