Senate confirms Sonny Perdue as agriculture secretary

25 April, 2017, 13:10 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • Bob Robbie and Leah Maass ready equipment for planting season on their farm near Ellsworth Iowa

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, a member of the United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, made the following statement after the confirmation of former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue to be U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.

Perdue, who served two terms as governor of Georgia, grew up on a farm, trained as a veterinarian and worked in his family's agribusinesses. "He should be a good spokesperson for ag, and that's important as we approach our next farm bill, and as society continues to shift away from the farm".

During his confirmation hearings, Perdue told concerned senators that he supports numerous programs that could be cut by Trump's budget, particularly those that focus on agricultural research and rural infrastructure development. Mr Trump has proposed a 21% cut in US Department of Agriculture (USDA) programmes and has harshly criticised some worldwide trade deals, saying they have killed American jobs.

In his confirmation hearing last month, after reaching agreement with the Office of Government Ethics on stipulations aimed at avoiding conflicts of interest, Perdue said he had not been consulted on the proposed cuts and defended several of the programs set to be axed.

The nomination makes Perdue the first University of Georgia alumnus to be named to the White House cabinet, according to a University of Georgia press release.

A formal swearing-in ceremony for Perdue, likely to be held later this week, will officially recognize Perdue as the 31st Secretary of Agriculture.

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The U.S. Senate confirmed Perdue late Monday afternoon.

Perdue will also be part of the administration's response to a dispute with Canada's dairy industry, which has a new lower-priced classification of milk product that Trump says is harming US producers in dairy states like Wisconsin and NY. Perdue will oversee the nation's farm and forestry programs, as well as the US nutrition programs. Asked if he was surprised by the 11 "no" votes for Perdue - given historically overwhelming support for Agriculture secretary nominees - Roberts said, "With this Senate you're saying we didn't get".

Georgia U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson voted in favor of Perdue's nomination.

"Sonny Perdue is the kind of leader the pork industry, and the entire livestock industry, needs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture", said NPPC President Ken Maschhoff, a pork producer from Carlyle, Ill.

"As Secretary of Agriculture, my cousin has a big job". Because of his more than 20 years of public service, Governor Perdue has garnered significant bipartisan backing and was reported out of committee with near unanimous support.

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