Inviting farmers to the White House, Trump looks to boost rural America

"Sonny Perdue is the kind of leader the pork industry, and the entire livestock industry, needs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture".

President Trump signed an executive order Tuesday telling the Agriculture Department to identify and eliminate potentially unnecessary regulations that "hurt farmers and rural communities".

During Monday's remarks to the Senate, Chairman Roberts noted six former secretaries of agirculture representing presidents from both parties voiced support for Perude, along with 700 agriculture and food industry groups. "I look forward to working with him as a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee to make our agriculture, farming, and ranching industries vigorous and strong now, and for future generations". The agricultural sector, which heavily relies on exports, has also watched warily as President Trump's administration has moved ahead with an overhaul of USA trade policy, including withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which farm groups generally had backed. "I voted to confirm Sonny Perdue today because I am hopeful that he will work with us on issues critically important to our state - like defending the Renewable Fuel Standard and guarding against cuts to the USDA, which would undermine job training programs and hamstring our ability to prepare for disasters like the avian flu and droughts".

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.

Rep. Adrian Smith said Third District agricultural producers recently made it clear to him they wanted to see Perdue confirmed as soon as possible, "so we can hit the ground running on agriculture policy". "Governor Perdue's leadership is desperately needed by farmers, families and all Americans who rely on the USDA".

He also visited Cuba, China and South America as part of several trade missions aimed at growing exports for Peach State farmers.

Among the issues the farmers want to discuss with the President: Immigration and trade.

"The U.S. cotton industry also believes that someone from this country's second largest cotton-producing state well recognizes what is necessary to stabilize the U.S. cotton industry", said Lee, who farms near Bronwood, Ga.

"Governor Perdue's confirmation comes at a critical time as negotiations for the 2018 farm bill reauthorization are underway and as the White House drafts a new trade agenda", Schemm said.

Perdue will oversee USDA's more than 100,000 employees and a budget exceeding $150 billion.

"He is a real-world farmer himself and knows the business inside out", Zippy Duvall, AFBF president, said in a release.

  • Rogelio Becker