Published since 1946
Perdue Approved as Agriculture Secretary, Begins Department Reorganization
Former Georgia governor, Sonny Perdue, was confirmed as Secretary of Agriculture on April 24. Perdue, an avid sportsman and former diversified row cropper, started his tenure by immediately participating in a farmer’s roundtable at the White House and then heading into the Midwest to meet with agricultural producers. Perdue also began the process of reorganizing the Department, announcing on May 11 that he will be creating a new undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs to oversee U.S. agriculture and food exports and trade opportunities. In addition, Perdue is proposing the creation of a new Farm Production and Conservation mission area to “have a customer focus and meet USDA constituents in the field.” This mission area will have a new undersecretary who will oversee the Farm Service Agency (FSA), Risk Management Agency (RMA), and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Under the reorganization, the undersecretary for natural resources and environment will retain oversight of the U.S. Forest Service. There will be no reduction in workforce under the proposed changes.
“Locating FSA, RMA, and the NRCS under this domestically-oriented undersecretary will provide a simplified one-stop shop for USDA’s primary customers, the men and women farming, ranching, and foresting across America,” Perdue said in his announcement.
In a letter to Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman, Pat Roberts, Perdue wrote: “This realignment will re-orient our approach to serving producers and improve our responsiveness to the needs of producers. It makes no sense that producers have to visit multiple USDA offices often located within minutes of each other to access our programs. In addition, there are better ways to deliver the support functions to our field staff. I would rather utilize our scarce funding on direct program delivery than fund redundant administrative functions. Therefore, as part of this realignment I have directed FSA and NRCS to review their office locations and administrative functions to determine the opportunity for office co-locations and the sharing of administrative services.”