President-elect Donald Trump recently nominated former Georgia Gov. George "Sonny" Perdue as the next Secretary of Agriculture. Prior to and since the announcement, agriculture organizations are pouring out their support for Perdue.
American Farm Bureau Federation president Zippy Duvall released a statement supporting Perdue, saying, "The nomination of former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue for Secretary of Agriculture is welcome news to the nation’s farmers and ranchers. Gov. Perdue will provide the strong voice that agriculture needs in the new administration. He is an outstanding nominee."
Duvall served as president of the Georgia Farm Bureau during Perdue's time as governor and Duvall had warm words about the potential Secretary of Agriculture.
“I have known Gov. Perdue for years. I’ve seen firsthand his commitment to the business of agriculture as we worked together on issues facing farmers and ranchers in our home state of Georgia. He understands the challenges facing rural America because that’s where he was born and raised. He is a businessman who recognizes the impact immigration reform, trade agreements and regulation have on a farmer’s bottom line and ability to stay in business from one season to the next," Duvall said. “The American Farm Bureau looks forward to continuing our work with USDA under Gov. Perdue’s leadership. When farmers and ranchers are free to access cutting-edge technologies, reach new markets and make decisions that protect their businesses and resources, we all are better off.”
The American Feed Industry Association released their support of Perdue the morning of Jan. 19.
The American Feed Industry Association is pleased with President-elect Donald Trump's latest, and final, cabinet selection--former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue as secretary of agriculture. AFIA works with USDA on a broad slate of issues such as trade and implementation of the farm bill. We believe Gov. Perdue's political and agriculture-related background make him a sound fit for the role."
AFIA also referenced Perdue's background in veterinary medicine and his military service as a captain in the U.S. Air Force as reasons behind its support.
The National Cattlemen's Beef Association also voiced its support of Perdue in a statement from Tracy Brunner, NCBA president.
“Governor Perdue’s an excellent pick to head the Agriculture Department. As a lifelong agri-businessman and veterinarian, as well as the two-term governor of a state where agriculture’s the largest industry, Gov. Perdue has a unique and expert understanding of both the business and scientific sides of agriculture. In a time of increasing regulations and a growing governmental footprint, we have no doubt that Gov. Perdue will step in and stand up for rural America so that we can continue to do what we do best – provide the safest and most abundant food supply in the world," Brunner said.
National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson expressed hope in the direction that Perdue would lead American agriculture, saying, “Given the challenging state of the farm economy, more than ever, family farmers and ranchers need a champion in Washington. I am hopeful we will find that champion in Sonny Perdue. USDA is more than agriculture’s agency; it is America’s agency. We look forward to working with Mr. Perdue and the new administration to create and defend a strong farm safety net and provide meaningful farm policy solutions for producers, particularly dairy farmers and cotton growers, in the next Farm Bill. We will also ask that USDA take a proactive approach to building opportunities for rural America, increase support for conservation as a way to manage risk on the farm, and expand market opportunities for all types of agriculture production."
Perdue was hailed as a "very good choice for America's farmers and ranchers" by the National Pork Producers Council. NPPC President John Weber said, "Well, we don’t have a lot of pork production down in Georgia but Sonny Perdue is from a farm family and he’s a veterinarian. As head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, he’ll be very good for America’s farmers and ranchers...NPPC believes Sonny Perdue will make a great secretary. He knows farming, he knows exports are vital to U.S. agriculture and he knows you need to run USDA like a business, not like the bureaucracy it’s been for the past eight years. We strongly support him, and we urge the Senate to confirm him as the 31st secretary of agriculture.”
Congratulations were offered by the American Soybean Association President Ron Moore.
“Congratulations to Governor Perdue. USDA touches the lives of every American, and it is among the most crucial government functions for farmers across the United States. For soybean farmers, USDA serves us in so many ways. From working to implement a viable risk management framework to helping expand our markets overseas, to investing in agricultural research here at home, these are critical elements of the farm economy, and we look forward to working alongside USDA under Secretary Perdue to ensure that the department continues to serve American soybean farmers in the most effective manner possible," Moore said.
The National Milk Producers Federation's President and CEO Jim Mulhern said he was optomistic that Perdue would bring positive change in a statement released early Jan. 19.
“America’s dairy farmers are looking forward to working with Secretary of Agriculture-designate Sonny Perdue, whose role as the chief advocate for farmers and rural America is absolutely crucial in the new Trump Administration, especially when milk prices have been in a prolonged slump," Mulhern said. "Dairy producers, like most other farmers and ranchers across America, have experienced significant economic challenges for more than a year. Starting right away in 2017, NMPF will seek to collaborate with Secretary Perdue on ways to strengthen the safety net for dairy farmers, relieve regulatory burdens and enhance opportunities to keep and grow markets abroad for our dairy exports. In particular, we will continue to advise the Agriculture Department on efforts to improve the dairy Margin Protection Program to best benefit America’s dairy producers. We will also continue our dialogue with USDA and others in the Trump Administration on the importance of enforcing previous trade agreements, as well as pursuing future well-negotiated trade agreements that bolster our ability to serve consumers in foreign markets. We’re excited to work with Gov. Perdue on these challenges and opportunities in the days ahead.”
The National Chicken Council President Mike Brown also released a statement supporting the selection of Perdue.
“Governor Perdue has a strong record as two-term chief executive of Georgia and is acquainted with a wide array of agriculture commodities, from chicken and peanuts to cotton and timber," said Brown. “As a veterinarian, agribusiness owner and a governor who established an agricultural advisory committee in Georgia, he understands and appreciates the importance of American agriculture both here and abroad. He is a welcomed choice from the ‘Broiler Belt.’ We hope he is confirmed expeditiously so we can begin work with the department on the many issues of importance to chicken producers.”
Perdue was called "an excellent choice to lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture" by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Assoication CEO Jim Matheson in a statement released in the morning of Jan. 19.
“More than 75 years ago, America’s electric co-ops partnered with what is now known as the Department’s Rural Utilities Service to electrify the farms, ranches and small towns dotting the countryside,” Matheson said. “Our partnerships with USDA remain every bit as important today, as electric co-ops work to expand economic opportunities by powering and empowering rural American families and businesses. We look forward to working closely with Gov. Perdue once confirmed as Secretary of Agriculture.”