Perdue Sworn in as USDA Secretary

Posted April 30, 2017

"I'm persuaded he has the leadership and tenacity to make a good deal for Americans", Perdue says. He's hoping that the former Georgia Governor understands ethanol and the special needs of South Dakota producers.

Trump's corporate backers took notice - and took advantage of this administration's openness to influence: Koch Industries lobbied hard to help confirm Scott Pruitt as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, and Nestle lobbied for the nomination of Sonny Perdue. It truly was an honor to represent all of America's farmers and ranchers at this historic meeting.

President Trump signed his new executive order during a Farmers Roundtable discussion at the White House.

At our meeting, the president signed an Executive Order creating the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity, directing agency heads, led by Secretary Perdue, to look for ways to reduce the regulatory burden and increase economic opportunity in rural areas.

At his confirmation hearing in March, Perdue assured nervous farm-state senators that he will advocate for rural America, even as Trump has proposed deep cuts to some farm programs. Pat Roberts, the Kansas Republican who heads the Senate agriculture committee.

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State Sen. Scott Bennett, D-Champaign, serves on the Senate Agriculture Committee and said his farming constituents supported Trump, but there were some concerns "when you heard about some of the NAFTA changes, where they've been very good for the agriculture community in IL, when you heard that one of the biggest importers of USA grain, Mexico, would not be dealing with us but dealing with Brazil".

"I was a grain trader, and President Trump is a trader", Perdue said when asked about the recent news that NAFTA is being rethought. Everyone thinks of Canada as being wonderful, and so do I.

"The multiple functions of the task force will help move our industry forward, and specific directives like addressing regulatory barriers farmers face and investing in the infrastructure on which our industry depends will directly address some of our most significant challenges".

As agriculture secretary, he is in charge of around 100,000 employees and the nation's food and farm programs, including agricultural subsidies and conservation efforts, food safety, research and rural development programs for small towns. Trump has proposed a 21 percent cut in USDA programs and has harshly criticized some worldwide trade deals, saying they have killed American jobs. "Secretary Perdue's experience as an exporter and governor leading trade missions will be invaluable as this administration pursues trade policy".

- Determining it is in the national interest to ensure farmers, ranchers, and families in rural America are not hindered by unnecessary regulation.