Purdue Talks USDA Staffing Issues

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U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue was in Kansas City at the National Association of Farm Broadcasters Trade Talk. Perdue addressed dozens of farm reporters from across the nation, but a reoccurring question hinged on not having a fully staffed USDA.

Senator Ted Cruz from Texas put a hold on Iowa Secretary Bill Northey to be Under Secretary until he can talk about the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Senator Jeff Flake from Arizona has put hold on the nomination of Gregg Doud to be the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative's Chief Agriculture Negotiator because of a controversial provision in NAFTA negotiations.

Perdue says he knows there's a lot of tradition in the Senate, but he doesn't agree with blue slipping nominees for issues that don't relate to them.

He says the only strategy he does have would be appealing to the conscious of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Perdue says, "Bill Northey is obviously very important. God help us if he's not on board by January, for heavens sakes. We hope to get that done. I will probably go and make direct appeals to the Senate, leadership of the Senate if it goes on that long. We're trying to be respectful but there is a limit to that."

Perdue visited Iowa on Friday, participating in a roundtable discussion about agriculture tax and risk management with Governor Kim Reynolds.