Sonny Perdue
Sonny Perdue, the two-term former governor from Georgia, would fill the final cabinet position.

WASHINGTON – According to media reports, former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, 70, will be nominated to lead the US Dept. of Agriculture, the final appointee to President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet. A veterinarian whose background in the country’s top chicken-producing state is well documented during his two terms as governor, reports of Perdue’s appointment have already been lauded by meat and poultry industry trade groups as well as other agricultural stakeholders.

“Governor Perdue has a strong record as two-term chief executive of Georgia and is acquainted with a wide array of agriculture commodities, from chicken and peanuts to cotton and timber,” said Mike Brown, president of the National Chicken Council.

Brown said the prompt confirmation of Perdue as successor to Tom Vilsack will ensure the USDA can begin working on the challenges and opportunities facing poultry producers.

“As a veterinarian, agribusiness owner and a governor who established an agricultural advisory committee in Georgia, he understands and appreciates the importance of American agriculture both here and abroad,” said Brown. “He is a welcomed choice from the 'Broiler Belt.'”

Zippy Duvall, a Georgia native who serves as president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, also expressed his confidence in Perdue’s ability to lead the agency. He understands the challenges facing rural America because that’s where he was born and raised. He is a businessman who recognizes the impact immigration reform, trade agreements and regulation have on a farmer’s bottom line and ability to stay in business from one season to the next.

The nominee met with Trump on Nov. 30 and reported the two discussed international trade of commodities among other topics.

Republican Senator David Perdue, also from Georgia and the nominee’s cousin, expressed his pride in the selection.

“Sonny’s executive experience as a two-term Governor of Georgia, the first Republican in 135 years, as well as his veterinary background and agribusiness career, are a few of the many reasons he is the best person for the job,” said the senator in a statement.

Likewise, Barry Carpenter, president and CEO of the North American Meat Institute, praised the nomination of Perdue.

"We welcome news that a person like Governor Sonny Perdue, with his extensive knowledge and experience in the agricultural sector, has been nominated to serve as the Secretary of Agriculture,” Carpenter said. 

“We look forward to working with Governor Perdue to ensure the safety of the nation's meat and poultry supply and to address the challenges facing our industry,” he said.