Perdue outlines priorities at USDA debut

Newly confirmed Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue made his debut at the USDA this morning.  “I’ve been waiting to see y’all,” he says.  “And it looks like y’all have been waiting to see me too, right?”

He told USDA employees and others that American ag needs an advocate to promote its interests in the global market and trade will be a top priority.  “One of the challenges I heard as I visited with over 75 Senators was – we need to have a good trade policy,” he says.  “Because our producers out there have been so productive we have a lot of stuff we need to sell.  And we’re going to sell it – worldwide.”

Perdue says he wants the department to make decisions based on facts and evidence.  “That means good sound science – when its present – to make policies based on it,” he says.  “USDA does a wonderful job collecting data from all over the world – we want to be data driven.  I’m not smart enough to make intuitive decisions – I need good data, I need good sound science to make decisions.”

He says he wants the USDA to be forward thinking and innovative – just like the farmers he serves.

Before outlining his priorities Perdue took off his suit coat and tie, rolled up his sleeves and said he was a farmer first – and he was going to get comfortable before getting to work.

Perdue was sworn in by Justice Clarence Thomas, also of Georgia, this morning.

AUDIO: Sonny Perdue remarks at the USDA

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