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Clayton Keith Yeutter

In office
February 16, 1989 – March 1, 1991
President George H. W. Bush
Preceded by Richard E. Lyng
Succeeded by Edward R. Madigan

In office
1985 – 1989
President Ronald Reagan
Preceded by William E. Brock III
Succeeded by Carla A. Hills

In office
1991 – 1992
Preceded by Lee Atwater
Succeeded by Richard Bond

Born December 10, 1930 (1930-12-10) (age 79)
Eustis, Nebraska
Political party Republican
Alma mater University of Nebraska

Clayton Keith Yeutter (born December 10, 1930) served as United States Secretary of Agriculture under President George H. W. Bush from 1989 to 1991.

Yeutter is a graduate of the University of Nebraska from which he received a J.D. and a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics and father to six children. He was ranked first in the graduating class of 1963.

Yeutter served as U.S. Trade Representative between 1985 and 1989, as Secretary of Agriculture from 1989 until 1991 and chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1991 and 1992.

Yeutter served as Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Consumer Services, 1973 to 1974; Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for International Affairs and Commodity Programs 1974 to 1975; and Deputy Special Representative for Trade Negotiations, from 1975 to 1977

Early life and career

Yeutter was born in Eustis, Nebraska during the Nebraska Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. Despite a successful career in government and politics, Yeutter expressed a continued desire to remain close to his upbringing. As Deputy Trade Representative Yeutter stated, "I once wanted to stay in Nebraska and be a successful farmer. There are days when I get a yearning to return."[1]

Yeutter enlisted as a Basic Airman in the United States Air Force upon graduating from the University of Nebraska in 1951. He served until 1957 and continued in the active reserve until 1977. Upon completion of his enlistment, Yeutter worked as the operator of a 2,500-care farming enterprise in central Nebraska. During an overlapping period beginning in January, 1960, Yeutter worked as a faculty member within the Department of Agricultural Economics at his alma mater, the University of Nebraska. While focusing on resource economics, Yeutter completed a J.D. and Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics. Upon completion of his Ph.D., Yeutter worked as a full-time faculty member in 1965 and 1966.

United States Trade Representative

Along with the Commerce Secretary, Malcolm Baldrige, and Treasury Secretary, James Baker, Yeutter was accredited with the formulation of a comprehensive US trade policy after his first 4 months in office.[2] Yeutter took his position as US Trade Representative in July, 1985. At this point in time the Reagan administration was faced with mounting pressure from the Congress and private interests to form a proactive policy that would tackle the mounting international trade deficit.

In 1998 during a Canadian Special Committee meeting Michael McBane, a representative of the Canadian Health Coalition, made reference to a quote attributed to Yeutter during 1987. As US Trade representative during the negotiations of the Canada–United States Free Trade Agreement, Yeutter is attributed with stating that, "The Canadians don't know what they've signed. In 20 years they'll be sucked into the U.S. economy."[2]


  1. ^ Clyde H. Farnsworth, "Enforcing Reagan's New Trade Policy," The New York Times, November 24, 1985.
  2. ^ a b Canada. Legislative Assembly. "Special Committee on the Multilateral Agreement on Investment". October 2, 1998.
Government offices
Preceded by
William E. Brock III
United States Trade Representative
Succeeded by
Carla A. Hills
Political offices
Preceded by
Richard E. Lyng
United States Secretary of Agriculture
Succeeded by
Edward R. Madigan
Party political offices
Preceded by
Lee Atwater
Chairman of the Republican National Committee
Succeeded by
Richard Bond


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