WASHINGTON – Members of the National Turkey Federation (NTF) announced their pleasure in a statement that the Senate Agriculture Committee recommended the full Senate confirm Sonny Perdue as secretary of agriculture. The Environmental and Food Advocacy Coalition did not share NTF’s sentiment.
“Governor Perdue brings experience and a dedication to agriculture as a farmer’s son and veterinary doctor. In his two terms as governor, the people of Georgia recognized his leadership and executive abilities,” according to NTF’s statement.
It went on to say, “Sonny Perdue is well qualified to lead USDA, and well thought of by those involved in the daily work of agriculture and food production. We look forward to the Senate’s confirmation vote so that he can begin the work ahead of expanding our trade opportunities, preventing animal disease outbreaks, and continuing to provide the safest, most wholesome food in the world.”
However, there were advocacy groups that were critical of the vote to advance Perdue’s nomination to the senate.
“During the impossibly short and easy confirmation hearing for Sonny Perdue, the Senate Agriculture Committee failed to properly scrutinize his record,” said Erich Pica, president at Friends of the Earth. “Allowing the Trump administration to smoothly confirm a nominee dogged by ethics complaints and vexed with deep personal ties to Big Agribusiness is reprehensible. Perdue’s inability to separate business and politics make him unfit to serve and we hope Democrats will not turn a blind eye to his ethics.”
Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety, added, “Ethical leadership is essential for promoting a safe, fair and sustainable food system and for supporting our rural communities. Sonny Perdue has strong ties to and long-time investments in corporate agribusiness, and his track record does not suggest dedicated concern for food safety, small and disadvantaged farmers, or the environment.”
“Sonny Perdue’s record shows that he’ll consistently side with corporations and profiteers at the expense of the American people and the future of our planet,” said Kierán Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity.
Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter concluded, “Sonny Perdue’s nomination is another feather in the cap of big agribusiness. He will bring backward views on climate change to the USDA and has a long list of financial ties to industries the USDA regulates. The Senate should not confirm someone who would gut agriculture regulations that protect independent farmers, workers and consumers so that agribusiness can continue to prioritize profits above food safety, farmer livelihoods, worker safety and the environment.”