The Senate by an overwhelming 84-9 vote confirmed Heath Tarbert on June 5 as chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
A Republican who currently serves as assistant secretary of the treasury for international affairs, Tarbert will succeed fellow Republican Chris Giancarlo. He is expected to be sworn in officially in mid-July, with Giancarlo leaving CFTC around that same time.
During testimony at his Senate Agriculture Committee confirmation hearing earlier this year, Tarbert stressed the CFTC’s special obligation to “…ensur(e) that our derivatives markets are open, transparent, competitive and financially sound, while at the same time free from fraud and manipulation.”
He noted the importance of futures markets to U.S. agriculture, specifically mentioning that, “…grain elevators, mills, distributors, manufacturers, and other producers that make America’s agricultural industry the envy of the world also rely upon and benefit from these markets daily.”
The NGFA authored and coordinated a letter signed by 25 national production agriculture and agribusiness groups in support of Tarbert, which Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., referenced during the confirmation hearing. NGFA followed up with another letter, also signed by 25 organizations, sent on June 3 to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, R-N.Y., supporting Tarbert’s confirmation.