Bipartisan Senate vote confirms Sonny Perdue as ag secretary


25 April, 2017

The Senate confirmed former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue as secretary of agriculture on Monday. The son of a farmer from Bonaire, Georgia, he will be the first Southerner in the post in more than two decades.

Gov. Perdue was announced by Trump on January 19 - the day before the president was sworn in - as his choice to lead USDA, but confirmation hearings were delayed while the nominee made arrangements with his business holdings to meet ethics requirements. The agricultural sector, which heavily relies on exports, has also watched warily as President Trump's administration has moved ahead with an overhaul of US trade policy, including withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which farm groups generally had backed. "We look forward to working with the new Secretary to address issues facing Minnesota farmers and ranchers." . Perdue eventually said he would step down from several companies bearing his name to avoid conflicts of interest. That issue is expected to come up on Perdue's first day in office Tuesday, when the president holds hold a round table discussion with farmers and sign an executive order "to provide relief for rural America", according to the White House. While making a stop in Wisconsin last week, President Donald Trump called the Canadian government out for its actions, saying the new trade polices are "unfair" and 'one-sided.' Several Canadian trade groups and the Canadian ambassador to the United States have since pushed back, saying it is not their responsibility to take US surplus milk off its neighbor's hands.

Mr. Perdue is unrelated to the family that owns the poultry company Perdue Farms Inc.

Two cabinet nominees are still awaiting Senate confirmation: Alex Acosta, who if confirmed as secretary of labour would be the only Hispanic American in the cabinet, and Robert Lighthizer for United States trade representative.

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The farmers advising Trump "will make sure they leave the president with an impression of how important agriculture trade is, and particularly how important that trade is just North and just South of our borders", Starling said.

"The U.S. cotton industry also believes that someone from this country's second largest cotton-producing state well recognizes what is necessary to stabilize the U.S. cotton industry", stated Lee, a Bronwood, GA, cotton producer. "I'll also be challenging the new Ag Secretary to strongly reject a plan by President Trump to cut funding for the USDA by more than 20 percent-a move that, if approved, would devastate the American farm economy and put the livelihoods of Minnesota families at risk".

"As Secretary of Agriculture, my cousin has a big job".

"I am confident he will continue to be a champion for the needs of our farmers, ranchers, and manufacturers, and I congratulate him on his confirmation to be United States secretary of agriculture". I've heard time-and-time again that costly and hard-to-understand regulations have and are endangering the ability of our producers to stay in business.

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