Sec Perdue's Mission From The Trump Administration Is To Quote "Take care of our farmers"Fri, 01 Mar 2019 14:57:23 CST
United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue addressed farmers from across the country gathered in Orlando, Friday, at the 2019 Commodity Classic. This is the second time the Secretary has attended this joint conference hosted by the National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association, National Sorghum Producers and the National Association of Wheat Growers.
Perdue got right to the point upon taking the podium during Friday’s General Session. Perdue complimented his audience, calling farmers smart people, but nonetheless impatient at times - always asking of their politicians what they have done for them today and what will they do for them tomorrow. He used that premise to address the Ag industry’s recent pressure on USDA to follow through on Trump Administration promises. For instance, year-round E15 sales.
Perdue insisted that movement on that front has been made but requested producers remain patient as the rule making processes continue. He assured that Andrew Wheeler, just confirmed by the Senate as Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, was in recent days hesitant to guarantee that rule by the summer driving season. However, Perdue says that promise will be met, sharing that in a recent conversation with Wheeler, the new Administrator has found a way to accomplish that task on time by June 1st.
In addition, Perdue talked about the process underway to implement the provisions of the 2018 Farm Bill. He says at present USDA continues to collect information that will help in deploying these various programs. Again begging he pardon of the delays caused by the government shutdown that occurred earlier this year.
Perdue also highlighted the recent achievements in regulatory pathways made for critical chemical tools and Sorghum-based biofuels that will continue to support and stimulate the Ag economy.
Regarding trade, the Secretary applauded the industry’s collective support for the USMC Agreement adding that it is up to Congress to ratify the deal and must understand how important this treaty is to farmers and the entire US economy.
Perdue praises US Trade Ambassador Robert Lighthizer for his steadfast cooperation with Ag producers and representing their interests, particularly in going to bat for the industry with China.
The Secretary singled out Sentinel, Okla. wheat farmer and President of the National Association of Wheat Growers Jimmie Musick, who during the session prior to his made some very frank remarks, which Perdue said were truly reflective of the current attitude of most farmers across the country - tired of the tense trade environment and the constant attacks on the rural way of life.
Tariffs continue to be an issue Perdue says he is working with the President to find solutions on, hoping to transition tariffs into a quota system that might alleviate current pressures until more amicable trade relationships can be constructed.
“I think he is using the power of his office to make long lasting change. And I am cautiously optimistic about the progress,” Perdue said. “I think and hope both sides can make progress in these negotiations. I know President Trump wants a deal done. But there are lots of challenges, hurdles and details to go through.”
Perdue contended that agricultural trade is high on the President’s priority list, quoting him directly in saying, “Sonny, I want you to take care of our farmers.”
The President’s affinity for farmers was made evident Perdue says in his direction to allow the USDA to engage in trade mitigation and inject profitability into the industry that suffered the brunt of the recent trade retaliations against the US.
Perdue concluded his time asking the audience to join him in praying for positive outcomes in regard to trade negotiations ongoing with our major trading partners. He added that the USDA remains committed to providing the best customer service to America’s farmers and ranchers and to continue to share the story of American agriculture before closing.
Listen to Secretary Perdue’s entire remarks made during the 2019 Commodity Classic by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below.
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