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Source: Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry news release

U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, today is pleased to announce that former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue was approved by the U.S. Senate on a 87-11 vote to be the next Agriculture Secretary.

"I'm pleased that the U.S. Senate was able to work in a bipartisan fashion to confirm Governor Perdue," Roberts said. "I have faith that Governor Perdue will put the needs of farmers and ranchers first, and I know that rural America is thankful to have such a qualified Agriculture Secretary on their side."

The Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing on Perdue on March 23, and he was favorably reported out of the Committee with a bipartisan voice vote on March 30.

Governor Perdue has the bipartisan support of six past Agriculture Secretaries. The Governor also has the support of more than 650 agriculture groups from across the nation.

Chairman Roberts made the following remarks in support of Governor Perdue on the Senate floor prior to the vote:

Mr. President, the Senate will soon vote on the confirmation of Governor Sonny Perdue, the President's nominee for U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.

Each of us in this Chamber represent farmers, ranchers, consumers, and other stakeholders in our states that are directly affected by decisions made by the Agriculture Secretary.

The Department of Agriculture is made up of 29 agencies and offices, and it employs nearly 100,000 men and women that work in all 50 states and around the globe. The Department provides leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, nutrition, scientific research, and related issues that impact Americans every day.

Throughout our nation's history, our farmers, ranchers, and business owners in rural America have survived drought, disease, floods, tornadoes, and whatever else Mother Nature throws at them.

Yet, year-after-year, they produce the safest, most abundant, and affordable food and fiber supply in the world. Today, however, producers from across the country are facing tough economic times with multiple years of low prices.

These same producers need a strong market for what they produce. During this critical time, the importance of trade for the agriculture industry cannot be overstated.

And, on top of all this, farmers, ranchers, and rural businesses have been burdened by regulations from agencies across the federal government. I've heard time-and-time again that costly and hard-to-understand regulations have and are endangering the ability of our producers to stay in business.

Members of the Agriculture Committee have a lot of work to do over the next two years, including reauthorization of the Farm Bill, and, we intend to do that work in the bipartisan fashion that has served us so well in the past.

But, now, more than ever, agriculture needs a voice-an advocate, a champion-at the highest levels of government. And, Governor Perdue has been nominated to serve in exactly that role.

He is from Georgia, was raised on a farm, and practiced as a veterinarian before returning to his home county to work in the grain business. He was elected to serve in local and state government, including two terms as Governor of Georgia.

During his confirmation hearing, Governor Perdue demonstrated a real understanding of the challenges facing the agriculture industry and a willingness to work together to find solutions.

The Agriculture Committee received many letters in support of his nomination, including support from 6 former U.S. Secretaries of Agriculture representing both Republican and Democratic presidents and another from nearly 700 organizations across the agriculture and food value chain.

Last month, the Agriculture Committee voted by voice vote to report Governor Perdue's nomination to the full Senate.

Our farmers and ranchers have been long waiting for this important role to be filled. And, once Governor Perdue becomes Secretary Perdue, I know he will put the needs of farmers, ranchers, and others in rural America first - and lead us in both the House and the Senate to a productive trade policy and economic recovery in rural and small town America.

I urge my colleagues to join in bipartisan support for Sonny Perdue's confirmation as Agriculture Secretary.

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