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Secretary Perdue’s first days at USDA

Perdue has been busy — here's a roundup of his recent activities

After taking the oath of office, Secretary Perdue addressed employees at the USDA before getting to work on his first day. (USDA, YouTube)

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released the following video wrapping up Sonny Perdue’s first three weeks as the 31st Secretary of Agriculture. He’s joined President Trump for a “Farmers Roundtable,” hosted bipartisan discussions with agriculture leaders, reported the USDA will provide greater flexibility in nutrition requirements for school meal programs, and announced that the first shipment of fresh U.S. beef had arrived in Brazil following a 13-year hiatus, among many other activities.

Here is what Secretary Perdue has been up to the past few weeks:

Day One: Secretary Perdue was sworn in as the 31st U.S. Secretary of Agriculture by fellow Georgian and Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Clarence Thomas in a brief ceremony at the Supreme Court building.

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(Flickr Gallery: Sonny Perdue is sworn in as the 31st Secretary of Agriculture)

Day One: After taking the oath of office, Secretary Perdue addressed employees at the USDA before getting to work on his first day.

Day One: Secretary Perdue joined President Trump for a “Farmers Roundtable” at the White House to address issues facing American agriculture. The President signed an Executive Order establishing an Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to be chaired by Secretary Perdue.

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(Flickr Gallery: Agriculture Secretary Perdue and President Trump Farmer’s Roundtable)

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(Flickr Gallery: Agriculture Secretary Perdue and President Trump Farmer’s Roundtable)

Day Three: Secretary Perdue hosted a bipartisan breakfast with agriculture leaders from the U.S. House of Representatives at the USDA. The breakfast marked the first time Secretary Perdue met with the leaders, which included: Representatives Michael Conaway, (TX-11), Collin Peterson (MN-07), Robert Aderholt (AL-04), and Sanford Bishop (GA-02).

Press Release: Secretary Perdue Hosts Bipartisan Breakfast with House Agriculture Leaders

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(Flickr Gallery: Breakfast with the House Agriculture Committee and House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Leadership)

Day Three: Secretary Perdue traveled to Missouri to visit employees at the USDA Beacon Facility. Employees lined up around the block to greet him.

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(Flickr Gallery: Secretary Perdue’s First Official Trip)

Day Four: Secretary Perdue spoke to farmers at the American Royal in Kansas City, the birthplace of the National Future Farmers of America Organization.

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(Flickr Gallery: Secretary Perdue Town Hall at the American Royal)

Day Seven: Secretary Perdue announced the USDA will provide greater flexibility in nutrition requirements for school meal programs in order to make food choices both healthful and appealing to students. Secretary Perdue made the announcement during a visit to Catoctin Elementary School in Leesburg, Virginia to mark School Nutrition Employee Week. He signed a proclamation, which begins the process of restoring local control of guidelines on whole grains, sodium, and milk.

Press Release: Ag Secretary Perdue Moves to Make School Meals Great Again

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(Flickr Gallery: Secretary Perdue Unveils National School Lunch Program Flexibility)

Day Seven: Secretary Perdue spoke to six National Future Farmers of America Organization chapters from across the nation via YouTube Live.
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(Flickr Gallery: Secretary Perdue Town Hall Meeting with Six FFA Chapters)

Day Nine: Secretary Perdue hosted members of the dairy industry for a roundtable at the USDA.

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(Flickr Gallery: Dairy Roundtable)

Day Nine: Secretary Perdue held a roundtable with agriculture reporters from around the country in the USDA Whitten Building. You may click HERE or on the video below to watch.

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(WATCH: C-SPAN3: Secretary Perdue on Agriculture Policy)

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(Flickr Gallery: Secretary Perdue Meets with the National Association of Farm Broadcasting)

Day 10: Secretary Perdue hosted Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke at the USDA Whitten Building for lunch.

