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U.S. Wheat Associates names Shelbi Knisley Director of Policy

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) welcomes a new colleague to its Headquarters Office in Arlington, Va. Shelbi Knisley joined the organisation January 1, 2020, as Director of Policy. USW represents the interests of U.S. wheat farmers in export markets.

Knisley comes to USW after spending five years at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Most recently, she worked in the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) as a trade policy advisor for UN-FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) and OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development). In that role, she lead strategy and collaboration on policy covering nutrition, biotechnology, sustainability, antimicrobial resistance, CODEX, plant and animal health and agroecology. Her time with USDA also included experience analyzing wheat markets for FAS and oilseed markets for the Economic Research Service (ERS).

“Shelbi’s experience in international trade while at USDA and her analytical background makes her a valuable asset to USW’s trade policy priorities,” said Dalton Henry, USW Vice President of Policy. “In addition to trade policy, she will be responsible for leading our work in food aid and wheat breeding innovation.”

A native Texan, Knisley earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in agricultural and applied economics from Texas Tech University, where her thesis focused on analyzing China’s impact on Australia’s grain sorghum export market. Knisley also spent time interning on the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture and with the National Sorghum Producers and Sorghum Checkoff.

Knisley fills a position held by Assistant Director of Policy Elizabeth Westendorf who recently left USW to pursue other opportunities.

“We appreciate Elizabeth’s contributions to the organisation since joining USW in 2014,” said Henry. “In particular, her work on innovation, sustainability and creating programs for farmer delegations traveling to Africa to focus on food aid are legacy items that will benefit USW long after her departure. We wish the best to Elizabeth in her new endeavours.”

U.S. Wheat Associates’ (USW) mission is to develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers in more than 100 countries. Its activities are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.For more information, visit


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