WASHINGTON — Ted McKinney, undersecretary of agriculture for trade and foreign agricultural affairs, said the agriculture industry will look back on 2018-19 as one of the most memorable times in global agriculture, a sentiment he called “perhaps the understatement of the year.”

In a breakout session on Agriculture in the Current U.S. Trade Agenda during the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2019 Agricultural Outlooks Forum in Washington on Feb. 21, Mr. McKinney said the current period hasn’t been easy on any sector of those who work in agriculture.

“When you have to look at friends, some of you in the room, and say ‘We don’t like the way you’re behaving,’” he said. “And this is not just to those representing different countries around the world. We are in a time when we are revisiting what it means to have free, fair and reciprocal trade.”

He likened the current period to childhood disagreements with his brother.

“In the end, you’re better off if you clear the air, figure out where someone is, you make adjustments, you move on, and hopefully you’re a better brother, a better family, and that’s what we’re doing now,” he said.

Mr. McKinney thanked those in attendance for pushing Congress to authorize a standalone undersecretary “whose 24-7 focus is on trade” and his boss, Agricultural Secretary Sonny Perdue, for following through on creating the position.