I’ll admit when I heard that Sonny Perdue was nominated as President Trump’s pick for the USDA Secretary I was a bit underwhelmed. Perdue’s name had been floated around for months, I wasn’t personally familiar with him, and all I knew was that he was the former governor of Georgia.
But now that he has been nominated and I’ve done a bit more research on him, I’m actually pretty excited at the possibility and his potential in this position.
Perdue grew up on a small farm in Perry, Georgia. His mother was a teacher. After high school, he attended the University of Georgia where he obtained a veterinary degree. Following which, he served in the Air Force. Upon return to Georgia, he started his career as a veterinary.
His political career started as a county zoning commissioner. Perdue was then elected as a state representative and moved up to a state senator. At the time, he was also…. a Democrat. After finishing out his time in the Senate as a Republican, he then went on to serve as governor of Georgia.
DTN has put together an excellent summary of Perdue’s accomplishments and roles in agriculture. Here are some highlights:
- Founder and Managing Member of AGStar, a grain elevator with 11 locations in Georgia and South Carolina;
- Board member of the National Grain and Feed Association;
- Secretary of the Georgia Agribusiness Council;
- Former President of the Southeast Grain and Feed Association;
- Perdue Partners, a trade company
Perdue’s impressive resume highlights that he has a lot of experience in a wide swatch of agriculture. He has scientific knowledge on animal agriculture, understands the economic realities related to grain products, a working background with chemical inputs, knows how to run an agriculture business, and has executive experience. As a bonus, Perdue’s familiarity with Georgia agriculture should lend itself well to specialty crops (a big deal in Michigan), because the state is well-known for its peaches and onions.
While some people have offered criticism that Perdue held a prayer vigil in Georgia while the state was facing a particularly difficult drought, I hardly find this a fault. The government had already worked on water conservation methods before the vigil. Not to mention that many farmers, especially in Georgia I imagine, are people of faith. Such a gesture is hardly meaningless to them.
As another fun fact, Growing Georgia pointed out that Perdue, if confirmed, will be only the third person serving as the USDA Secretary since it was established in 1889 that actually worked in agriculture as an adult.
I look forward to following Sonny Perdue’s confirmation process and, hopefully, we will see him working at the USDA very soon.