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NMPF Urges Senate to Confirm Agriculture Secretary Nominee Perdue; Welcomes Former Secretary to USDEC

February 6, 2017

President Donald Trump has chosen former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue to head the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), a moved hailed last month by NMPF as important to the future of American agriculture policy.  NMPF has urged the Senate to swiftly confirm Perdue as Agriculture Secretary in the coming weeks, as other new members of the Trump cabinet begin their roles.

Perdue brings a strong background in farming as well as government administration to USDA.  He served from 2003-2011 as the governor of Georgia, where agriculture is the state’s leading industry.  Prior to that, Perdue was a state legislator and small businessman. He is also a trained veterinarian, which gives him unique insights into the issues facing America’s livestock producers in the areas of animal health, food safety and the environment, according to National Milk.

Perdue’s role as the chief advocate for farmers and rural America is crucial in this new administration, especially at a time of stress in farm milk prices, NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern said in backing Perdue for the position.

“Starting right away, NMPF will seek to collaborate with Secretary Perdue and his agency on ways to strengthen the safety net for dairy farmers, relieve regulatory burdens and enhance opportunities to keep and grow markets abroad for our dairy exports,” he said.

NMPF also welcomed Perdue’s predecessor at USDA, former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, to his new role as President and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC), which shares offices in Arlington with NMPF.

“We are thrilled Tom Vilsack will dedicate his talents in the coming years to expanding opportunities across the globe for America’s dairy farmers,” Mulhern said.  Vilsack started Feb. 1 as head of USDEC, which works closely on trade issues with NMPF.

“Secretary Vilsack arrives at USDEC at a pivotal time, as we continue to face both challenges and opportunities to expanding U.S. dairy exports,” Mulhern said. “Secretary Vilsack’s familiarity with our trading partners provides him with a strong background to advance the programs of USDEC and its members in the future.