The new face of American agriculture

Meet Sonny Perdue. A veteran politician, businessman and farmer, the new U.S. secretary of agriculture has definite ideas about America’s role in trade and farm policy. What will this mean for Canadian farmers?

  • Age 70, married with four adult children and 14 grandchildren.
  • Born on a mixed grain farm in
    Bonaire, Georgia.
  • Is actively licensed as an airplane and helicopter pilot.
  • Served in the U.S. airforce before becoming a veterinarian and then opened a fertilizer and seed business.
  • First elected as a Democrat as a state senator to Georgia in 1991.
  • Ran as a Republican in 1998 and was elected governor of Georgia in 2003.
  • Founded Perdue Partners in 2011, an export company based in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Managing member of AGrowstar, a marketing company that buys corn, wheat and soybeans from farmers and resells the crops to processors.
  • Perdue’s appointment as the 31st U.S. sectretary of agriculture on April 25 was the first non-unanimous appointment since the Reagan administration, but was relatively uncontroversial. The Senate agriculture committee approved him 19-1 and the full vote of the Senate was 87-11-1.
  • Perdue was the subject of a number of investigations by the Georgia State Ethics Commission during his time as governor and often faced criticism that he mixed personal and state business.
  • His nomination was widely praised by American farm and agriculture groups, as he is seen as a competent manager who understands agriculture’s complexities and challenges.
  • Environmental activists have condemned Perdue’s appointment, accusing him of receiving hefty funding from federal farm subsidies that helped corporate farms and chemical companies at the expense of small farmers.

Source: Staff research

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