ASI Circulates Letter of Support for the Confirmation of Former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue as Secretary of Agriculture
January 20, 2017

In a letter to the leadership of the Senate Agriculture Committee, American Sheep Industry Association President Burton Pfliger wrote the following:

ASI advocates for the nation's 88,000 farm and ranch families that produce America's lamb and wool. On behalf of these members and producers, we enthusiastically write in support of the confirmation of former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue and urge your support for his confirmation as Secretary of the Department of Agriculture.

During his term as Governor of the State of Georgia, Perdue brought common sense and sound business acumen to state government. 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.

America's sheep producers continue a strong tradition of supporting wildlife habitat, natural resources and open space across the country, enabled by careful resource management while grazing our flocks on private lands and federal grazing allotments, allotments managed in part by the USDA's Forest Service. Our members support rural communities, the tax base and local businesses, all while providing safe domestic food and fiber. From on the farm and ranch to the retail level, the sheep industry has a total annual economic impact of $4.4 billion, and supports nearly 98,000 sheep-industry related jobs. Unfortunately, this significant economic impact has been threatened by the Forest Service's poor decisions to shutdown multi-generation family grazing allotments. Equally concerning is the proposed abandonment of the nation's sole sheep research station under the USDA's Agriculture Research Service.

We believe, that if confirmed as Secretary of Agriculture, Gov. Perdue will support a vibrant rural economy. Important components of that rural economy are a robust predator management program through USDA's Wildlife Services, support for the critical work carried out through the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station, strong international animal health safeguards, the reliance on sound science in international trade, and true multi-use management of federal lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service.

We appreciate your dedicated leadership to our nation's agricultural producers. Likewise, we look forward to supporting Gov. Perdue throughout the confirmation process and working with the United States Department of Agriculture under his leadership.