As founder of the food and agriculture practice at McLarty Associates, and now its director, Eric counsels corporations, investors, and non-profits in the food and agriculture sector on government issues and advocacy, international agricultural development, value chain, strategic planning, market access, mergers and acquisitions, corporate communication, and political and economic risk issues worldwide. Trachtenberg has more than 20 years’ experience working on international agricultural issues worldwide.
At McLarty, Trachtenberg has been heavily involved in the agricultural development and trade space. He is currently leading a project in Tanzania to boost horticultural productivity through the introduction of a cold chain powered by renewable energy that is guided by a public private partnership. He is a co-founder of the U.S.- China Agriculture and Food Partnership (AFP), an organization designed to deepen synergies and cooperation between the two countries. Capacity building and value-chain improvements play a central role in AFP programming.
Before joining McLarty in January 2012, he served as Vice President, International Trade Policy, for the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC). During his time at USAPEEC, he worked on market access issues worldwide, including Africa, India, South America and the former Soviet Union. Work led to the filing of a WTO case against India’s restrictions on poultry imports and implementation of a market diversification strategy to open major new markets to U.S. poultry exports.
Earlier in his career, Trachtenberg worked as a career diplomat at USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) both in Washington and overseas starting in 1995. During his 15-year government career, he served as a Foreign Service Officer in key U.S. export markets, including China, Taiwan and Russia and covered USDA development programs in Mongolia.
While at FAS/USDA, Trachtenberg focused heavily on capacity-building and development projects overseas. In Mongolia, he conceived and proposed a livestock sector modernization program that was funded by the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP). This program will enable Mongolian herders to move from cashmere to meat production. Trachtenberg also resolved long-standing issues affecting the implementation of $14 million in development programming funding under Food for Progress (FFPr) in Mongolia. In Taiwan, Trachtenberg led a program to boost local support for biotechnology – to benefit both international trade and local production.
While overseas, Trachtenberg also evaluated diverse agricultural production and food distribution systems for FAS/USDA ranging from grain production to horticulture, oilseeds, swine, poultry, and cotton for more than a decade. These reports played a critical role in moving global markets and informing U.S. agricultural policy. For example, reporting on the failed 1998 grain harvest gave the United States enough time to prepare a $1.1 billion food aid package to Russia. Other reporting identified a major shortfall in China’s pork production in 2007-8.
In Washington, Trachtenberg focused on market access issues and creating market linkages for U.S. exporters. On the access side, he worked on poultry and beef market access, rice tariff rate quotas, free trade agreement implementation, and the World Trade Organization accession negotiations for Russia, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. The market linkages increased U.S. exports of U.S. wood product and other exports and resulted from close collaboration with governments and industry.
Prior to his career at FAS, Trachtenberg worked in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Environmental Protection Agency, and on the Taiwan stock market.
Trachtenberg received an M.P.A. in Public Administration from the University of Southern California and an M.S. in Agricultural Economics from Michigan State University where he concentrated in international economic development and public policy. He also completed a B.A. from Cornell University with a double major in Government and Economics. He also studied Russian at Cornell University and Mandarin Chinese at the Taipei Language Institute in Beijing.