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Trump names Perdue to lead USDA

By Staff | Jan 26, 2017

Sonny Perdue

WASHINGTON (AP) – President-elect Donald Trump intends to nominate former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue to serve as agriculture secretary, according to a person familiar with the decision but not authorized to speak publicly before it is announced.

Perdue, 70, would be the first Southerner to lead the Agriculture Department in more than two decades. He comes from the small city of Bonaire in rural central Georgia, where he built businesses in grain trading and trucking.

The agriculture secretary job is the last Cabinet position for which Trump hasn’t named a candidate.

Perdue is not related to or affiliated with the food company Perdue or Perdue Farms, the well-known poultry producer.

Agriculture secretaries are often from the Midwest, where corn and soybeans dominate the markets. U.S. farm policy has long been favorable to those crops, and congressional battles over massive farm bills every five years often divide along regional lines. Southerners have pushed for subsidy programs that are more favorable to rice and cotton, which can be more expensive to grow. The last three agriculture secretaries were from Iowa, North Dakota and Nebraska.

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