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Senate confirms Perdue for agriculture secretary, farm groups respond

Erik-S-Lesser/GettyImages Sonny Perdue
Sonny Perdue is the 31st Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture, confirmed April 24 by the U.S. Senate.

Sonny Perdue is the 31st Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture, confirmed April 24 by the U.S. Senate.

Though the former Georgia governor was President Donald Trump’s last cabinet nominee, Perdue garnered widespread support from national farm groups. His confirmation, though some felt too long in coming, was never really in question.

Following the confirmation’s announcement, national farm and other interest groups commended the decision. Here are comments from a few:

“Secretary Perdue is a long-time friend to me and farmers across Georgia, and soon to the millions of men and women across our country who feed and clothe our nation. He is a real-world farmer himself and knows the business inside out,” said Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau Federation president and Georgia farmer. “He understands the impact farm labor shortages, trade agreements and regulations have on a farmer’s bottom line and ability to stay in business from one season to the next.

“There’s important work ahead for the secretary, and he’ll need to address these challenges against the backdrop of the biggest drop in farm prices and income we’ve seen in decades. But just like America’s farmers and ranchers, I know Secretary Perdue isn’t afraid of a hard day’s work. We are confident he is the right man for the job at hand,” Duvall said in a written statement.

United Fresh Board member Bill Brim of Lewis Taylor Farms of Tifton, Ga., said, “I’ve known and worked with Sonny Perdue for many years, and I know what a dedicated public servant he is. I also know that he really understands and appreciates the value of the fresh produce industry to this country. I’m confident that he’ll do everything he can to work with United Fresh and all of our industry to help us meet the many challenges and opportunities we have before us. His confirmation ... is a great development for the entire fresh fruit and vegetable production chain.”

National Cotton Council Chairman and Georgia cotton producer Ronnie Lee said, "The U.S. cotton industry also believes that someone from this country’s second largest cotton-producing state (Georgia) well recognizes what is necessary to stabilize the U.S. cotton industry. We are excited and stand ready to partner with Secretary Perdue with a goal of getting programs and policies in place that will ensure our industry continues to contribute to the American economy."

“President Trump has made it clear he supports a good farm bill that is delivered on time and includes a strong safety net for our nation’s farmers. That is absolutely critical as rural America struggles against the largest 4-year percentage decline in net farm income since the start of the Great Depression. It is good to have someone at the table fighting on behalf of rural America, and I look forward to working with Secretary Perdue as we develop a strong farm bill that improves the lives of America’s farmers and ranchers,” said House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway in a written statement.

National Association of Conservation Districts President Brent Van Dyke said, "NACD appreciated (Perdue's) endorsement of voluntary conservation in this nomination hearing and look forward to working with him, now and throughout his tenure, to advance the adoption of voluntary conservation on working lands across this country.”

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