Roberts: Senate confirms Trump's pick for agriculture secretary

Agriculture Secretary-designate former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue arrives to testify on Capitol Hill in Washington to testify at his confirmation hearing before the Se

WASHINGTON - The Senate on Monday confirmed former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue to be agriculture secretary in President Donald Trump's administration as the farming industry looks to Washington for help amid a downturn in the market.

Sonny Perdue's surprise victory over Gov. Roy Barnes in 2002 - making him Georgia's first GOP governor since Reconstruction - triggered a Republican wave in Georgia that flipped the state Senate and then the state House.

The last remaining cabinet-level role in Trump's administration, secretary of labor, has yet to be filled. "I was proud to cast my vote today in support of Sonny Perdue".

"I know he will put the needs of farmers, ranchers and others in rural America first", Roberts said.

Trump nominated Perdue, 70, in January but progress on his confirmation was slow, with media reports suggesting that undoing his various business entanglements caused delays in the ethics filings.

"He understands that the Agriculture Department has a profound impact on almost every community across the country and certainly every family", said U.S. Sen.

The farmers advising Trump "will make sure they leave the president with an impression of how important agriculture trade is, and particularly how important that trade is just North and just South of our borders", Starling said.

Current farm policy expires next year.

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Those who did speak said Perdue's background as a veterinarian and agri-businessman would make him a strong advocate for rural America at the Agriculture Department, or USDA.

"To say that this has been a while would be an understatement", he said.

Local farmers we spoke with said their following Sonny Perdue's confirmation process.

Georgia U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson also voted in favor of Perdue's nomination, saying the governor's "experience and leadership in public service, business and agriculture will benefit our nation". Perdue after he passed the 51-vote threshold needed for confirmation.

"Secretary Perdue is a long-time friend to me and farmers across Georgia, and soon to the millions of men and women across our country who feed and clothe our nation".

"NPPC and America's pork producers look forward to working with Secretary Perdue".

Farm issues are often dominated less by partisan or ideological considerations and more by jockeying between regional and crop-specific interests.

Mr. Perdue also will step into a growing trade dispute with Canada over USA -produced milk used to make cheese, which some US producers have argued is unfairly shut out of the Canadian market.

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