More than three months after he was nominated, former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue was confirmed by the Senate as agriculture secretary on an 87-11 roll call.
Perdue will race into action, addressing USDA employees on Tuesday morning after a swearing-in ceremony and will join President Trump at an agricultural roundtable discussion at the White House in the afternoon.
Trump will sign an executive order on Tuesday for a 180-day task-force review of regulations, policies and laws that hinder economic growth in agriculture, said White House agriculture adviser Ray Starling. Perdue will chair the interdepartmental task force. The 15 farmers, ranchers and specialty crop producers at the roundtable are expected to stress the importance of farm exports to the economic health of the sector.
At the North American Agricultural Journalists meeting, Starling said Trump recognizes the hard work and low profit margins of modern agriculture. “He said, ‘I love my farmers.’ He said, ‘Farming is tough. Farming is a tough way to make a living,'” said Starling.
The strong and bipartisan Senate vote was evidence that Perdue was the least controversial of Trump’s cabinet nominees and of the broad support of farm and agribusiness groups for him. Perdue was the last of Trump’s original nominees for the cabinet, announced on the day before the presidential nomination. He will have the latest starting date for an agriculture secretary in an incoming administration since USDA became a cabinet department in 1889.
Fifty Republicans and 37 Democrats voted to confirm Perdue. Democrats cast all of the opposing votes. Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand of New York State was the only member of the Senate Agriculture Committee to vote against him. Georgia Sen. David Perdue, a cousin, voted present.
By: Chuck Abbott
Source: Successful Farming at Agriculture. com