Sonny Perdue

The Senate Agriculture Committee held a confirmation hearing Thursday for U.S. Ag Secretary nominee Sonny Perdue. Democrats on the panel have raised questions about the Trump Administration’s commitment to agriculture.

Perdue said he did not have input into the administration’s proposed budget, which calls for a 21 percent cut at U.S.D.A., but the former governor of Georgia said he’s “used to doing more with less.”

“I flippantly say sometimes that I grew a 20 billion dollar budget in Georgia to 16 billion dollars, during that 2003 to 2011 period of time,” Perdue said. “We did do more with less. Some of that has to do with efficiency and effectiveness, which I look forward to engaging this U.S.D.A. federal workforce in and inspiring them that we can do more.”

The 70-year-old Perdue said, if he is confirmed to lead the U.S.D.A., he’s ready to jump into the already-underway process of crafting the 2018 farm bill.

“I value my own self as governor in being a facts-based, data-driven decision-maker. And I think it’s important that we take those facts of things that have worked, learned from the past, those things that have not worked, and create a farm bill for the future,” Perdue said.

It’s unclear when a confirmation vote will be taken by the Ag Committee, which includes both of Iowa’s U.S. Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley.

Here is a video of Ernst questioning Perdue during the hearing:



(Thanks to Ken Anderson, Brownfield Ag News, and Amy Mayer, Iowa Public Radio)