The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue participated in a town hall meeting at the 51st World Ag Expo taking place at the International Agri-Center in Tulare. Attendees got the opportunity to address Secretary Perdue with some of the concerns of the agricultural community.
Before the meeting began, Secretary Perdue was made an honorary World Ag Expo volunteer and noted his love of farm shows. Questions directed at the Secretary of Agriculture ranged from getting a federal milk marketing order established in California, to expectations of the Farm Bill, to crop insurance and other protections. Water also appeared to be a significant topic of discussion at the meeting.
“California’s a complex mix obviously of state water rules, some federal districts and others,” said Secretary Perdue. He also recognized the negative effects to California growers from the Waters of the U.S. rule. “Every time it rained, every puddle out there would be claimed by Corps of Engineers, so those are the kinds of things we’re looking for modernizing,” Secretary Perdue noted.
The underlying message Secretary Perdue delivered to the crowd of approximately 120 attendees, was that the agency is continuing to work on the significant concerns of the farmers in California. “A legal, foreign-born workforce is absolutely vital to California, as the rest of the farmers in the U.S. and again, looking to continue in the deregulatory environment to reduce the kind of regulations that are impediments to the safe production of food,” said Secretary Perdue.
While the Secretary of Agriculture is in California he will also be taking several tours of ag facilities throughout the state as part of his goal to better understand the needs of the diverse group of farmers in the state. Some of the planned tours include a Porterville Citrus packing house, a Giacomazzi almond orchard, and DeGroot Dairy. As part of Secretary Perdue’s mission to address the challenges facing American farmers, he has visited 33 states in the past nine months.