Trump names Starling special assistant for agriculture

Ray Starling has been appointed to be U.S. President Donald Trump’s special assistant for agriculture, trade and food assistance.

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Ray Starling has been appointed to serve as special assistant for agriculture, trade and food assistance to President Donald Trump. | Photo courtesy of the office of Sen. Thom Tillis
Ray Starling has been appointed to serve as special assistant for agriculture, trade and food assistance to President Donald Trump. | Photo courtesy of the office of Sen. Thom Tillis

Ray Starling has been appointed to be U.S. President Donald Trump’s special assistant for agriculture, trade and food assistance.

According to a press release from the White House, Starling previously served as chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-North Carolina. He has also served as Tillis’ chief counsel and as a senior agriculture advisor in the North Carolina General Assembly, general counsel for the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Starling grew up on a North Carolina century farm, where his family raised hogs. He holds a bachelor’s degree in agriculture education from North Carolina State University and a juris doctorate from University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Ag groups applaud Starling appointment

Starling’s appointment has received praise from some agricultural groups.

“By picking a true champion of American agriculture to serve in this key advisory role, President Trump is sending a clear signal of his commitment to reverse unnecessary regulations inhibiting pork producers and all U.S. farmers from doing what they do best: supplying the world with the most nutritious, affordable and abundant food available,” stated John Weber, president of the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC). “Growing up raising hogs on a farm in North Carolina that his family continues to operate today, Ray’s long, distinguished career in agriculture policy has always been informed by a deep understanding of pork producers and a sector so vital to our economy and national security.”

Vincent “Zippy” Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) called Starling a “great choice” for the position.

“Mr. Starling not only knows agriculture from his own farm background, but also as an accomplished agricultural policy specialist, most recently as chief ofs for Senator Thom Tillis,” Duvall said in a statement. “With about one quarter of all U.S. agricultural production destined for foreign markets, certainly, we know that trade and market development are critical issues. But economic policy comes in many forms, including how regulations affect the ability of our farmers and ranchers to remain competitive and profitable. Mr. Starling understands those challenges and we look forward to supporting him in this very important role.”

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