President Donald Trump's proposed budget would slash spending on agriculture research and other rural development. He won election as Georgia's governor in 2003 and was reelected to a second term in 2006 with 58% of the vote.
Representatives of the animal agriculture industry voiced support for Perdue's confirmation, echoing their overwhelming support for Perdue's initial nomination in January.
A formal swearing-in ceremony for Perdue, likely to be held later this week, will officially recognize Perdue as the 31st Secretary of Agriculture.
"We do believe that in these rural communities the best thing we can do to make them grow quickly and economically is to focus on agriculture because it is the number one driver in these rural communities", Starling said.
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Perdue has the wide backing of farming and agriculture groups in Georgia and beyond and only limited opposition among some environmental groups.
The House and Senate have been able to get a head start on the 2018 Farm Bill while Perdue was waiting for his confirmation, but there still needs to be work done. Overall, Perdue will be responsible for all of the U.S.'s food and farm initiatives. "I'll also be challenging the new Ag Secretary to strongly reject a plan by President Trump to cut funding for the USDA by more than 20 percent-a move that, if approved, would devastate the American farm economy and put the livelihoods of Minnesota families at risk". But farmers who produce more than they can sell in the United States have heavily profited from some of those deals, and are hoping his anti-trade policies will include some exceptions for agriculture. "We are looking forward to working with Secretary Perdue in his new role leading the Department of Agriculture".
Up first on Perdue's to-do list: smoothing a dairy trade flare-up with Canada.
After Perdue, remaining nominees for Trump's Cabinet to be confirmed are Robert Lighthizer for USA trade representative and Alexander Acosta for labor secretary.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), the committee's ranking Democrat, said that Trump's first two months in office have made it "clear that rural America has been an afterthought". Senate Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer of NY and Dick Durbin of IL voted "yes".