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Sonny Perdue confirmed as US Secretary of Agriculture

The American Farm Bureau Federation welcomes the confirmation and swearing in of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.

The U.S. Senate confirmed Perdue's nomination Monday afternoon.

"As I have said before, Perdue's background growing up on a farm, his service in the military as a veterinarian, as well as his career in agribusiness and successful tenure as governor, make him a good fit to lead the US Department of Agriculture at this critical time for our nation's farmers and ranchers".

"All of these things are over issues that those of us in agriculture see as potential limiting factors economically and things that we need to address", he said. As governor of Georgia, Perdue enacted strict food-safety regulations after a deadly salmonella outbreak was traced to peanut butter from Georgia.

During his confirmation hearing in March, he assured farm-state senators that while advocating for rural America he will also be sure to reach out to Democrats.

While literally hundreds of farm, ranch and agricultural groups endorsed Perdue's nomination as it came before the Senate, there were dissident voices, mostly outside the industry.

Democrats surely think so. And hearings have already begun for the next farm Bill, due in 2018 and responsible for farm subsidy programs, food stamps and school meals, rural infrastructure and much more.

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Nebraska 3rd District Congressman Adrian Smith of Gering, founder and co-chairman of the Modern Agriculture Caucus, praises the confirmation.calling it "great news for Nebraska agriculture" because Perdue is "well-positioned to lead the USDA in helping create more opportunity for US producers".

All this comes as Trump tries to crack down on illegal immigration to the USA, an issue that could leave many farms short-staffed due to their reliance on foreign - and sometimes, undocumented - workers. Trump also proposed cuts to the State Department and Environmental Protection Agency.

Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, the chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said Perdue will help facilitate recovery in small American towns. Current farm policy expires next year, and lawmakers on the House and Senate agriculture committees will have to find a way to push it through Congress amid heightened partisan tensions and concerns over spending.

Sonny Perdue, with his wife Mary Perdue, takes the oath of office administered by Associate Justice Clarence Thomas in the U.S. Supreme Court Building, becoming the 31st U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.

Clements: Perdue told USDA employees Tuesday that trade will be a top priority of the department.

"The U.S. cotton industry also believes that someone from this country's second largest cotton-producing state well recognizes what is necessary to stabilize the U.S. cotton industry", stated Lee, a Bronwood, GA, cotton producer.

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