Ag Policy Blog

Vilsack Backs Perdue for Agriculture Secretary

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
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The presidential transition team issued a news release Tuesday championing that former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has endorsed Sonny Perdue as his successor.

The transition team noted Perdue "is the only cabinet nominee to secure the support of his predecessor in the Obama Administration."

Perdue was the governor of Georgia from 2003-2011 and also is influential in the grain and feed industry. Yet, Perdue was also the last cabinet-level nominee selected by President Donald Trump and that has slowed his nomination process. Perdue might not get a hearing before the Senate Agriculture Committee until after mid-February.

As DTN Political Correspondent Jerry Hagstrom reported Tuesday, Vilsack spoke with Perdue for about a half-hour over the phone last week on the importance of trade and budget challenges facing USDA.

According to the transition team, Vilsack said he had worked with Perdue in the past and knows the former governor is committed to helping farmers and ranchers regardless of their size or production methods.

“As a former governor, he knows full well the opportunities and challenges that exist in rural communities. He will, I am sure, work hard to expand opportunity in rural America," Vilsack said.

Vilsack added, "Coming from Georgia he knows the importance of maintaining healthy forests so he will be supportive of the Forest Service in its mission of protecting and restoring our forests. As a former governor he will understand and pay attention to the many and varied interests that depend on the department including efforts to provide all of us and especially our children with safe, nutritious and affordable food.

"Finally, his familiarity with our great land grant university system, including minority-serving institutions, place him in a good place to advocate for the work at those colleges and universities in research and the development of the next generation of farmers, ranchers and producers.”

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