Farm Progress

Agriculture Secretary to keynote 82nd annual Delta Council Day

Former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue to headline Delta Council Day festivities in Cleveland, Miss., on June 9.

Forrest Laws

May 9, 2017

2 Min Read
Sonny Perdue became the 31st agriculture secretary when he was sworn in in late April.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has accepted an invitation to be the keynote speaker for the 82nd annual meeting of the Delta Council. The organization’s Delta Council Day will be held at the Bologna Performing Arts Center at Delta State University in Cleveland, Miss., June 9.  

Perdue, who served two terms as governor of Georgia, was sworn in as the 31st secretary of agriculture in late April. He is the first southerner to hold the position since former Congressman Mike Espy of Mississippi.

“We are so pleased that agriculture’s friend from Georgia, Sonny Perdue, will be the featured speaker for this year's Delta Council Annual Meeting,” said Delta Council President Harry Simmons. “Secretary Perdue has an impressive background as an agribusiness man and two-term successful Governor of Georgia, and we look forward to the opportunity to hear him.”

Perdue, a native of Perry, Ga., earned a doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of Georgia. Perdue served in the Air Force, and, following a brief tenure as a practicing veterinarian, started two businesses from the ground up, concentrating in agribusiness and transportation.

His public service began in the 1980s when he served on the Houston County Planning and Zoning Board. He then successfully ran for the state senate, becoming majority leader in just four years, followed by his election as president pro tempore.

Two-term governor

In January 2003, Perdue was elected to serve as Georgia's governor. He won reelection by an overwhelming margin in November 2006. As governor, Perdue focused on improving education, providing better access to health care, creating quality jobs for Georgians, and increasing resources for stronger, safer communities.

In addition to hosting Secretary Perdue, Delta Council will honor more than 140 high school seniors as Delta Honor Graduates with the ceremony beginning at 9:00 a.m., located ‘under the tent’ next to the Bologna Performing Arts Center. Dignitaries will welcome the honor graduates, their families and school officials to the Annual Meeting of Delta Council and present them with engraved certificates recognizing them as 2017 Honor Graduates.

The top Honor Graduate will be selected by higher education officials and be presented a $2,500 scholarship during the 10:30 a.m. business session.

“The Delta Honor Graduate event is designed to raise the level of awareness of parents, teachers, and our local communities of the importance of bringing these bright young minds back to the Delta after they have completed their formal and advanced education,” said Cass Pennington of Indianola, who serves as chairman of the Delta Council Education and Health Policy Committee.

Catfish lunch on Quadrangle

The traditional fried catfish luncheon will conclude the program for the 82nd annual event on the grounds of the Quadrangle on the Delta State University Campus.

Sponsors for the 82nd annual meeting include: BankPlus, Catfish Farmers of Mississippi, Cotton, Incorporated, Sanders, Inc., Mississippi Corn Promotion Board, Mississippi Rice Promotion Board, Mississippi Soybean Promotion Board, and Southern Ag Credit/Mississippi Land Bank.

For more information on the annual meeting, visit


About the Author(s)

Forrest Laws

Forrest Laws, senior director of content for Farm Press, spent 10 years with The Memphis Press-Scimitar before joining Delta Farm Press in 1980. He has written extensively on farm production practices, crop marketing, farm legislation, environmental regulations and alternative energy. He now oversees the content creation for Delta, Southeast, Southwest and Western Farm Press. He resides in Memphis, Tenn. He served as a missile launch officer in the U.S. Air Force before resuming his career in journalism with The Press-Scimitar.

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