Sonny Perdue confirmed as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture

Sonny Perdue, right, pictured here at a political event in 2008 was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as Secretary of Agriculture. (Photo courtesy Bruce Tuten/Flickr)
April 24, 2017 - 3:09pm

Three months into his term, President Donald Trump now has in place his Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue. The U.S. Senate confirmed Perdue's nomination Monday afternoon. Here’s what you need to know about the person now in charge of many the nation's farm and food policies.

Perdue served two terms as governor of Georgia

Prior to serving as governor of Georgia from 2003-2011 as a Republican, Perdue was elected to represent his Middle Georgia district in the state Senate as a Democrat. He switched to the GOP in 1998.

While in office, Perdue was dogged by ethics complaints

The complaints generally stem from Perdue’s involvement with family business ventures during his time as governor, as the New York Times reported.

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Perdue grew up on a farm and has worked in agribusiness
Perdue earned a doctorate in veterinary medicine and has had a long career operating family agribusiness and transportation companies. His cousin, Georgia Sen. David Perdue, is a member of the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee and supported Trump on the campaign trail. This is not, however, the same family as runs Perdue Farms, the large poultry company.

While environmental groups question the choice, agricultural groups generally support Perdue

A coalition of environmental groups that includes Food & Water Watch and the Center for Biological Diversity in an email called Perdue’s committee hearing and vote “disappointing.” The American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Farmers Union are among the large number of farm groups that have voiced support for the selection of Perdue.

HARVEST VIDEO: Who is new Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue? The former Governor of Georgia will be in charge of leading a federal agency with a $150 billion budget and big issues to deal with on food and agriculture. 

Harvest Public Media is a reporting collaboration focused on issues of food, fuel and field. Harvest covers these agriculture-related topics through an expanding network of reporters and partner stations throughout the Midwest.



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