Perdue Takes Reigns at USDA
April 28, 2017

Sonny Perdue was sworn in as the 31st U.S. Secretary of Agriculture by fellow Georgian and Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Clarence Thomas in a brief ceremony on April 25 at the Supreme Court building. The U.S. Senate confirmed Sec. Perdue by a vote of 87-to-11 the evening before the ceremony. After Sec. Perdue took the oath of office, he addressed employees at the U.S. Department of Agriculture before getting to work on his first day.

"The only legacy that I seek is the only one that any grandparent or parent seeks - to be good stewards, and to hand off our nation, our home, our fields, our forests and our farms to the next generation in better shape than we found it," Perdue said. "Making sure that Americans who make their livelihoods in the agriculture industry have the ability to thrive will be one of my top priorities. I am committed to serving the customers of USDA, and I will be an unapologetic advocate for American agriculture."

Perdue's policies as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture will be guided by four principles which will inform his decisions.

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. It should be the aim of the American government to remove every obstacle and give farmers, ranchers and producers every opportunity to prosper.

Second, he will prioritize customer service every day for American taxpayers and consumers. They will expect, and have every right to demand, that their government conduct the people's business efficiently, effectively and with the utmost integrity.

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. Food security is a key component of national security, because hunger and peace do not long coexist.

And fourth, Perdue will always remember that America's agricultural bounty comes directly from the land. And today, those land resources sustain more than 320 million Americans and countless millions more around the globe. Perdue's father's words still ring true, "We're all stewards of the land, owned or rented, and our responsibility is to leave it better than we found it."

The American Sheep Industry Association supported Perdue's nomination. In a letter to the Senate Agriculture Committee, then ASI President Burton Pfliger wrote, "His background of service to our country and his educational background as a practicing veterinarian gives our members and sheep producers throughout the country confidence he will understand the needs of agriculture and rural America as head of the USDA."

Now that Sec. Perdue is on the job, there is plenty to be done.

"America's sheep producers welcome Sec. Perdue and are anxious to see USDA fully staffed to ensure priorities such as Wildlife Services predator control are top of mind, and that producers continue to have access to valuable tools such as the M-44 sodium cyanide device," said ASI Executive Director Peter Orwick.

Source: USDA