Farm groups are rallying behind former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue as the pick for USDA Secretary. The nomination came as a relief to farm interests after a strong rural vote and wins in swing agriculture states.
In response to the nomination, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley tweeted concerns on how a secretary with a southern agriculture background will bring Midwestern agriculture to the table.
Senator Grassley has had clashes with southern agriculture states in the past. In 2015, he tried to tighten farm payment limits by changing the farm bill and it passed both House and Senate, but that was taken out.
Also Midwestern agriculture does not benefit from commodity certificates, when it was put back in the farm bill after removal in 2008, Grassley criticized southern lawmakers for pushing it through.
But the American Farm Bureau, which strongly supports Purdue, is trying to settle worries of Perdue's Southern versus Midwestern roots.
Senior Economist Bob Young says, "He's a down in the dirt farmer, has grown crops as well, and again, I think it's going to be a very good partner for agriculture as we roll forward. Somebody who's been there, done that kind of thing. In the past we've had folks that have had a great affinity but not necessarily had lived it. Governor Perdue has absolutely lived it."
Senator Grassley says he looks forward to meeting with Governor Perdue and learning his views on agriculture.