Media reports surfaced late Wednesday that the official announcement of a new Secretary of Agriculture will be made on Thursday. Indications are that it will be former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue. His name was one of the first to surface as a possible pick for the USDA post, following his trip to Trump Tower in late November. His selection will satisfy the agriculture industry’s request for someone with farming experience.
There was frustration at the Fort Wayne Farm Show on Wednesday over the lack of an announcement of a new Secretary of Agriculture. Randy Kron, president of Indiana Farm Bureau, told HAT, “It is time to get it done.”
Newly elected 3rd district congressman Jim Banks, who visited the show on Wednesday, was confident the President-elect would make a good choice, “I am optimistic and hopeful he will pick a person who will put farmers and the farming community first.” He said he is supportive of the nominees President-elect Trump has made to date, “I am pleased with the direction Mr. Trump has set out to take with the EPA and other government agencies.” Banks said his first vote in Congress was to limit the growth of government regulations.
Purdue Ag Economist Chris Hurt, who delivered an economic outlook for 2017 at the show, said the changes coming in Washington will have an impact on the farm economy, “Trade is the number 1 concern. Some of the harshest comments Mr. Trump has made are aimed at China and Mexico, our No. 1 and No. 3 agricultural trading partners.” He added that, as a businessman, he hopes the new President will understand the value and importance of trade, but said the uncertainty over future trade policy is a cloud over the farm economy.
Assistant Dean of the College of Agriculture Jason Henderson told HAT the Trump election has given farmers a feeling of confidence and increased optimism about 2017. He cited the recent Purdue/CME Agriculture Barometer which showed a significant jump in farmer optimism after the November election. Yet, the delay in naming a new head of USDA caused concern and raised fears that agriculture is not a top priority of the new administration.
Hoosier Ag Today coverage of the Fort Wayne Farm Show is made possible by Brodbeck Seeds and Farm Credit Mid-America.