U.S. Agriculture Secretary Visits Iowa

U.S Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue was in town, just a little north of Des Moines in Nevada, touring a farm and giving one of his first speeches on the job.

He opened with a story of first meeting Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley saying, "I want to tell you something Senator, I want to tell all your family out here. I'll be happy to be an adoptive Iowa son here as Secretary of Agriculture."

In his speech, Perdue maintained the importance of ethanol and talked about the importance of trade.

He also says he and the President are going to roll back regulations on agriculture, saying they will work for farmers not against them, "We want to let farmers farm again, we want to let ranchers ranch again, and we want to grow food for the world. We want to do right, there's an ethical component to that, we want to do right, honestly, transparently. But we want to feed everyone."

Secretary Perdue has a lot to do in his first few weeks in office, one being appointing a Deputy Secretary and undersecretaries for his office.

After the speech, Perdue was asked what he was looking for in USDA leadership, he says the goal is to have diversity, "You can't have all corn growers, you can't have all soybean growers, nor cattle or pork or beef. so we want to get diversity there. Not only that but you've got gender diversity. Racial diversity. I want the USDA to look like America and perform. I want it to be the best and most effectively managed and operating agency in the USDA. And that starts with good people. And that's why we're taking our time. Searching out the creme of the crop across the United States for the right people."

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey is allegedly on a short list of top USDA positions. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he has spoken to Perdue in support of an Iowan in a top spot.

Secretary Perdue looked at cows on the farm of Bill Couser, participated in a roundtable discussion, then addressed a host of Iowa farmers and legislators, headed to a lunch and discussion with agriculture leaders at the Iowa Cattlemen's Association, before heading off to look at an APHIS location at Iowa State University.