U.S. President-elect Donald Trump officially announced Sonny Perdue as his choice for secretary of agriculture on Thursday, selecting a former Georgia governor over candidates from the Midwest states that dominate U.S. agricultural exports, according to an article on Reuters.com.
Perdue, who was on Trump’s agricultural advisory committee during his presidential campaign, has yet to be confirmed in the post by the Republican-led Senate.
He served two terms as Georgia governor from 2003 to 2011. Before that, he was a state senator, representing a rural swath of the state about 100 miles (160 km) south of Atlanta.
“From growing up on a farm to being governor of a big agriculture state, he has spent his whole life understanding and solving the challenges our farmers face,” Trump said in a statement. Trump takes office on Friday.
At least one Midwestern Senator raised questions about Perdue’s preparedness.
Senator Chuck Grassley, a Republican from the top corn and soybean state of Iowa, tweeted: “I’m interested in how Midwest ag will have a seat at the table.”
Key issues facing the agricultural community include trade and immigration. Georgia accounted for just 2% of total U.S. agriculture exports in 2015. Ranking 15th among all states in the value of its agricultural production, it generated $9.122 billion in commodity receipts, according to USDA data. Iowa ranked second with $27.674 billion. California is top, with $47.008 billion.