United States (US) President Donald Trump was busy this spring getting key government department leaders nominated, confirmed by Congress, and in place. One such appointment welcomed by agriculture was Sonny Perdue as the 31st Secretary of Agriculture.

Perdue is uniquely qualified as a former farmer, agribusinessman, veterinarian, state legislator, and governor of Georgia and jumped into his new job with gusto. On his first day in office, he and Trump held a “farmers roundtable” at the White House where issues facing the American agriculture community were addressed and the president signed an executive order establishing an Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity. The roundtable featured more than a dozen farmers and representatives of the ag community who discussed a variety of topics with Trump and Perdue, including agricultural trade, regulatory reform, rural investment and infrastructure, labor issues, and the farm bill. 

Days later, Perdue announced the creation of an undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs in the US Department of Agriculture, recognizing the ever-increasing importance of international trade to American agriculture. The new undersecretary position is a good move to raise the profile and importance of these issues within the department and for agriculture government-wide. In addition, the timing is right with North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations likely to start this fall and many rendering industry trading partners uncertain about their economic relationships with the United States. Industry supported creation of this new undersecretary position in the last farm bill, but it was never implemented under President Barack Obama.

Two other milestones since Perdue took office are the first arrival of US beef in Brazil since 2003 and the return of US beef to China after a closure in 2004. Both markets are important to American beef producers – and renderers.

It appears support for agriculture is off to a running start in this new presidential administration.

June 2017 RENDER | back