Sec. Perdue Testifies on Rural Economy
May 19, 2017

On Wednesday, May 17, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue testified before the House Agriculture Committee on a range of topics, focused largely on the importance of trade; but covering the farm bill, school nutrition and foreign labor. Opening the hearing, Chairman Mike Conaway (Texas) commended the Secretary's recognition of the importance of trade, efforts to reign in the waters of the United States rule, and restoring common sense in the school lunch program.

"Against the backdrop of a four-year, 50-percent decline in net farm income, Sec. Perdue's comments rightly recognized the concern of America's farmers and ranchers and the many challenges faced by rural America," said Conaway. "I was pleased to hear the secretary express his dedication to effectively and efficiently optimizing USDA to better see America's farmers and ranchers through these tough times."

Sec. Perdue stressed the President's commitment to ensuring trade in the wake of the U.S. pulling out of the Trans Pacific Partnership and discussions around renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. "This administration is not against free trade at all, it's about fair trade," Perdue said. "It was trade, labor and regulation as I heard over and over again. And I think critically important is agricultural labor."

Sec. Perdue also expressed his support for the ongoing efforts to establish a foot-and-mouth disease vaccine bank, citing that he views "vaccines as a wise insurance program" and supported extending emergency grazing on Conservation Reserve Program acres in areas hit hard by recent wildfires.