Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue has been confirmed as the new Secretary of Agriculture, making him the last announced President Donald Trump cabinet post. The Senate voted on April 24 to approve Perdue to the position by a vote of 87-11.
Governor Perdue has the bipartisan support of six past Agriculture Secretaries along with more than 650 agriculture groups in the country. A number of American agricultural businesses and associations spoken favorably of the pick.
“The USDA plays the most crucial of government functions for farmers across the country, and we are glad that Secretary Perdue is finally on board,” says Ron Moore, president, American Soybean Association, in a statement.
In this position, Perdue will be in charge of the nation’s food and farming programs and employees, including agricultural subsidies, rural development programs, and food safety programs such as food stamps.
“AFFI stands ready to work with the new secretary and others in the administration to provide millions of Americans with convenient access to nutritious, safe, and affordable food,” according to a statement by Alison Bodor, president and CEO, American Frozen Food Institution (AFFI).
Perdue has obtained a strong agricultural background, having grown up on a farm, earned a doctorate in veterinary medicine, and has owned several agricultural businesses.
“Secretary Perdue will play a critical role working on issues important to the fresh fruit and vegetable industry including the 2018 Farm Bill debate, immigration reform, research, trade, and nutrition,” says Robert Guenther, senior vice president for public policy, United Fresh, in a statement.
Shortly after the post confirmation, United Fresh member and former Chairman of the Board Maureen Torrey participated in a roundtable discussion with President Trump and Perdue to discuss Trump’s new Executive Order to develop a task force addressing necessary agricultural industry changes.
“This initiative has the potential to have a tremendous impact on the ability of fresh fruit and vegetable providers to be in business. That’s why United Fresh will be engaging with the Task Force and other policymakers and officials to ensure the priorities of the fresh produce industry are part of the Task Force Report,” says Guenther.
The Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity will also include agency representatives within the federal government and is required to issue recommendations within 180 days of the Executive Order signing.
Robles is an editorial intern for Wiley’s U.S. B2B editorial division.