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Perdue Proves His Row-Crop Credentials
The job went to Sonny Perdue of Georgia, although Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley loudly advocated for a northerner to be agriculture secretary under President Trump. Grassley told a crowd of Iowans that his doubts were erased when he met Perdue, who repeated for the crowd his bona fides in the three major U.S. crops, grown predominantly in the Midwest and Plains.
“Senator, I need to speak to you. I’m Sonny Perdue, and you need to know that I’ve got 12 grain elevators and all we do is corn, wheat, and [soy]beans, and I sell to an ethanol plant,” said Perdue, recounting his conversation with Grassley at an inauguration luncheon, the day after Trump announced his selection. “I think he was more comfortable then…I knew he was going to like me because my heart’s in agriculture.”
For his part, Grassley said that Perdue “is just the perfect person to be the secretary of agriculture.” Born on a farm, trained as a veterinarian and active in agribusiness throughout his life, Perdue was a state senator before serving two terms as governor. He was the first Republican elected governor of Georgia since Reconstruction. A tireless supporter of family farms and Midwestern agriculture, Grassley said that once he met Perdue, “This guy, I shouldn’t have been bothered by him, worrying about whether I was going to be for him or against him.”
During the appearance at a cattle feedlot in central Iowa, Perdue suggested the creation of a new logo for USDA — a sprouting corn or soybean plant to form the letter “D” within “Team USA” in contrasting colors. “Team USA but Team USDA, to make sure we’re really one American team for all of us.” Perdue also has declared a motto for USDA, “Do right and feed everyone,” and broached a contest for employees to name the secretary’s suite of offices at USDA headquarters. The suite has been known for decades as “the cage.” At present, USDA has an official seal and a USDA symbol, “a graphic representation of the land,” created in 1995. In addition, there are logos and seals for USDA agencies, such as the Forest Service, and programs, such as organic products.