Months After Nomination, Sonny Perdue Confirmed As Ag Secretary

Agriculture Secretary-designate former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue arrives to testify on Capitol Hill in Washington to testify at his confirmation hearing before the Se

"Having endured months of the current farm crisis and drastic policy changes in Washington without a Secretary of Agriculture, family farmers and ranchers are relieved that Sonny Perdue has finally been confirmed to lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture".

And hearings have already begun for the next farm Bill, due in 2018 and responsible for farm subsidy programs, food stamps and school meals, rural infrastructure and much more. Before serving two terms as governor of Georgia, Perdue served in the Georgia state Senate. Perdue is a longtime former state senator He also played quarterback in high school for the Warner Robins Demons. "He is a real-world farmer himself and knows the business inside out", said Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau Federation president and Georgia farmer.

Senator Perdue said, "I rise tonight to speak briefly about our new Secretary of Agriculture, my first cousin, Sonny Perdue".

"Now that we have our Secretary of Agriculture in place, we look forward to getting down to business to address serious issues that the Secretary has committed to working on as well as filling other key roles in the U.S. Department of Agriculture", said Paap. "Gov. Perdue's leadership is desperately needed by farmers, families and all Americans who rely on the USDA".

While literally hundreds of farm, ranch and agricultural groups endorsed Perdue's nomination as it came before the Senate, there were dissident voices, mostly outside the industry. 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. But farmers who produce more than they can sell in the United States have heavily profited from some of those deals, and are hoping his anti-trade policies will include some exceptions for agriculture. "His strong production and agribusiness background makes him keenly aware of USA agriculture's critical importance in feeding and clothing this country and the world, powering this nation's economy, and contributing to rural America's well-being". Earlier this month, Grassland Dairy Products of Greenwood and other smaller processors sent letters to some of their patrons stating they no longer have use for their milk since Canada enacted new pricing policies that make it hard to send surplus product to that country in the form of ultra-filtered milk.

As tensions between the US and Canada grow over the dairy trade dispute, the National Milk Producers Federation said Perdue's support of the export markets is critical.

Trump has reached out to farmers on regulation, saying the government has too many rules that negatively affect farm country.

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.

But he now will have to contend with Trump's proposals for the USDA, which could disproportionately affect rural residents and farmers nationwide, putting him in between the White House's priorities and those of farmers who helped elect Trump.

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