What Secretary Sonny Needs From Santa

AgWired Animal, AgWired Precision, Audio, USDA

It’s been a long and busy year for Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, but he here at the end he is still short-staffed at USDA and could use some help from Santa to get the job done.

“I had no idea we would be delayed like this and it’s unfortunate,” said Sec. Perdue in a recent interview with Iowa Agribusiness Network‘s Ben Nuelle. “We have seven or eight different mission areas that need leadership, we’ve got less than half of those filled.”

One of the delays continues to be Bill Northey as USDA Under Secretary of Farm Production and Conservation, who was nominated over three months ago but put on hold by Sen. Ted Cruz over ethanol politics. “The senate has its rules where one member can hold a nominee in this way, it has nothing to do with Bill Northey’s qualifications,” said Perdue. “But there is a provision where the majority leader can bring his nomination to the floor…over the objection of Sen. Cruz.”

As Congress gets closer to passing a final tax reform bill this week, Secretary Perdue says it would make a “tremendous Christmas present for Americans,” especially farmers. “We revere farmers and all that they do, we have to remember they are businesses as well and they gotta make a profit to stay in business and the less they have to pay in any expense, including taxes, the better they can reinvest in their farming operation.”

Listen to Ben Nuelle’s interview with Sonny here. It was conducted earlier this month, but all of Perdue’s comments are still pertinent – Iowa Agribusiness Network interview with Sec. Perdue

Sec. Perdue made his first appearance at the National Press Club last week to talk about USDA’s mission, the 2018 farm bill, trade, and other topics. Listen to that here: Sec. Perdue at National Press Club