Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas did the honors, swearing in George “Sonny” Perdue as the 31st Secretary of Agriculture following his Senate confirmation a day earlier. The vote of 87-11 has long been awaited and anticipated by U.S. agriculture, and ag associations were quick to praise the confirmation.
“Decisions made every day at the USDA have a significant impact on our ability to run our operations," said NCBA President Craig Uden. “We are excited to have a secretary that comes from the industry, understands the complexities of our business, and is willing to stand up and fight for the hard-working men and women in rural America. We are looking forward to working with Secretary Perdue in his new role leading the Department of Agriculture.”
Likewise, Farm Bureau President Zippy Duval offered his praise. “Farm Bureau heartily congratulates Secretary Sonny Perdue on his new role leading our nation’s Agriculture Department. We are eager for agriculture to finally have a seat in the president’s cabinet, and we know Secretary Perdue is just as eager to get to work for farmers, consumers and rural America,” Duval said.
“Secretary Perdue is a long-time friend to me and farmers across Georgia, and soon to the millions of men and women across our country who feed and clothe our nation. He is a real-world farmer himself and knows the business inside out. 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.
“There’s important work ahead for the secretary, and he’ll need to address these challenges against the backdrop of the biggest drop in farm prices and income we’ve seen in decades. But just like America’s farmers and ranchers, I know Secretary Perdue isn’t afraid of a hard day’s work. We are confident he is the right man for the job at hand.”
According to Market Watch, Perdue, a Republican, grew up on a dairy farm and has managed agribusinesses.
The vote makes Perdue among the last members of Trump’s cabinet to be confirmed, though many other senior vacancies remain. Robert Lighthizer, Trump’s nominee for U.S. trade representative, and Alexander Acosta, nominated to head the Labor Department, still await confirmation, Market Watch reports.