Published: Sat, May 06, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Trump adviser working on moving ag's economic needle

South Dakota's two USA senators praised former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue after voting for his confirmation on Monday as Secretary of Agriculture in President Donald Trump's cabinet.

"Sonny Perdue is the first Southern ag secretary in more than 20 years", Commissioner Quarles said.

Perdue also takes office since the president released a proposed 2018 budget blueprint that would reduce the USDA budget by $4.7 billion, or 21 percent, over this year's funding levels while eliminating water and wastewater loan programs, the department's statistical capabilities and foreign food aid. "Perdue is well-positioned to lead the USDA in helping create more opportunity for USA producers", Smith said. Robert Lighthizer, Mr. Trump's nominee for US trade representative, and Alexander Acosta, nominated to head the Labor Department, still await confirmation.

Perdue's late nomination back in January-in addition to the 3-month confirmation wait-has prompted some to say that all matters concerning rural farming and food safety in the USA are not a priority for President Trump. Perdue, 70, is the second-to-last cabinet member to join the Trump Administration, the final vacancy being the labor secretary post. Perdue's cousin, Sen David Perdue, R-Ga., presided over the Senate for the vote.

Grassley expects the former Georgia governor to hit the ground running in his new position. "Gov. Perdue's leadership is desperately needed by farmers, families and all Americans who rely on the USDA". Since exports are a major source of US farm income, producers are looking to Perdue to advocate for their needs in trade talks. This comes after the Senate confirmed Sonny Perdue with a 87 to 11 vote on Monday.

"I love Canada, but they've outsmarted our lawmakers for a long time", he said.

The "no" votes came mainly from liberals, including U.S. Sens. NMPF looks forward to working with Secretary Perdue and his staff at USDA to improve the tools available to dairy farmers to help manage the economic and natural risks they face.

As agriculture secretary, he will be in charge of around 100,000 employees and the nation's food and farm programmes, including agricultural subsidies, conservation efforts, rural development programmes, food safety and nutrition programmes such as food stamps and federally-subsidised school meals.

"Food is a noble thing to trade", Perdue said.

"Making sure that Americans who make their livelihoods in the agriculture industry have the ability to thrive will be one of my top priorities".

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