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Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Issues Formed

A new Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity was created by an Executive Order signed by President Donald Trump on April 25, 2017. The task force will “identify legislative, regulatory, and policy changes” to promote agriculture, rural economic development, infrastructure improvements, food safety, energy security, and more. The Executive Order, titled “Promoting Agriculture and Rural Prosperity in America,” tells the task force to provide state, local, and tribal officials, as well as “farmers, ranchers, foresters, and other rural stakeholders,” with an opportunity to make suggestions.

President Trump signed the Executive Order at a “Farmers Roundtable” held at the White House on April 25, Secretary Perdue’s first day on the job.

USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue will chair the task force, which will include representatives of at least 21 additional federal departments and agencies. A report is due in six months, recommending changes to carry out the Executive Order’s goals.

The Executive Order also eliminates the Obama Administration’s White House Rural Council.

Sonny Perdue Becomes Agriculture Secretary

Former Georgia governor Sonny Perdue was sworn in as Secretary of Agriculture on April 25, 2017, after an 87-11 Senate confirmation vote on April 24.

USDA’s announcement and profile of Perdue says his “policies as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture will be guided by four principles which will inform his decisions.”

First, he will maximize the ability of the men and women of America’s agriculture and agribusiness sector to create jobs, to produce and sell the foods and fiber that feed and clothe the world, and to reap the earned reward of their labor. It should be the aim of the American government to remove every obstacle and give farmers, ranchers, and producers every opportunity to prosper. Second, he will prioritize customer service every day for American taxpayers and consumers. They will expect, and have every right to demand, that their government conduct the people’s business efficiently, effectively, and with the utmost integrity. Third, as Americans expect a safe and secure food supply, USDA will continue to serve in the critical role of ensuring the food we put on the table to feed our families meets the strict safety standards we’ve established. Food security is a key component of national security, because hunger and peace do not long coexist. And fourth, Perdue will always remember that America’s agricultural bounty comes directly from the land. And today, those land resources sustain more than 320 million Americans and countless millions more around the globe. Perdue’s father’s words still ring true: We’re all stewards of the land, owned or rented, and our responsibility is to leave it better than we found it.

Nominees have not yet been announced for other USDA appointed positions.