President Trump has selected former Georgia Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue for United States Secretary of Agriculture.
The selection of Perdue will fulfill a suggestion of outgoing Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who had proposed the next president choose a governor because the activities of the USDA are so broad. Perdue is a doctor of veterinary medicine and was a member of Trump’s agricultural advisory committee, and popular with that group.
It remains to be seen what impact Secretary Perdue will have on the emerging hemp industry, with Georgia – his home state – still struggling to define it’s hemp program under the Farm Bill Amendment. We hope that Secretary Perdue will rely on council from Senate Majority Leader, Mitch MccConnel, to support the hemp industry and help it develop under his leadership. Look to Kentucky’s ‘southern leadership’ to have an even more powerful influence on the emerging U.S. hemp industry the next four years.
As a southerner, Perdue can be expected to be a traditionalist on the importance of commodity supports and sensitive to the cotton industry, which has suffered problems since the 2014 farm bill ended its traditional support program in order to respond to a World Trade Organization case against the U.S. cotton program that the United States lost to Brazil.
After departing the governorship in 2011, Perdue founded Perdue Partners — an Atlanta-based company that deals in global trade and focuses on the exporting of U.S. goods. (download Perdue Partners product brochure). Perdue’s first cousin, David Perdue, is a U.S. senator who represents Georgia and sits on the Senate Agriculture Committee.
American Soybean Association President Ron Moore, an Illinois producer, said the soybean growers congratulated Perdue, and said his members look forward to working with Perdue on everything from implementing “a viable risk management framework to helping expand our markets overseas, to investing in agricultural research here at home.”
At Hemp Business Journal, we believe the issue of agricultural spending seems certain to arise in the context of the upcoming 2018 farm bill. We will continue to cover how the pilot programs under Section 7606 will be impacted by Secretary’s Perdue’s leadership. We have hope his background in commodities will help seed, fiber and CBD pricing indexes become further established, and pave the way to job creation and a prospering U.S. hemp industry.
Image Credit: Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue talks with reporters on Nov. 4, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. Jason Getz / Getty Images