Sonny Perdue, confirmed by the Senate as the new agriculture secretary

"Secretary Perdue is highly qualified to run USDA, having grown up on a farm, been trained as a veterinarian, enjoyed success as a small businessman, and serving as Georgia governor for eight years".

President Donald Trump's proposed budget would slash spending on agriculture research and other rural development. Senator Gillibrand requested her opposition be recorded, noting her disapproval of how certain Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) issues in the State of Georgia were handled by then-Governor Perdue. "Secretary Perdue impressed me at our one-on-one meeting and at his hearing, and looking ahead I'll push him to be a strong voice for rural America, and a voice for the policies our producers need".

After months without an agriculture secretary, Perdue will be sworn in early Tuesday.

"As secretary, I will champion the concerns of farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers, and will work tirelessly to solve the issues facing our farm families", Perdue said.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway commended the confirmation and said that Perdue is a friend to the U.S.ag industry.

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Perdue was nominated for the post in January, but Senate action was held up while he made adjustments in his business holdings to comply with ethics requirements. The order comes shortly after the President announced the US will put a tariff on Canadian soft wood imports in response to the neighbor to the North's longstanding tariff on diary products that hurt American farmers. "AFFI stands ready to work with the new secretary and others in the administration to provide millions of Americans with convenient access to nutritious, safe and affordable food", said the American Frozen Food Institute, based in McLean, Va., in a statement. "Gov. Perdue's leadership is desperately needed by farmers, families and all Americans who rely on the USDA".

"Food is a noble thing to trade", Perdue said.

Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert hopes Perdue is aggressive in securing and opening up foreign markets for Illinois agricultural products, especially in Mexico and Canada through NAFTA, a trade agreement Trump has criticized.

After Perdue, remaining nominees for Trump's Cabinet to be confirmed are Robert Lighthizer for USA trade representative and Alexander Acosta for labor secretary. Senior Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer of NY and Dick Durbin of IL voted 'yes'. Debbie Stabenow of MI, the top Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee.

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