Last week USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue traveled to Cincinnati and announced major changes to the agency’s structure. Indiana farmers were there to hear about it firsthand. Perdue talked about establishment of a new USDA Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs. Indiana Farm Bureau president Randy Kron, along with major farm groups, was happy to hear the emphasis on trade.
“Secretary Perdue understands the importance of trade,” Kron said. “I talked a little bit about how important trade was to Indiana agriculture and where we rank with some of the numbers and what it means to us. There is no doubt he gets it. He understands trade is important, and my hope is, and he even commented that he’s going to make sure that the President understands what trade means to agriculture. So he understands the importance of trade and he understands a lot of other issues.”
The Cincinnati visit happened the same day the U.S. Senate finally confirmed Robert Lighthizer as U.S. Trade Representative under President Donald Trump, more welcome news, according to Kron.
A day after talking trade, Perdue was welcoming the agreement between the United States and China on several key trade issues, including the return of American beef to the Chinese market after a hiatus that began in 2004.
Kron also brought up crop insurance. He wanted to be sure Perdue knew how important that is to Indiana farmers as a new farm bill begins to get hammered out.
“We talked about the importance of risk management, crop insurance, and how important it is especially for the younger generation for crop insurance and having access to capital. He seemed to understand that, he knew it was important, but one of the comments he made was that he can advocate for that, but he needs us to be talking to our legislators so they understand the importance of it too.”
Kron was joined by other Indiana farmers, including Indiana Farm Bureau vice president Kendell Culp. Listen to more from Randy Kron:Randy Kron on meeting with new USDA Sec Sonny Perdue
(Photos courtesy USDA)