Yesterday newly confirmed Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue spent his third day on the job visiting the USDA office in Kansas City, Missouri. He also addressed members of the press, answering questions on topics from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to wildfires.
“I was a grain trader, and President Trump is a trader,” Perdue said when asked about the recent news that NAFTA is being rethought. “When you said ‘he was going to do that,’ he uses statements many times from a negotiating perspective, so saying something was contemplated is not the same thing as saying something was done, or going to be done. I think the ultimate outcome is really what we’re interested in, and I think what you read in the news today regarding Mexico and Canada’s agreement to come to the table quickly, to renegotiate this years old trade affair will be helpful to producers of all kind in America, both in the agriculture sector and the manufacturing sector.”
“This president likes to do the deal,” Perdue added. “I’m persuaded he has the leadership and tenacity to make a good deal for Americans.”
Overall NAFTA has been good for farmers, Perdue said, but there are areas that need to be reevaluated. The agreement has been a net benefit overall. Certainly it’s been good for grains, but it’s been a negative balance for crops like fruits and vegetables, and that’s something Trump and Perdue want to see changed.
“We grow stuff very, very well. My job as USDA Secretary of Agriculture is to go around the world and make sure we’re able to market and sell the products we grow very well,” Perdue explains.
Perdue also answered questions about the farm bill and SNAP program, staffing possibilities, the recent wildfires, and his priority for the USDA. Listen here or watch the video to hear the complete press conference: Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue
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