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Sonny Perdue officially sworn in as Secretary of Agriculture

Former Georgia Governor becomes the 31st person to hold the position

By Diego Flammini
Assistant Editor, North American Content

Sonny Perdue is officially the 31st Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture.

The 70-year-old former Governor of Georgia, veterinarian, agribusiness owner and member of the United States Air Force was confirmed by a vote of 87-11 on Monday. Purdue was sworn in on Tuesday by Clarence Thomas, associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

During his first address to USDA staff, Perdue underscored the importance of the department.

“The United States Department of Agriculture (is) such a meaningful agency,” he said. “(The department) is so broad, so vast, so deep and so meaningful to so many people.

“What can be more noble than food? We get to participate in that … and that’s an awesome responsibility.”

USDA officials need to keep farmers at top of mind as they go about daily business, Perdue said.


“We need to have a heart for what they go through every day as producers,” he said. “(Producers) are (in their fields) doing the tough jobs. They’re the ones that give us our job.”

Farm organizations throughout the United States welcomed Secretary Perdue.

The American Soybean Association is “glad that Secretary Perdue is finally on board,” Ron Moore, ASA president, said in a statement. “We look forward to … working with Secretary Perdue and his team in the months and years ahead.”

The National Corn Growers Association is “ready to partner with Secretary Perdue and the rest of the Administration to build a better farm economy,” the organization said on its website. “That begins with strong trade policy and continued investment in renewable fuels.

“It also means protecting risk management programs during a weak economy, and beginning preparations for the next farm bill. There is much work to do and we are eager to begin.”

Secretary Perdue’s upbringing on a farm makes him the right person for the position, says the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF).

“He is a real-world farmer himself and knows the business inside out,” Zippy Duvall, AFBF president, said in a release. “He understands the impact farm labor shortages, trade agreements and regulations have on a farmer’s bottom line and ability to stay in business from one season to the next.”

“(And) just like America’s farmers and ranchers, I know Secretary Perdue isn’t afraid of a hard day’s work.”

The USDA also launched Secretary Perdue’s official Twitter handle.

He can be followed at @SecretarySonny.

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