May 18, 2017
NASHVILLE, Tenn (RFD-TV) The secretary of agriculture came before the House Agricultural Committee and a packed house of legislators posed tough questions on the U. S. Department of Agriculture budget, trade, and the state of rural economies.
Legislators packed the chamber on Wednesday to hear secretary Sonny Perdue’s first testimony before the House Agricultural Committee. Opening statements by the Chairman and Ranking Member were friendly but direct.
Budget concerns were a key issue for many, though the Secretary did not address budget cuts proposed by the White House in his written statement, he spoke candidly on his experience with limited resources.
The proposed reorganization of the USDA was another concern for lawmakers. Secretary Perdue explains his move to elevate the Rural Development Agency, which makes room for an Undersecretary for Trade.
Read more about plans to reform at https://www.usda.gov/our-agency/reforming-usda.
The secretary’s role in the 2018 Farm Bill was not a major discussion point, but Chairman Conaway said that what he heard was a good indication of what’s to come.
The Secretary spent nearly three and a half hours with lawmakers Wednesday, addressing questions on everything from rural broadband, to vaccine banks, to immigration. Next week, President Trump’s full budget proposal comes before Congress, which will shed new light on funding questions for both the Congressional Agricultural Committee and the USDA.
Secretary Perdue will be in South Dakota later this week meeting with a Veterans for Agriculture program.