June 3, 2019
The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Washington, DC 20510
The Honorable Charles Schumer
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Schumer:
On behalf of our nation’s agricultural industry stakeholders, we offer our strong endorsement of Dr. Heath P. Tarbert to be the next Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
Because our members rely on well-functioning agriculture and energy derivative markets – both exchange-traded futures and options, and over-the-counter products – to hedge the commercial risks inherent in agricultural production, processing, and marketing, we want to ensure the CFTC is led by a well-qualified Chairman. If confirmed, Dr. Tarbert would bring a deep background in financial regulation, along with experience holding important leadership posts in the private and public sector. He has earned a reputation as a leader known for his integrity, professionalism, fairness, expertise, and collaboration, important attributes for a strong leader at the CFTC.
In 2017, Dr. Tarbert was overwhelmingly confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for International Markets. In this capacity, he has advanced U.S. interests in multilateral organizations on financial stability and regulatory issues, while promoting growth, negotiating trade agreements, and advocating for standards that level the playing field on behalf of the American people. Specifically, he has worked extensively with the European Commission and Parliament to include language in their recently proposed legislation to strengthen financial stability while advancing home regulatory deference so that U.S. end-users are not subject to conflicting regimes.
While Dr. Tarbert’s background is primarily in the financial sector, he has demonstrated his commitment to learning the issues and challenges facing the agriculture sector and advocating on our behalf. In our meetings with him, it is clear to us that Dr. Tarbert has made the effort to learn about agricultural markets and our use of futures and other derivatives products. Dr. Tarbert has stated his intent, if confirmed, to begin his tenure by sponsoring the CFTC’s Agricultural Advisory Committee, as well as having the CFTC continue to co-host its annual agricultural commodity futures conference. Finally, and most importantly, he has committed to getting outside the Washington “beltway” to visit farms, ranches, and agricultural processing and storage facilities to learn from our members firsthand.
In sum, we believe Dr. Tarbert, if confirmed, will strike the right balance in providing input into CFTC’s oversight of the financial and commodity markets. This includes providing for reduced systemic risk, ensuring market integrity and regulatory consistency, while also considering the important role these markets play in the ability of farmers, ranchers, and agribusinesses to hedge their risks efficiently and effectively. The recent unanimous vote of the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry to favorably report Dr. Tarbert’s nomination is a strong bipartisan endorsement of his qualifications to serve as the next Chairman of the CFTC.
Thank you for considering our views. We appreciate your continued leadership in support of U.S. production agriculture and agribusiness.
American Cotton Shippers Association
American Farm Bureau Federation
American Feed Industry Association
American Soybean Association
American Sugar Alliance
Commodity Markets Council
Farm Credit Council
National Association of Wheat Growers
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
National Corn Growers Association
National Cotton Council
National Council of Farmer Cooperatives
National Grain and Feed Association
National Milk Producers Federation
National Pork Producers Council
National Sorghum Producers Association
North American Export Grain Association
North American Millers Association
Panhandle Peanut Growers Association
Plains Cotton Cooperative Association
Southwest Council of Agribusiness
U.S. Rice Producers Association
Western Peanut Growers Association
cc: U.S. Senators