Adams County, PA (December 12, 2023) — The Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Alexis Taylor, visited an apple packer, shipper, and marketer today in Adams County, PA.

Under Secretary Taylor toured Rice Fruit Company and discussed trade, jobs, and market conditions impacting the apple industry – one that’s responsible for more than $8 billion in wages and $23 billion in economic output.

“We greatly appreciate Under Secretary Taylor’s leadership to pursue opportunities for apple market share expansion in international markets – which is directly linked to the viability of family-owned orchards throughout the U.S.,” said Ben Rice, President of Rice Fruit Company. “Under Secretary Taylor’s work to reduce tariffs on apples going to India, which used to be the second biggest market for U.S. apples, gives us hope for the future. We’ve had a large, high-quality crop this year, which underscores the importance of the competitive position of U.S. apples in the international marketplace to maintain prices and align supply with demand.”

Representatives from the U.S. Apple Association (USApple) and a delegation from USDA and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture joined the tour, including Russell Redding, the Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture and Heidi Secord, the State Executive Director of the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Pennsylvania.

In November, USDA announced the Regional Agricultural Promotion Program (RAPP) which will effectively double the funding available for trade promotion. Increasing opportunities for trade promotion programs like the Market Access Program (MAP) has been a top priority of USApple for several years and couldn’t have come a better time, as growers grasp with high input and labor costs.

“It’s evident from today’s conversations that Under Secretary Taylor recognizes the unique needs and challenges facing specialty crop producers,” said Diane Kurrle, USApple Senior Vice President. “Under Secretary Taylor understands very well that market development does not happen overnight, and by advocating for trade promotion programs and putting boots on the ground with overseas engagement, her commitment is clear and we’re optimistic for future trade successes.”

Under Secretary Taylor was confirmed by the Senate to serve in her role in December 2022. Growing up on a farm in Iowa, she has a strong background in agriculture as well as a deep knowledge of trade issues from previous roles at USDA and on Capitol Hill.