On the one year anniversary of his being confirmed as Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue appeared before the Senate Ag Committee on Tuesday to report on the state of the rural economy. Perdue told the committee the President and the cabinet are well aware of the financial situation facing farmers and rural communities, “They understand any kind of trade action will have a big impact on agriculture.” Perdue said farmers have a right to be anxious about the future, but he remains optimistic the President will be successful in resolving trade deals with China and NAFTA.
Most of the testimony focused on trade and the Farm Bill. Perdue restated his support for crop insurance and for a strong research title as part of a new farm bill. Perdue stated that the USDA has been working with the Labor Department to address the immigration issue and to find a way to change regulations to make it easier for farmers to obtain a documented workforce.
While Congressional hearings can be contentious, the Tuesday event was more of a love fest with obvious respect, agreement, and appreciation for the Secretary by member of both parties.