President-elect Donald Trump has selected former Georgia Gov. George “Sonny” Perdue as his secretary of agriculture.
The National Pork Producers Council hailed the pick – the final Trump cabinet post to be filled – as “very good for America’s farmers and ranchers.”
Perdue, who is a veterinarian, was governor of Georgia from 2003 to 2011. Prior to that, he served in the Georgia Senate for 10 years. A member of Trump’s agricultural advisory team, Perdue grew up on a row crop farm in central Georgia and owned agricultural businesses.
“Well, we don’t have a lot of pork production down in Georgia,” said NPPC President John Weber, a pork producer from Dysart, “but Sonny Perdue is from a farm family and he’s a veterinarian. As head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, he’ll be very good for America’s farmers and ranchers.
“You know, the last guy we had at the head of USDA was from the No. 1 corn, egg and pork producing state in the nation, and that didn’t do us much good,” he added.
In his two terms as governor, Perdue presided over the state’s top-ranked agricultural economy. Georgia is perennially ranked in the top two for producing cotton, eggs, peanuts and poultry and near the top in the production of fruits, including blueberries, cantaloupes, peaches and watermelon. Other top crops include cabbage, sweet corn, onions, bell peppers and tomatoes.
“NPPC believes Sonny Perdue will make a great secretary,” Weber said. “He knows farming, he knows exports are vital to U.S. agriculture and he knows you need to run USDA like a business, not like the bureaucracy it’s been for the past eight years. We strongly support him, and we urge the Senate to confirm him as the 31st secretary of agriculture.”
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, who was mentioned as a possible candidate for the post, issued a statement of support for Perdue this morning.
“Governor Perdue has a very good reputation within the ag industry and I look forward to working with him as he leads USDA,” Northey said. “He has a strong background in agriculture, having grown up on a farm, is a veterinarian and has worked in the agribusiness sector. USDA is a critically important partner for our department and I’m excited to continue that strong working relationship around issues of animal health, soil conservation, water quality and many others.”