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(Flickr Gallery: Secretaries Perdue and Zinke have Lunch)

Day 10: Secretary Perdue announced that the first shipment of fresh U.S. beef had arrived in Brazil following a 13-year hiatus. Secretary Perdue issued this statement: “With Brazil’s large market reopened to the United States, U.S. beef exports are poised for new growth. I look forward to Brazilians getting the opportunity to eat delicious American beef, because once they taste it, they’ll want more of it.” The entrance of American beef into the Brazilian market ushers in promising long-term economic opportunity for U.S. beef producers.

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Press Release: Secretary Perdue Announces Arrival of First Shipments of U.S. Beef to Brazil

Day 11: Secretary Perdue visited Nevada, Iowa to tour Couser Cattle Company, host a roundtable with agriculture leaders, and speak at a farmer’s town hall.

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(Flickr Gallery: Secretary Perdue Visits Nevada, Iowa Farm)

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(Flickr Gallery: Secretary Perdue Visits Nevada, Iowa Farm)

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(Flickr Gallery: Secretary Perdue Visits Nevada, Iowa Farm)

Day 13: Secretary Perdue traveled to Arkansas to tour the flood damage in White and Pulaski Counties. Governor Asa Hutchinson, Senator John Boozman, and Representatives Rick Crawford and French Hill joined Secretary Perdue for the tour.

Press Release: Ag Secretary Perdue Pledges USDA Support in Face of Heartland Flooding

Press Release: Agriculture Secretary Perdue Reminds Farmers, Families and Small Businesses in Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas that USDA Offers Disaster Assistance Programs to Help
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(Flickr Gallery: Secretary Perdue Tours Flood Damaged Arkansas)

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(Flickr Gallery: Secretary Perdue Tours Flood Damaged Arkansas)

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(Flickr Gallery: Secretary Perdue Tours Flood Damaged Arkansas)

Day 15: Secretary Perdue affirmed the USDA’s renewed dedication to religious liberty and freedom of speech. In a policy statement released to all USDA employees, Secretary Perdue said, “Today, I want to reestablish this Department’s commitment to safeguarding every American’s First Amendment rights, particularly the right to free speech and the right to religious free exercise. USDA is committed to protecting both.”

Press Release: Secretary Perdue Issues Policy Memo on Religious Liberty and Freedom of Speech

Day 17: In Cincinnati, Secretary Perdue announced the creation of an undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs in the USDA, a recognition of the ever-increasing importance of international trade to American agriculture. Perdue made the announcement standing by barges filled with agricultural products along the banks of the Ohio River. As part of a reorganization of USDA, Perdue also announced the standing up of a newly-named Farm Production and Conservation mission area to have a customer focus and meet USDA constituents in the field. Finally, Perdue announced that the department’s Rural Development agencies would be elevated to report directly to the secretary of agriculture in recognition of the need to help promote rural prosperity. USDA’s report detailing the reorganization was transmitted to Congress last week. You may click here to view the report on the USDA website (PDF, 706 KB).  USDA employees and members of the public may comment on the reorganization plan by visiting this page hosted by the White House.

Press Release: Secretary Perdue Announces Creation of Undersecretary for Trade

(Video: Secretary Perdue Announces Creation of Undersecretary for Trade and USDA Reorganization)

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(Flickr Gallery: Secretary Perdue-USDA Reorganization and Listening Sessions)

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(Flickr Gallery: Secretary Perdue-USDA Reorganization and Listening Sessions)

Day 18: Secretary Perdue hailed the agreement between the United States and China on several key trade issues, most notably the return of American beef to the Chinese market after a hiatus that began in 2004. Secretary Perdue said, “This is tremendous news for the American beef industry, the agriculture community, and the U.S. economy in general. We will once again have access to the enormous Chinese market, with a strong and growing middle class, which had been closed to our ranchers for a long, long time. I commend the persistence of President Trump, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, the U.S. Trade Representative’s officials, and our own USDA professionals. I also thank our Chinese counterparts, who worked so hard to get this agreement into place. When the Chinese people taste our high-quality U.S. beef, there’s no doubt in my mind that they’ll want more of it.”

Press Release: Statement of Secretary Perdue Regarding Trade Breakthrough with China

—USDA

For more articles concerning agricultural policy, click here.

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