US Senate confirms Perdue as Trump's agriculture secretary

Bob Robbie and Leah Maass ready equipment for planting season on their farm near Ellsworth Iowa

During his tenure as governor from 2003 to 2011, he declined to place his business interests in a blind trust and regularly came up against the state ethics commission. "Having known and worked with Sonny in his various capacities as a state senator and governor, I know firsthand his professionalism and his passion for rural America".

Mississippian Mike Espy served as agriculture secretary under President Bill Clinton, leaving in 1994.

As ABC News noted, Perdue is the first Southerner in more than 20 years to hold the post, and has promised to advocate for rural communities amid Trump's plan to cut billions of dollars from the Department of Agriculture's discretionary budget. That's why I'm so confident that he is the right person for the job.

President Trump will turn to one of his favorite executive tools - the 180-day report - to look for ways to boost rural America, signing an executive order Tuesday for his newly confirmed secretary of Agriculture.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday took executive action in an effort to help grow the domestic agriculture industry during a meeting at the White House with more than a dozen US farmers.

All this comes as Trump tries to crack down on illegal immigration to the United States, an issue that could leave many farms short-staffed due to their reliance on foreign - and sometimes, undocumented - workers. Perdue's cousin, Sen. David Perdue, R-GA, voted present. Sen.

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USDA officials need to keep farmers at top of mind as they go about daily business, Perdue said. He also promised to reach out to Democrats.

"Secretary Perdue is a distinguished alumnus of the University of Georgia, and we are grateful for the tremendous support he has demonstrated for his alma mater over the years", said UGA President Jere W. Morehead in a press release. "Agriculture needs a strong advocate", he told the committee. The current measure expires in 2018.

At his hearing, he pledged to help senators sustain popular crop insurance programs and fix problems with government dairy programs. "AFFI stands ready to work with the new secretary and others in the administration to provide millions of Americans with convenient access to nutritious, safe and affordable food", said the American Frozen Food Institute, based in McLean, Va., in a statement. I also know that he really understands and appreciates the value of the fresh produce industry to this country. There are now more than 100,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) employees under his direction. "Perdue proved he possesses the experience and expertise to lead in this pivotal role", Sen.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of NY also talked to Trump about the dairy issue last week in a rare phone call between the two men.

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.

Mr. Perdue is expected to start work at the USDA, which employs around 100,000, by addressing employees Tuesday.

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