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Senate confirms Sonny Perdue as agriculture secretary

"United Fresh congratulates Secretary Perdue on his confirmation today by the full Senate".

President Donald Trump nominated Perdue in January but progress on his confirmation was slow due to media reports suggesting that undoing his various business entanglements caused delays in the ethics filings, according to U.S. News. "Perdue has pledged to be an advocate for open and worldwide markets which is very important right now to our farm income, income projected to be about half of what it was just four years ago".

Midwest farm state senators had expressed concern about a Southerner understanding agriculture in the Northern Plains as Trump has proposed cutting.

"What can be more noble than food? We are confident he is the right man for the job at hand".

"We want to be facts and evidence-based", he said, adding he wants the agency to be data-driven and make decisions based on sound science and data. The Senate is scheduled to hold a confirmation vote late Monday afternoon, where Perdue is expected to receive bipartisan support. "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".

With farm prices down for several years and with a dispute with Canada's dairy industry in progress, will Perdue have viable solutions?

In a statement Senate Agriculture Committee ranking member Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) who originally opposed the nomination, said:"After a thorough review of his qualifications and priorities, I support the nomination of Governor Perdue to serve as Agriculture secretary". But just like America's farmers and ranchers, I know Secretary Perdue isn't afraid of a hard day's work.

Lawmakers voted 87 to 11 in favor of Perdue, who takes office as the agricultural community grapples with the key issues of trade and immigration. "Agriculture needs a strong advocate", he told the committee.

"We are confident that Secretary Perdue will be a champion for USA agriculture and will help the Trump administration build strong relationships with key trading partners".

Perdue is taking over a department that faces a 21 percent funding cut proposed by Trump in his budget blueprint last month - the third-largest proposed cut to any federal agency. But farmers who produce more than they can sell in the United States have heavily profited from some of those deals, and are hoping his anti-trade policies will include some exceptions for agriculture.

South Dakota Senator John Thune also touts Perdue's experience as a farmer, agribusinessman and public servant while the state's other senator, Mike Rounds, was a fellow governor with Perdue and says his leadership skills and knowledge of production agriculture will be beneficial as the Senate begins work on a new farm bill.

So far Trump has reached out to farmers and rural areas mostly on the issue of regulation, saying that the government has too many rules that negatively affect farm country.

"The success of rural America is inextricably linked to a strong Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and growing adoption of higher ethanol blends at the pump".

Perdue is slated to be sworn in during a short ceremony at the Supreme Court early Tuesday morning and later speak with department employees before participating in a farmer roundtable and executive order signing with Trump.


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