By Zippy Duvall
President, American Farm Bureau Federation
Almost a week ago, Gov. Sonny Perdue was nominated to be the 31st secretary of agriculture. The announcement came after a long, somewhat nerve-racking wait and consideration of several contenders who are tremendous leaders for agriculture. However, a good decision is worth a little extra time, and the decision to nominate Gov. Perdue is an excellent one.
As a two-term governor of Georgia, Sonny Perdue always had an open door to agricultural interests in the state. Farm Bureau had a great relationship with the governor’s office while I was Georgia Farm Bureau president and Perdue was governor. I was honored to participate in a trade mission organized by the governor’s office to promote the state’s agricultural products, and Georgia’s ag exports grew under Gov. Perdue’s leadership. He ran a tight ship, reforming the state’s budgeting process while implementing tax reforms and making new infrastructure investments.
Over the past few weeks, the American Farm Bureau encouraged the president’s transition team to nominate someone with real agricultural experience. We are pleased that President Trump has done just that. Gov. Perdue grew up on a modest row crop and dairy farm. After earning his doctorate in veterinary medicine, he went on to establish three agricultural commodity and transportation businesses. Gov. Perdue understands agriculture and agribusiness and appreciates their contributions to the U.S. economy and, of course, our nation’s food security.
Congress has many important issues on its plate, from drafting a new farm bill to mapping a path forward on opening new markets overseas. I’m so glad that our next secretary of agriculture brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, from row crops to animal agriculture, that will serve the department and Congress well as they tackle these and other issues. I enjoyed working with Gov. Perdue in our previous roles and look forward to doing so again on the national stage.
Vincent “Zippy” Duvall, a poultry, cattle and hay producer from Greene County, Georgia, is the 12th president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.