Legislative Activity

Sonny Perdue to Testify Before the House Agriculture Committee

House Agriculture Committee leaders wasted no time in arranging for newly-confirmed Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to testify before the committee. Nearly three weeks ago, Sonny Perdue was sworn in as the 31st Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Up until this week, almost all of Perdue’s time on Capitol Hill has been spent on the Senate side, as his Cabinet nomination by President Trump required Senate confirmation.

The hearing’s focus will be on rural agriculture, and according to the committee’s hearing notice, Secretary Perdue will “share his perspective on the economic outlook in rural America along with his vision for USDA and the role it will play in ensuring that our country continues to enjoy the safest, most abundant, and most affordable food supply in the world.” Secretary Perdue is expected to share more in-depth details on the USDA’s reorganization plans, which were announced late last week. The agency’s new structure seeks to reorganize departments within USDA to better align program interests. As part of the reorganization, a new undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs position was created. The yet-to-be-named undersecretary will be tasked with promoting U.S. products on global markets. Additionally, the reorganization will elevate USDA’s Rural Development agencies to report directly to the Secretary.

Secretary Perdue is also expected to discuss the overall state of the rural economy. Over the last several years, farmers have experienced low farm revenues and crop prices, which have increased federal subsidies to higher-than-expected levels. These statistics will likely play a large role in decision-making as lawmakers work with Secretary Perdue and his team at USDA to structure commodity and crop insurance programs in the next farm bill.

Other items that will likely be discussed at Wednesday’s hearing include USDA’s budget, regulatory reform, and immigration.

This Week’s Hearings:

  • On Wednesday, May 17, the House Agriculture Committee has scheduled a hearing titled “State of the Rural Economy: Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.”