Ethanol, corn groups urge Perdue to protect farmers, biofuels

By EPM Staff | April 25, 2017

Sonny Perdue, the former governor of Georgia, was confirmed Monday by the U.S. Senate to be U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. With his expected swearing in today, Perdue takes the helm of a 100,000-person agency responsible for massive federal programs related to food, farming, bioenergy, conservation, rural development and more. The Southern businessman—unrelated to and unaffiliated with the owners of food and poultry companies Perdue and Perdue Farms—takes charge of the USDA as the agency faces deep cuts despite an agricultural downturn. Perdue, 70, is the second-to-last cabinet member to join the Trump Administration, the final vacancy being the labor secretary post.

Following Perdue’s confirmation, Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor said, “We congratulate Secretary Perdue on his confirmation to lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture and look forward to working with him to advance the biofuels industry and move American agriculture forward. The success of rural America is inextricably linked to a strong Renewable Fuel Standard and growing adoption of higher ethanol blends at the pump. The USDA has played an integral role in this success and we are excited to see Secretary Perdue’s plans to continue leading the way in protecting the economic wellbeing of America’s farmers, while giving consumers the choice for homegrown biofuels at the pump.”

The National Corn Growers Association also congratulated Secretary Perdue. “USDA has been without a secretary for too long, but we are confident that Secretary Perdue will bring strong leadership to the Department,” said the corn lobby group. “There are still more than 200 political appointments at USDA that have yet to be made. We strongly urge the Administration to move quickly in filling these positions.”

The corn growers continued, “We are ready to partner with Secretary Perdue and the rest of the Administration to build a better farm economy. That begins with strong trade policy and continued investment in renewable fuels. It also means protecting risk management programs during a weak economy, and beginning preparations for the next farm bill. There is much work to do, and we are eager to begin.”