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Sonny Perdue must 'expand market opportunities for all types of agriculture,' says NFU

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By Elaine Watson+

19-Jan-2017
Last updated on 19-Jan-2017 at 20:30 GMT2017-01-19T20:30:45Z

Picture: sonnyperdue.georgia.gov
Picture: sonnyperdue.georgia.gov

It’s been a long time coming, but President elect Trump has chosen his agriculture secretary - former Georgia governor Sonny Perdue – pleasing some food and farming associations, but alarming Friends of the Earth.

In a statement issued this morning, Trump said: “Sonny Perdue is going to accomplish great things as secretary of Agriculture. From growing up on a farm to being governor of a big agriculture state, he has spent his whole life understanding and solving the challenges our farmers face, and he is going to deliver big results for all Americans who earn their living off the land.”

Perdue, who grew up on a farm in Georgia and was on Trump's agricultural advisory committee during his campaign, served two terms as governor of Georgia (2003 to 2011), before setting up Perdue Partners LLC, an Atlanta-based trading company, in 2011.

News of his impending appointment was welcomed by the American Farm Bureau Federation, which said he “understands the challenges facing rural America,” while the North American Meat Institute praised his “extensive knowledge and experience in the agricultural sector,” and the National Farmers Union said it hoped he would “expand market opportunities for all types of agriculture production.”

National Chicken Council president Mike Brown, meanwhile, noted that Perdue was "acquainted with a wide array of agriculture commodities, from chicken and peanuts to cotton and timber," while the Corn Refiners Association described him as an "excellent" choice and a "thoughtful, caring leader who listens to all perspectives."

However, environmental advocacy group Friends of the Earth said Perdue did not take man-made climate change seriously, and would “prioritize the profits of big agribusiness and trade over the interests of American farmers, workers and consumers.”

In a facebook post  written last night, Perdue's cousin, Georgia senator David Perdue , wrote: "I am so proud of my cousin, Sonny Perdue, for being nominated to be our next Secretary of Agriculture. His executive experience as Governor of Georgia – the first Republican in 135 years – and his background in agribusiness and veterinary practice easily make him the best person for the job."

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