On April 25, George “Sonny” Perdue was sworn in as the 31st Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and he has plenty of work ahead of him.
“I am hopeful about USDA. As I meet employees…across USDA it gives me a spirit of optimism that this agency is in good hands and we’ll be well served as we serve not only our producers, our shareholders the taxpayers, but also the consumers who depend on us for a safe food supply,” Perdue said soon after the confirmation. “I am excited to be on the job.”
At the top of the agenda is moving forward with the priorities of the Trump Administration.
“It has been a great honor and opportunity to work for a president who keeps his promises,” Perdue said. “Rolling back some of the onerous regulations that agriculturalists faced was very important and he’s done that. He’s trying to get a handle on the debt situation as well, really creating a spirit of optimism and hopefulness in this nation that we needed.”
Perdue will be facing some tough decisions ahead with a more than 20% budget cut for USDA proposed by the Trump Administration.
“I am prepared to defend that budget, although I would prefer it not be that way. But as an American facing a $20 trillion debt with 14 grandchildren, I don’t think it’s my moral responsibility to kick that debt to those 14 grandchildren. So I’m happy. I think that is what [President Trump] talked about in the campaign about fiscal conservatism to get things under control,” Perdue said. “Now a 20% or 21% cut in agriculture, that’s tough, but I governed from 2003 to 2011, which were not the best economic times in America. We devolved about 20% of the budget in that time. We did more with less. That is what we are going to do. We have to get this deficit under control.”
Perdue said his policies as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture will be guided by four principles. First, he will maximize the ability of the men and women of America’s agriculture and agribusiness sector to create jobs, to produce and sell the foods and fiber that feed and clothe the world, and to reap the earned reward of their labor.
Second, he will prioritize customer service every day for American taxpayers and consumers. Third, as Americans expect a safe and secure food supply, USDA will continue to serve in the critical role of ensuring the food we put on the table to feed our families meets the strict safety standards we’ve established. And fourth, Perdue will always remember that America’s agricultural bounty comes directly from the land.