Rural Issue

Ag Secretary says rural development will be ‘elevated’

Lawmakers and ag groups are questioning the USDA’s recent announcement that the Undersecretary for Rural Development would be replaced with a special assistant to the Secretary.

During a House Ag Committee hearing on Wednesday, ranking member Collin Peterson said the change has caused some anxiety in the ag industry and among members of Congress who represent rural communities.  “But I take you at your word that you’re going to continue to make that a priority,” he says.  “You’re the Secretary – you decide on how the department should be run. The only thing I’d say is that we’re going to watch to make sure Rural Development gets the same attention it always has.”

Ohio Congresswoman Marcia Fudge also questioned the move.

In his response, Secretary Perdue told the Congresswoman the mission of Rural Development won’t be diminished.  “This is something I jealously wanted to be a part of,” he says.  “When I say elevated, I mean elevated.  That person is going to be sitting close to me with walk-in privileges to present ideas and opportunities.  I welcome your oversite in the RD portion.”

This was Perdue’s first visit to The Hill since his confirmation last month.

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