May 11, 2017
Farmers gained a new advocate in Washington when Sonny Perdue was confirmed Secretary of Agriculture April 24, more than three months after President Donald Trump’s inauguration.
Perdue’s confirmation begins the process of selecting new USDA leadership, said Federation National Legislative Programs Director Mitt Walker.
“Alabama farmers have waited for months for state-level leadership to be named at the Farm Service Agency and Rural Development offices,” Walker said. “We hope Secretary Perdue will move swiftly to fill these posts as he rounds out his team.”
The day after his confirmation, Perdue and Trump met with farmers, including American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall, to discuss the agricultural economy. During the meeting, Perdue was tapped to head a task force identifying unnecessary or overly burdensome regulations impeding agriculture’s economic output.
He has already moved to reverse strict standards in the school lunch program, which the previous administration imposed.
Perdue’s changes allow states more flexibility in nutritional standards, resulting in schools offering foods students readily eat, Walker said.
In other news, the Senate and House reached an agreement to fund the government for the remainder of fiscal year 2017.
Cotton and dairy interests hoped the continuing resolution would address farm bill programs that haven’t performed as anticipated due to market conditions. The spending package addressed neither issue, but provides an additional $5 million for feral swine damage.