Dr. John R. Clifford, former chief veterinary officer (CVO) for the United States and chief trade advisor for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), has joined the staff of the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC) as veterinary trade policy advisor.

Dr. Clifford, who retired on December 31 after 33 years of service with APHIS, has also served as the U.S. official delegate to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and as deputy administrator of APHIS. He served as the CVO from 2004 to 2016.

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Clifford join our staff and bring his many years of experience to our industry,” said USAPEEC President Jim Sumner.  “As CVO and as the U.S. delegate to the OIE, he has gained the trust and respect of not only the U.S. industry but of his many counterparts around the world, with whom he has also established close personal relationships. 

“Dr. Clifford will be a tremendous asset for our industry as we continue our efforts to overcome trade barriers, many of which are often based on disease issues such as avian influenza and virulent Newcastle disease,” Sumner added.  “He has always been an advocate for our industry and we are honored that he has agreed to work with USAPEEC in this capacity.”  

Said Dr. Clifford, “I’m looking forward to working with USAPEEC, and I hope that I can benefit the poultry industry.”


Dr. Clifford’s responsibilities in his new position include conducting lectures, seminars and workshops primarily aimed at foreign government and industry representatives, advising USAPEEC and other U.S. industry groups on animal disease-related issues, maintaining ongoing relationships with foreign government veterinary officials, and eventually interfacing with U.S. officials on behalf of the U.S. poultry and egg industry.

In one recent example of his work at APHIS on behalf of U.S. poultry exports, Dr. Clifford helped lead a series of seminars in 2017 on avian influenza management in the Middle East and Africa.

During his career at APHIS, Dr. Clifford also served as assistant deputy administrator of Veterinary Services from 1997-2002, and had extensive field experience. He previously served as associate deputy administrator of the National Animal Health and Policy program where he led efforts to protect, sustain, and improve productivity, marketability and health of the nation’s animals, animal products, and biologics. He also was area veterinarian-in-charge in Ohio, West Virginia, Michigan and Indiana, served as the National Health Monitoring System coordinator for Ohio, and was the brucellosis epidemiologist and veterinary medical officer in Kentucky.

Before joining APHIS in 1985, Dr. Clifford was a private practice veterinarian. A Kentuckian, he holds degrees in animal science and veterinary medicine from the University of Missouri.