WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, today held a hearing on the nomination of former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue to be the next U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.
“The Department of Agriculture is made up of 29 agencies and offices. And, it employs nearly 100,000 men and women that work in all 50 states and around the globe. The Department provides leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, nutrition, scientific research, and related issues that impact Americans every day,” said Chairman Roberts.
“Now, more than ever, agriculture needs a voice—an advocate—at the highest levels of government. And, Governor Perdue has been nominated to serve in exactly that role.”
Click here to watch the hearing and read testimony.
The Committee will hold a separate business meeting to vote on the nomination.
The following is Chairman Roberts’ opening statement as prepared for delivery:
Good morning members of the Committee, I call this meeting of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry to order.
This morning, we welcome Governor Sonny Perdue, the President’s nominee for U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.
Members of this Committee have great appreciation for the farmers, ranchers, consumers, and other stakeholders that are directly affected by decisions made by the Secretary.
The Department of Agriculture is made up of 29 agencies and offices. And, it employs nearly 100,000 men and women that work in all 50 states and around the globe. The Department provides leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, nutrition, scientific research, and related issues that impact Americans every day.
Throughout our nation’s history, our farmers, ranchers, and folks in rural America have survived drought, disease, floods, tornados, lately…fires, and whatever else Mother Nature throws at them. Year-after-year, they produce the safest, most abundant, and affordable food and fiber supply in the world. However, today, growers from across the country are facing tough economic times with multiple years of low prices.
These same producers need a strong market for their goods. During this critical time, the importance of trade for the agriculture industry cannot be overstated.
And if that was not enough, over the last eight years, farmers, ranchers, and rural businesses have been burdened by regulations from agencies across the Federal government. I’ve heard time-and-time again that costly and hard-to-understand regulations endanger the ability of our producers to stay in business.
This Committee will continue its efforts to make government a partner in their success not an adversary.
And, this Committee has a lot of work to do over the next two years, including reauthorization of the Farm Bill. We intend to do that work in the bipartisan fashion that has served us so well in the past.
Now, more than ever, agriculture needs a voice—an advocate—at the highest levels of government. And, Governor Perdue has been nominated to serve in exactly that role.
He is from Georgia and has spent his entire life in and around agriculture. The Governor was raised on a farm and was a practicing veterinarian before returning to his home county to work in the grain business. He was elected to serve in local and state government, including two terms as Governor of Georgia. While serving farmers throughout the Southeast, he gained firsthand experience with the complexity of transportation and the global commodities market.
Governor, the Senate’s role of advice and consent is an important responsibility. And, today is a key step in that process. We look forward to hearing your testimony and to asking you questions about how you view the role of Agriculture Secretary, should you be confirmed.
In addition to the Governor, I would also like to welcome and recognize his wife, Mary, his 4 children and their spouses, and his 14 grandchildren. The Governor is also joined by many of his friends and former staff from Georgia. We welcome you to the Committee.
And, I’m especially glad to have former Ag Committee Chairman, and Senator from Georgia, Saxby Chambliss and Georgia Congressman David Scott, who serves on the House Agriculture Committee, with us to provide introductions of our nominee.
But before we hear from Senator Chambliss and Congressman Scott, I want to turn things over to Senator Stabenow for any remarks.