National

Senate Confirms Perdue as 31st USDA Secretary

"I have faith that Governor Perdue will put the needs of farmers and ranchers first, and I know that rural America is thankful to have such a qualified agriculture secretary on their side".

Sonny Perdue was sworn in as the 31st Secretary of Agriculture, was confirmed by the Senate at a vote of 87-11 which is a pretty strong showing on any issue that comes through the Senate.

Perdue served as a state senator in Georgia before being elected governor in 2003 - the first republican governor in 130 years. In consultation with the Office of Government Ethics, Perdue agreed to organize his business holdings - including a Georgia-based grain merchandiser, AGrowStar - into a trust that will not benefit him or his wife.

Farm organizations throughout the United States welcomed Secretary Perdue.

At the hearing, Mr Perdue said he would be a "tenacious advocate and fighter" for rural America when dealing with the White House and other agencies and noted a growing middle class around the world that is hungry for United States products.

As head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Perdue will oversee roughly 100,000 employees and administer a budget of approximately $140 billion spread across multiple programs.

Senator Bob Corker said, "As a farmer, an agribusiness owner, and a former governor, Secretary Perdue has decades of experience and understands the challenges facing American farmers", said Corker.

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Democrats surely think so.

Smith also says producers at his Farm Bill listening sessions in Scottsbluff and Aurora last week made it clear they wanted confirmation as soon as possible to "hit the ground running on agriculture policy".

USDA officials need to keep farmers at top of mind as they go about daily business, Perdue said. The current measure expires in 2018. David Perdue, R-Ga., presided over the upper chamber.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday took executive action in an effort to help grow the domestic agriculture industry during a meeting at the White House with more than a dozen US farmers. Trump also proposed cuts to the State Department and Environmental Protection Agency.

The American Soybean Association is "glad that Secretary Perdue is finally on board", Ron Moore, ASA president, said in a statement.

"Finally having a leader at the U.S. Department of Agriculture is vital in making sure farmers, ranchers, and rural communities have a voice in this administration", said Heitkamp. Canada changed its policy on pricing domestic milk to cover more dairy ingredients, leading to lower prices for Canadian products that compete with US milk.

"He understands that the Agriculture Department has a profound impact on almost every community across the country and certainly every family", said U.S. Sen.

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