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Gov. Sonny Perdue tapped by President Trump as Agriculature Secretary; Leading Ag organizations weigh in

Category: Agribusiness

Brunswick Business Journal Staff Report

January 20, 2017 - Last night, President-elect Donald J. Trump tapped former Georgia Government Sonny Perdue to serve as the country's next Secretary of Agriculture.

In response, the Georgia Republican Party issued the following statement: "Sonny Perdue is committed to our farmers, small business owners, and rural communities," said Georgia Republican Party Chairman John Padgett.  "While in office, Gov. Perdue worked tirelessly to strengthen Georgia's economy by supporting our agriculture industry. I have the utmost confidence that his experience as a veterinarian, lawmaker, chief executive, and agribusiness giant will serve him well as he leads the U.S. Department of Agriculture. We are so proud of Sonny and wish him all the best as he takes on this important role in the Trump Administration."

Gov. Sonny Perdue is the second Georgian tapped to serve in President-elect Trump's cabinet. In November, Congressman Tom Price (GA-6) was appointed by Trump as Secretary of Health and Human Services.

A number of national agriculature lobbying groups have weighed in on the choice by President Trump.  On Friday, the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) commended President-elect Donald J. Trump on his "outstanding" choice of former two-term Georgia Gov. George E. (Sonny) Perdue III to serve as the 31st secretary of agriculture.

“As the owner of three agribusiness and transportation firms serving farmers across the Southeast, Perdue had served as a member of the NGFA's Board of Directors from 2014 until his nomination,” they stated. He previously served on the NGFA's Country Elevator Committee in the late 1980s before successfully winning election to the Georgia state Senate in 1991, where he served until 2001.

Gov. Perdue won election as Georgia's governor in 2003 - the first Republican to do so in 135 years - and was reelected to a second term in 2006 with 58 percent of the vote.

"Gov. Perdue is an accomplished, innovative, problem-solving and proven public servant, and is an excellent choice to serve as secretary of agriculture," said NGFA President Randy Gordon. "He has strong rural roots, having grown up on a row-crop and dairy farm, and is a person of impeccable character, trustworthiness and integrity who is an energetic, passionate and tireless advocate for U.S. agriculture and for America. Gov. Perdue also is a very open and receptive person who seeks out and listens to advice. He also possesses the business acumen, experience, common sense and sound policy-making background that will serve him extremely well as a member of the president's cabinet."

Gordon also stressed Perdue's belief in and commitment to agricultural trade, and its importance to U.S. economic growth, job creation and the vitality of rural communities, in this week’s press release.

“During his two terms as Georgia governor, Perdue promoted the state and its products to 25 countries, while making significant investments in the state's port infrastructure, leading to record levels of exports of Georgia products. As leader of his agribusiness enterprises, Perdue also has traded agricultural commodities in domestic and export markets,” the NGFA added.




"We believe Gov. Perdue will be a proactive advocate for U.S. agriculture in expanding mutually beneficial trade that is so essential to the future economic well-being of U.S. farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses in all regions of the country, given the fact that 95 percent of consumers live outside our borders," Gordon said.

The NGFA also noted that Perdue is a fierce advocate of regulatory reform, and brought those talents to the Georgia statehouse while serving as governor. "There's no question he will bring that same zeal to roll back regulatory excesses within the federal government that have undermined the competitiveness and efficiency of America's farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses," Gordon said.

The NGFA said it looked forward to the Senate Agriculture Committee conducting confirmation hearings on Perdue's nomination as soon as practicable, given the importance of having strong leadership at the helm of USDA, and to working with the new secretary agriculture once he is confirmed. No date for those hearings has been announced.


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