(This article has been edited to include the official statement from President-Elect Trump.)
ABC and other news outlets are reporting that President-Elect Donald Trump is expected to name Sonny Perdue as his Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Perdue, 70, is a former two-term governor of Georgia and was a part of Trump’s agricultural advisory committee during his presidential campaign.
“Sonny Perdue is going to accomplish great things as Secretary of Agriculture,” said President-Elect Trump in a statement. “From growing up on a farm to being governor of a big agricultural state, he has spent his whole life understanding and solving the challenges our farmers face, and he is going to deliver big results for all Americans who earn their living off the land.”
“I am proud and honored to be joining President-elect Trump’s administration as his Secretary of Agriculture,” said Perdue. “Beginning as a simple Georgia farm boy, making sure Americans who make their livelihood in the agriculture industry are thriving is near and dear to my heart, and I’m goin to champion the concerns of American agriculture and work tirelessly to solve the issues facing our farm families in this new role.”
The USDA Secretary position was the only cabinet position that had not been filled, pending confirmation. The National Chicken Council released a statement praising the pick.
"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,” stated NCC President Mike Brown. "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. He is a welcomed choice from the 'Broiler Belt.'
"We hope he is confirmed expeditiously so we can begin work with the department on the many issues of importance to chicken producers,” he added.
Georgia is the #1 chicken producing state in the country, directly employing 44,000 people and supporting an additional 144,000 jobs in supplier and ancillary industries. In 2016, the broiler industry was responsible for $39 billion in total economic activity in the state.
Barry Carpenter, president and CEO of the North American Meat Institute, issued the following statement in response to the nomination:
"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. Agriculture is a critically important sector of the U.S. economy and is responsible for feeding Americans and people around the world.
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.”
Source: ABC News, National Chicken Council, North American Meat Institute