Long Awaited Hearing For Ag Secretary Nominee

Mar 24, 2017  | 3 min  | Ep4231

While a Supreme Court nominee hearing and the health care debate garnered much of the spotlight the Senate’s Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry committee room was the focus for many in rural America.

Former Georgia Governor George “Sonny” Perdue’s appearance comes as many in rural America – the same electorate that helped put Donald Trump into the White House - have felt slighted by delays in the selection process.

Peter Tubbs reports.

Sonny Perdue finally had his day in the committee room.

Committee members wanted to hear from the former governor how he plans to show rural constituents he will fight back against the proposed cut in funding.

Sen. Steve Daines, R- Montana: “Governor, as Secretary, how will you ensure that ag’s voice will be heard loud and clear within this Administration to fight for our farmers and ranchers, to ensure we have access to new markets abroad and not face retaliation?”

Sonny Perdue: “Food is a noble thing to trade. We’ve got a great story to tell. We’ve got producers here that can produce more than we need to consume. That’s not the case in many parts of the world. So why don’t we use that bounty to supply one of the fundamental needs of mankind around the world.”

Sen. John Thune, R – South Dakota: “Can you commit to ensure that we will have a strong RFS to provide economic security to rural communities?”

Sonny Perdue:  “I can do that, and I’m happy to have also the President’s commitment of his concern and interest in that area as well.”

Sen. Joe Donnelly, D – Indiana: “I want to talk to you a little bit about crop insurance. It’s critically important to my state. It’s something we are going to be working on in the farm bill.”

Sonny Perdue: “I thought that you all in the ‘14 farm bill made a lot of progress in the crop insurance area. Obviously it can always be refined, and be made better, but it’s vital. To farmers, to good producers there, that need that safety net from both the risks of production and pricing that you all did so well in that area. I hope we can continue that and enhance that. To me I think the American taxpayer gets a good value for that, and hopefully we can work together. I look forward to working with you all as we continue, if I am confirmed, to make sure that the crop insurance program is sound and solid, and a good economic value.”

Patrick Leahy, D – Vermont: “I ask you to support finding a way to include dairy farms for year round labor. You can’t ask someone to come in for six months and then say “OK,” to the cows, “I’ll be back in six months to milk you again.” Sheep and goat herders have that exemption. Will you work with us to find a way to have dairy farm workers in the same way that goat and sheep herders are?”

Sonny Perdue: “There’s a need. Obviously many of our dairy workers are immigrant workers. While there are exemptions other places certainly they are very qualified for that as well.”

No date has been set for a vote on Perdue’s nomination.

For Market to Market, I’m Peter Tubbs


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