Ag Policy Blog

Ag Groups to Trump: USDA Needs More Leaders

Jerry Hagstrom
By  Jerry Hagstrom , DTN Political Correspondent

A coalition of 17 farm groups asked President Donald Trump in a letter Wednesday to appoint more officials at the Agriculture Department.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, the only Senate-confirmed appointee at USDA, has said he does not believe any more nominations will go forward for Senate consideration until September.

"As you approach the 200-day mark of your administration, we write to encourage you to move quickly to fill key appointments within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)," the groups wrote.

The groups pointed out USDA is one of the largest federal departments, with more than 100,000 employees across the country. "USDA is responsible for developing and executing federal laws related to agriculture, farming, forestry and food. With a struggling rural economy—which has seen a 55% decrease in income over the last three years—we need leaders and decision makers in place to serve farmers, ranchers and consumers."

In a letter, the coalition wrote, “We applaud you for picking such a strong Secretary of Agriculture in Sonny Perdue. We have the utmost faith that he will continue to do an outstanding job serving your administration and our nation. But he can’t do it alone. The absence of high-ranking officials at USDA puts our farmers and ranchers at a disadvantage. It is impossible to pilot such a large and complex agency without a team of powerful and talented people at the helm.”

The coalition includes the National Corn Growers Association, the American Soybean Association, the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Farmers Union and other groups.

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