What the new USDA chief means for food retail
The U.S. Senate confirmed the former Georgia governor as Secretary of Agriculture by a vote of 87 to 11 and on April 25, he became the 31st United States Secretary of Agriculture.
Food retail groups have been overwhelmingly positive about Perdue's appointment. In January, the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), which represents food, beverage and consumer product companies, weighed in on the former governor’s nomination.
“As Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue’s agricultural business background and experience as governor will serve the U.S. well," the trade group said in a statement. “GMA looks forward to working with him on issues key to keeping America's food the safest and most affordable food supply in the history of the world."
Perdue, 70, grew up on a dairy farm and holds a doctorate in veterinary medicine.
“The only legacy that I seek is the only one that any grandparent or parent seeks – to be good stewards, and to hand off our nation, our home, our fields, our forests, and our farms to the next generation in better shape than we found it,” Perdue said. “Making sure that Americans who make their livelihoods in the agriculture industry have the ability to thrive will be one of my top priorities. I am committed to serving the customers of USDA, and I will be an unapologetic advocate for American agriculture.”
Perdue’s policies as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture will be guided by four principles that will inform his decisions:
- Maximize the ability of the men and women of America’s agriculture and agribusiness sector to create jobs, to produce and sell the foods and fiber that feed and clothe the world, and to reap the earned reward of their labor. It should be the aim of the American government to remove every obstacle and give farmers, ranchers, and producers every opportunity to prosper.
- Prioritize customer service every day for American taxpayers and consumers. They will expect, and have every right to demand, that their government conduct the people’s business efficiently, effectively, and with the utmost integrity.
- As Americans expect a safe and secure food supply, USDA will continue to serve in the critical role of ensuring the food we put on the table to feed our families meets the strict safety standards we’ve established. Food security is a key component of national security, because hunger and peace do not long coexist.
- Remember that America’s agricultural bounty comes directly from the land. And today, those land resources sustain more than 320 million Americans and countless millions more around the globe.
Upon nominating Secretary Perdue in January, President Donald J. Trump said, “Sonny Perdue is going to accomplish great things as Secretary of Agriculture. From growing up on a farm to being governor of a big agriculture state, he has spent his whole life understanding and solving the challenges our farmers face, and he is going to deliver big results for all Americans who earn their living off the land.”