US Agribusiness Pleased with Perdue as Secretary of Agriculture; Conservationist Not So Much

Sonny Perdue. Photo courtesy of Bruce Tuten from Savannah, Georgia, United States

The final appointee to Donald Trump’s cabinet seems to be well-liked all around, and was praised as an excellent choice for Secretary of Agriculture by several US agriculture groups.

Former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue was praised by US agribusiness associations as an “outstanding” choice for the cabinet post.

Perdue was acclaimed by the National Grain and Feed Association for his vast experience. He was an owner of three agribusiness and transportation companies that farmers across the south utilize. He was also a member of the NGFA’s board of directors from 2014 until the time of his nomination.

“Governor Perdue is an accomplished, innovative, problem-solving and proven public servant, and is an excellent choice to serve as secretary of agriculture,” said Randy Gordon, president of the NGFA. “He has strong rural roots, having grown up on a row-crop and dairy farm, and is a person of impeccable character, trustworthiness and integrity who is an energetic, passionate and tireless advocate for U.S. agriculture and for America. Gov. Perdue also is a very open and receptive person who seeks out and listens to advice. He also possesses the business acumen, experience, common sense and sound policy-making background that will serve him extremely well as a member of the president’s cabinet.”

Other interest groups are not so sure about Perdue, saying that while he was Governor he showed favor to the timber industry while ignoring the effect the loss of forests have on climate and global warming.

Conservationists and climate activists point out that Perdue has ties to the timber industry, being an owner of woodland himself, and has dismissed climate change science as inconclusive. He has questioned the connection between extreme weather and climate change, he received campaign funding from the timber industry, and has been a supporter of converting forests to ethanol, despite those implications for climate change as well.

“The concern is we’ll go back to the Reagan days—of billions of board feet of wood coming out of the national forests,” said Mark Woodall, the legislative chair of the Sierra Club’s Georgia chapter. “There’s a concern that Sonny Perdue has always been close to the timber companies and would be favorable to them.”

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