After weeks of delay, the Trump Administration finally announced its pick to head the U.S. Department of Agriculture today, tapping former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue. The choice makes the proposed Trump cabinet the least diverse in decades, and adds another climate change skeptic to the Administration's proposed roster.
In response to the nomination, PAN's Policy Director Kristin Schafer said:
Though not surprising, the choice of Mr. Perdue to head USDA will be bad for the vast majority of the nation's farmers. Once again the Trump Administration is sending a clear signal that it plans to prioritize corporate interests over communities — in this case rural, agricultural communities.
As a politician in Georgia, Perdue consistently received significant donations from large agribusiness interests. We expect him to cater to giant industrial producers — even though they represent a small percentage of growers across the country that USDA should be serving. The well-being of small family farmers — particularly farmers of color, women farmers and the fast-growing segment of agriculture pursuing sustainable production — will undoubtedly continue to be overlooked.
Additionally, Mr. Perdue has scoffed at the direct impacts climate change is having on farmers, including both drought and flooding. As with Mr. Trump's other cabinet choices, this position on climate science is far removed from mainstream scientific and political understanding, and is cause for serious concern."