President-elect Donald Trump has picked an Agriculture Secretary. On Wednesday night, former governor of Georgia Sonny Perdue was nominated.
Perdue was born on a farm and was a veterinarian before becoming a two-term governor in Georgia serving from 2003 to 2011, where he was the first Republican to be elected as governor for more than a century. His key agricultural issues there while governor were water management and making changes to the tax code to help farmers.
Purdue was a founding partner for a grain merchandising company with elevators in Georgia and South Carolina and formed a trading company in 2011 focusing on exports.
Before the nomination, Perdue served on the Governor's Council of the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington D.C.
The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) strongly endorses Perdue saying he has a strong background and commitment to the business of agriculture.
Vice President of AFBF Scott VanderWal says, "Our national President Zippy Duvall knows him very well, worked with him when he was governor of Georgia. He's an agriculturalist from his background, he's a veterinarian and our people that know him from when he was governor say that he really worked well with agriculture and he understands the issues."
VanderWal adds the farm bureau is hopeful Perdue will help avoid trade wars with partners like Canada, Mexico, and China.
The National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson is hopeful that Purdue will be the voice agriculture needs right now. If confirmed, he will have to start work on the next farm bill with farmers and ranchers struggling in a downward trending ag economy.
Johnson says, "Given the challenging state of the farm economy, more than ever, family farmers and ranchers need a champion in Washington D.C. I am hopeful we will find that champion in secretary designee Sonny Perdue."
Johnson says they look forward to working with Purdue to develop a strong farm safety net.
On the local level, Iowa Senator Joni Ernst says, “As a veterinarian, Mr. Perdue understands the agriculture industry, and has executive branch experience as a former governor. I look forward to thoroughly vetting him for this position before our committee.”
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey adds Purdue has a a strong background in agriculture, he says, “Governor Perdue has a very good reputation within the ag industry and I look forward to working with him as he leads USDA."