Secretary Sonny Perdue Talks Trade, Farm Bill, MFP Tariff Payments and More at FFA ConventionMon, 29 Oct 2018 10:59:14 CDT
US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue visited FFA members during the 91st National FFA Convention in Indianapolis this past week, to highlight the national ag-centric youth organization and its impact in communities across the country. He spoke briefly with Farm Broadcaster Tom Brand of Brownfield Ag News, about some of the more pressing issues that his team at the United States Department of Agriculture is working on currently to help farmers through the challenging economic times they are facing. Overall, the Secretary says, "things are going well" at USDA. Listen to the complete conversation between Brand and Perdue, by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
"I think we're making progress," Perdue said. "We'd love to have a Farm Bill and I think we'll get one before the end of the year. The trade issues we've seen are coming together nicely with the NAFTA or USMCA between Canada and Mexico; our renewed agreement with South Korea and now beginning serious conversations with the European Union and Japan."
As the Trump Administration continues to build US trade relations with nations around the globe, Perdue says he is confident that the primary antagonist in US commerce currently, China, will eventually come to the realization that President Trump and the American people are serious when it comes to playing fairly in the world marketplace. But while trade remains a top concern for Perdue and his team, USDA is working on several other projects, too, including the relocation of the Department's NIFA and ERS offices.
According to Perdue, more than 130 cities have made formal expressions of interest in hosting these USDA components. Perdue says moving these offices away from the DC area is a good thing, which will result in affected USDA employees an opportunity to take advantage of a lower cost of living, shorter commute times and small-town quality of life. Ultimately, though, all this will save taxpayers' money and will help acquire and retain quality talent at USDA.
"We're delighted and we're treating it just like a business relocation," Perdue said. "We've hired a relocation consultant to help do it very objectively and transparently."
Regarding the Farm Bill, Perdue says the House and Senate are still working to resolve their differences in opinions when it comes to nutrition work requirements. He insists that the Administration wants to empower able-bodied citizens to break their dependence on government subsidy and help them prepare themselves for proper employment to lift them and their families up and put them on a path of sustainable success.
"In this environment, we have more jobs available and people to fill them," he said. "We want to help these people to get back into the workplace and to get back going for their families. There's dignity there and their families are going to be better off."
Purdue also allayed concerns that the second round of payments to farmers hurt by tariffs through the Market Facilitation Program might not be paid. He reassured farmers that payment distribution was being looked at and that it would probably happen sometime in the 4th Quarter of this year - most likely during late November or early December.
Once again, we were taking pictures in and around the 2018 National FFA Convention- click or tap here to check out the National Convention Album on FLICKR. By the way- we continue a tradition as several state officers of the Oklahoma FFA will be taking pictures for us during the course of the meeting.
Our exclusive coverage of the 2018 National FFA Convention in Indianapolis October 24-27 is a service of ITC Great Plains, Your Energy Superhighway- learn more about this high voltage, transmission only utility and their commitment to the communities they serve which is the cornerstone of their business - Click or tap here for their webpage. We also appreciate the support of the Oklahoma FFA Association and the Oklahoma FFA Alumni Association. Click or tap here for more information about one of the top states in the US in the FFA- the Oklahoma FFA Association. FFA is a student organization for high school-aged students interested in agriculture and leadership. Oklahoma FFA impacts the lives of over 27,000 members in 359 chapters across the state.
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