Senate confirms Sonny Perdue as agriculture secretary

Bob Robbie and Leah Maass ready equipment for planting season on their farm near Ellsworth Iowa

Bob Robbie and Leah Maass ready equipment for planting season on their farm near Ellsworth Iowa. Amy Mayer Iowa Public Radio

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition said in a blog post last week that decisions on appropriations could have an impact on the next farm bill. Perdue spoke passionately about farming - and farmers. Perdue has been backed by half a dozen former Agriculture secretaries, the American Farm Bureau and hundreds of other groups, and received largely bipartisan support throughout the nomination process.

Senator David Perdue, the nominee's first cousin, voted present. Perdue's home state of Georgia accounted for just 2 percent of total US agriculture exports in 2015. Trump has raised tensions on immigration with his pledge to build a wall at the Mexican-U.S. border. "Now that he's been confirmed, and on behalf of Wisconsin farm families, I urge the Secretary to take swift action to address Canada's recent harmful actions on dairy exports".

"Secretary Perdue is a distinguished alumnus of the University of Georgia, and we are grateful for the tremendous support he has demonstrated for his alma mater over the years", said UGA President Jere W. Morehead in a press release.

"To say that this has been a while would be an understatement", he said.

"Having not been confirmed, I've had no input into the budget, obviously", he told her, adding that as Georgia governor, he came across budgets he didn't always like, "but I managed to it".


Farm issues are often dominated less by partisan or ideological considerations and more by jockeying between regional and crop-specific interests. Otherwise USDA's leadership has been largely dominated by Midwesterners over the years. Vilsack served the entire eight years of the Obama administration (one of the longest-serving agriculture secretaries in recent decades).

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., who spoke in favor of Gov. The former Governor of Georgia will be in charge of leading a federal agency with a $150 billion budget and big issues to deal with on food and agriculture. PCG President Johnie Reed, a cotton producer from Kress, TX, said, "We congratulate Secretary Perdue, and we know that he will hit the ground running, as he has a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing agriculture and the cotton industry in particular".

And in an uncommon move, Sonny Perdue and several members of his family watched the vote from a visitors area overlooking the chamber. "Although there is much to be done, we are optimistic that he is up to the task", the NFU said.

"As governor, he oversaw the economy of one of the top agricultural states in this nation", NACD President Brent Van Dyke said.

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