Dr. John Clifford, who has served for the past 12 years as the chief veterinary officer of the United States and deputy administrator for Veterinary Services is transitioning from this role to become the chief trade advisor for Veterinary Services National Import Export Services staff, effective March 1.

The leadership change was announced January 21 by Kevin Shea, administrator of the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)

The change will allow Dr. Clifford to focus more on global trade issues at a time when international work has become ever more crucial to USDA’s mission, said Shea.

“In the wake of last year’s highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak and our eradication of the virus, Dr. Clifford spent several weeks traveling overseas and meeting with numerous agricultural officials across Asia with the goal of addressing trade restrictions on behalf of the poultry industry. Those discussions helped maintain poultry trade with several Asian countries,” Shea explained.


“In his role as deputy administrator, Dr. Clifford has also been actively engaged with the World Organisation for Animal Health or the OIE, which is the international body responsible for improving animal health worldwide. This organization helps to ensure transparency regarding countries’ disease statuses and that countries adhere to the latest science when establishing trade restrictions due to animal disease. As chief trade advisor, Dr. Clifford will continue to liaise with the OIE on behalf of U.S. producers.”  

Clifford has been an APHIS employee for more than 30 years.  

Shea will announce Clifford’s replacement closer to the time of the transition.