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PORTLAND, OR -- Kevin Moffitt, president and chief executive officer of the Pear Bureau Northwest, has been named chairman of the U.S. Agricultural Export Development Council.

Mr. Moffitt was first elected by the council's board of directors as an officer in 2005 with the position of secretary-treasurer, after having demonstrated his commitment to the membership by serving as chairman of the Electronics Communications Committee, which was instrumental in the complete overhaul of the council's website in 2003. In 2007 he assumed the role of vice chairman, and at the councils Nov. 19, 2009, board meeting, he was designated chairman for a two-year term.

The U.S. Agricultural Export Development Council plays a crucial part in facilitating communications between its members, the majority of whom are Market Access Program participants, and the Foreign Agricultural Service. The Market Access Program encourages the development, maintenance and expansion of commercial export markets for agricultural commodities. Activities financed by the program's $200 million budget include consumer promotions, market research, technical assistance and trade servicing.

"The members of this organization share a common goal of expanding U.S. agricultural exports, and I look forward to helping advance that mission by bridging communication between fellow members and the Foreign Agricultural Service, the USDA and the secretary of agriculture," Mr. Moffitt said about the value of this appointment in a Dec. 9 press release. "The USAEDC serves an important role in communicating with government decision-makers about key market development programs, including the Market Access Program, and how vital they are to the success of American agriculture."

Kris Marceca, executive director of the U.S. Apple Export Council and past executive committee member of the U.S. Agricultural Export Development Council, offered her congratulations to Mr. Moffitt for his recent election as chairman of the development council. "I can't think of anyone who would be more capable of acting as a bridge between all of the agricultural groups, not just from the produce industry but spanning the entire gamut from the bulk commodities to processed products and everything in between," Ms. Marceca said in the release.

In his new role as chairman, Mr. Moffitt will be representing the partnership between all of these groups and their growers, processors and exporters and the FAS with the joint goal of expanding market opportunities for U.S. agricultural products around the world. This position provides opportunities to interact with the highest levels of the Foreign Agricultural Service and raises the awareness of U.S. pears among the decision-makers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"The Northwest pear industry is undoubtedly very proud that Kevin received such a strong vote of confidence from all of the members of USAEDC," Ms. Marceca added in the release. "This speaks volumes about Kevin's commitment toward ensuring that the MAP and other export development programs are used most effectively, efficiently and to maximum benefit."