Sonny Perdue made his first appearance before the House Agriculture Committee this week as Secretary of Agriculture. He says the current U.S. agricultural economy is in “ dire straits ” but that could be helped by a stronger trade presence abroad. Perdue says he sees challenges ahead as President Trump’s initial budget cuts the USDA allocation by 21 percent. “We’ve got to sell our way out of this supply and demand situation that’s depressing prices right now,” Perdue said to committee members. Perdue announced plans to reorganize the USDA with a goal of bringing in a USDA Undersecretary for Trade. It’s a position authorized in the 2014 Farm Bill but the position was empty in the final years of the Obama administration. As global markets continue to expand, he says it’s important to make sure American agriculture is in position to take advantage of that. Perdue is already looking at candidates. In describing his perfect candidate, he says, “I want someone who wakes up every morning and says, ‘where can we sell more U.S. products today’ and ‘what trade barriers can we take down today?’”
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting news service.