WASHINGTON, Jan. 19, 2017 – The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) today commended President-elect Donald J. Trump on his “outstanding” choice of former two-term Georgia Gov. George E. (Sonny) Perdue III to serve as the 31st secretary of agriculture.
In making the nomination, Trump forecast that Perdue would “accomplish great things” at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “From growing up on a farm to being governor of a big agriculture state, he has spent his whole life understanding and solving the challenges our farmers face, and he is going to deliver big results for all Americans who earn their living off the land,” Trump said in a statement.
In a separate statement, Perdue said, “making sure Americans who make their livelihood in the agriculture industry are thriving is near and dear to my heart, and I’m going to champion the concerns of American agriculture and work tirelessly to solve the issues facing our farm families in this new role.” Perdue will be subject to a yet-to-be scheduled Senate Agriculture Committee confirmation hearing. Earlier on Thursday, Perdue paid a courtesy-call on Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., who issued a statement following the meeting. On Wednesday, Perdue had visited USDA headquarters.
As the owner of three agribusiness and transportation firms serving farmers across the Southeast, Perdue had served as a member of the NGFA’s Board of Directors from 2014 until his nomination. He previously served on the NGFA’s Country Elevator Committee in the late 1980s before successfully winning election to the Georgia state Senate in 1991, where he served until 2001. He won election as Georgia’s governor in 2003 – the first Republican to do so in 135 years – and was reelected to a second term in 2006 with 58 percent of the vote.
“Gov. Perdue is an accomplished, innovative, problem-solving and proven public servant, and is an excellent choice to serve as secretary of agriculture,” said NGFA President Randy Gordon. “He has strong rural roots, having grown up on a row-crop and dairy farm, and is a person of impeccable character, trustworthiness and integrity who is an energetic, passionate and tireless advocate for U.S. agriculture and for America. Gov. Perdue also is a very open and receptive person who seeks out and listens to advice. He also possesses the business acumen, experience, common sense and sound policy-making background that will serve him extremely well as a member of the president’s cabinet.”
Gordon also stressed Perdue’s belief in and commitment to agricultural trade, and its importance to U.S. economic growth, job creation and the vitality of rural communities. During his two terms as Georgia governor, Perdue promoted the state and its products to 25 countries, while making significant investments in the state’s port infrastructure, leading to record levels of exports of Georgia products. As leader of his agribusiness enterprises, Perdue also has traded agricultural commodities in domestic and export markets.
“We believe Gov. Perdue will be a proactive advocate for U.S. agriculture in expanding mutually beneficial trade that is so essential to the future economic well-being of U.S. farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses in all regions of the country, given the fact that 95 percent of consumers live outside our borders,” Gordon said.
The NGFA also noted that Perdue is a fierce advocate of regulatory reform, and brought those talents to the Georgia statehouse while serving as governor. “There’s no question he will bring that same zeal to roll back regulatory excesses within the federal government that have undermined the competitiveness and efficiency of America’s farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses,” Gordon said.
The NGFA said it looked forward to the Senate Agriculture Committee conducting confirmation hearings on Perdue’s nomination as soon as practicable, given the importance of having strong leadership at the helm of USDA, and to working with the new secretary agriculture once he is confirmed.
The NGFA, established in 1896, consists of more than 1,050 grain, feed, processing, exporting and other grain-related companies that operate more than 7,000 facilities and handle more than 70 percent of all U.S. grains and oilseeds. Its membership includes grain elevators; feed and feed ingredient manufacturers; biofuels companies; grain and oilseed processors and millers; exporters; livestock and poultry integrators; and associated firms that provide goods and services to the nation’s grain, feed and processing industry. The NGFA also consists of 29 affiliated State and Regional Grain and Feed Associations, and has strategic alliances with Pet Food Institute and North American Export Grain Association.