Administration adds emphasis on trade in USDA changes

The Trump administration is putting added emphasis on trade.

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue says international trade plays a significant role in the success of American agriculture.  On Thursday, Perdue announced the creation of an undersecretary for trade and foreign ag affairs in the USDA.  “I want someone who gets up every day who says, ‘where can I go to sell American farm products today around the world’,” he says.  “And help us grow that market.”

He says international trade has been a key component of the American economy for many years.  “Every dollar of these exports has a multiplying effect of $1.27 dollars in business activity along the whole supply chain and logistics,” he says. 

AUDIO: Sonny Perdue

Indiana farmer Jim Douglas says today’s announcement is reassuring – especially after President Trump threatened to withdraw the US from NAFTA.  “It just emphasizes the importance that the administration realizes trade and agriculture as one of the only business that has a positive trade impact,” he says. 

AUDIO: Jim Douglas, Shelby County, Ind.

The addition of the Undersecretary of Trade has drawn praise from several members of the Agriculture committees and ag industry groups.

Perdue also announced other changes within the department on Thursday.  The Rural Development agencies, in his words, would be elevated and will now report directly to the secretary to help promote rural communities.  He also announced an Undersecretary for a newly-named Farm Production and Conversation mission area, which will have a customer focus and work to meet USDA constituents in the field.

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