Sonny Perdue is scheduled to be sworn as Agriculture Secretary in on Tuesday following Senate Confirmation
Former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue received Senate confirmation as agriculture secretary on Monday. Perdue is scheduled to be sworn today, and plans to meet with US Department of Agriculture (USDA) staff later today.
Perdue’s confirmation was won in a bi-partisan vote of 87-11. The proceeding and the final vote tally placing Perdue at the head of the USDA was announced on Monday by the new appointee’s cousin Senator David Perdue (R-Ga). Senator Perdue, in light of his conflict of interest, entered a vote of ‘present’ in relation to the confirmation.
As Secretary of Agriculture, the top position at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, for the former Governor will be in-charge of 100,000 employees and will be directly responsible the nation’s food and agriculture programs. Those programs include various food, farm and forestry programs, which deal with a variety of related issues, ranging from agricultural subsidies to conservation and rural development, and even reaching into food and nutrition programs, such as food stamps and federal subsidized school meals.
As Perdue takes his position at the lead of the USDA, he faces several challenges including falling farm prices, request for additional agricultural subsidies, a dispute with Canada’s dairy industry and a president that has proposed a 21% cut the USDA. All of this comes as the countdown to the 2018 expiration of the current farm bill looms close.
The farm bill, which comes up for renewal about every five years, is legislation that deals directly with how and to whom food related subsidies are dispersed. As Secretary of Agriculture one of Perdue’s main responsibilities will be to insure that the USDA works closely with members of Congress to ensure smooth passage of the next iteration of the bill in 2018.