The U.S. Senate confirmed Sonny Perdue as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture by a vote of 87-11. Secretary Perdue was officially sworn in by Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Clarence Thomas.
The confirmation ended a long delay since the former Georgia governor was nominated two days before President Donald Trump’s inauguration in late January. Secretary Perdue will take the helm of the 100,000-employee department and craft policy concerning the country’s food and farm programs.
Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, the chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said Perdue will help facilitate recovery in small American towns. “I know he will put the needs of farmers, ranchers and others in rural America first,” Roberts said.
“He understands the impact farm labor shortages, trade agreements and regulations have on a farmer’s bottom line and ability to stay in business from one season to the next,” said Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau Federation president in a statement. “There’s important work ahead for the secretary, and he’ll need to address these challenges against the backdrop of the biggest drop in farm prices and income we’ve seen in decades. But just like America’s farmers and ranchers, I know Secretary Perdue isn’t afraid of a hard day’s work. We are confident he is the right man for the job at hand.”
Robert Guenther, Senior Vice President for Public Policy for United Fresh said in a statement that “Secretary Perdue will play a critical role working on issues important to the fresh fruit and vegetable industry including the 2018 Farm Bill debate, immigration reform, research, trade, and nutrition.”
David Fisher, New York Farm Bureau President noted the new ag secretary “understands trade, immigration and a whole host of other issues that are vital to a farmer’s success.”
Perdue is the 31st ag secretary in U.S. history and will have a new Twitter handle: @SecretarySonny.