How does helping agriculture productivity around the globe assist the U.S. farmer and agricultural sector? Why are subsistence farmers some of the poorest and most food insecure people in the world? The Foreign Agricultural Service, established in 1954, was created to export American agricultural commodities, either through trade or food assistance. Sixty-three years later, with major global changes, including the rise of a middle class in Asia, a population explosion, free trade agreements, international standard setting bodies, weather changes and major advances in agricultural and nutritional research, the scope and strategy for addressing trade and food security has altered. We have learned that predominantly agrarian societies –as the United States once was—must address underperforming agricultural sectors to break cycles of poverty. Plant and animal diseases, public concerns about how agriculture goods are produced and their nutritional content, and the different interpretations of sustainability are now the basis of most trade disputes around trade, in many cases replacing tariffs as the basis of trade disagreements. For the first time in history, we face the “double burden” of malnutrition, with a billion persons who are chronically malnourished, stunted or wasted; and another billion plus persons taking cholesterol and heart medications to counter malnutrition due to an abundance of calories. How do we address this changing world?
Jocelyn G. Brown is the Deputy Administrator in USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). In this position, she oversees USDA’s international food and technical assistance programs, including the McGovern-Dole Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, the Food for Progress Program, the Cochran and Borlaug Fellowship Programs, and numerous technical assistance projects that promote U.S. government food security and trade capacity building goals. Before serving as Deputy Administrator, she covered trade policy issues for Asia, Africa and the Middle East, concentrating on China, India, and Africa Growth and Opportunity Act agricultural policy issues. She was also heavily involved in the development of USDA’s food security policy for the Group of Eight and Group of Twenty negotiations. During 2010, she implemented the first Feed the Future strategy for post-earthquake Haiti, and worked directly for the Secretary of State’s Hillary Clinton’s Chief of Staff. From 1998-2006, she worked directly with international organizations such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture. Prior to coming to USDA in 1998, she worked the District of Columbia Control Board when the city was under receivership and negotiated the city’s largest municipal bond sale ever. She was a Peace Corps volunteer at the Northwest Frontier Province Agriculture University in Peshawar, Pakistan from 1988-1990. She holds an MBA with a concentration in international development from George Washington University and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in American Literature.