Food and Technology Blog

Sonny Perdue wrong choice to lead the USDA

Posted Mar. 22, 2017 / Posted by: Audrey Fox

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Tomorrow, the Senate Agriculture Committee will begin confirmation hearings for Sonny Perdue, the Trump administration’s nominee to head the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Perdue has strong financial ties to agribusiness, including accepting money from pesticide companies currently in merger negotiations, and has prioritized corporate profits during and since his tenure as Georgia’s governor, where he racked up a sizable list of ethics complaints. He received gifts from lobbyists after signing an order that banned them. He also filled state agencies and boards with his business partners and political donors, and he refused to put his businesses into a blind trust.

Friends of the Earth Food Futures Campaigner Tiffany Finck-Haynes issued the following statement in response to Perdue’s confirmation hearings:

Big agribusiness and the pesticide industry are gleeful at the thought of Sonny Perdue at the helm of the Department of Agriculture, where he will put the profits of corporations over farmer livelihoods, workers, consumers and animal welfare. Organic and small-scale farmers are at risk under Perdue, who has a history of supporting factory-farm operations.

Perdue has mocked the role of climate change in causing extreme weather events that impact farmers. Farmers need increased conservation support to address extreme weather challenges, not prayers for rain.

Perdue’s career is mired in conflict of interest, signaling he will further open the door to a Big Ag takeover in Washington. If Perdue supports the merger of giant pesticide companies Bayer and Monsanto, farmers will be squeezed by increased prices and fewer choices, and consumer food prices could rise.

Farmers and the American public need a champion at the Department of Agriculture, but they won’t find one in Sonny Perdue, whose pockets are lined with donations from agribusiness.

We will continue to pressure the USDA to put safeguards in place for pollinators and to ensure that any Secretary vigorously defends and strengthens national organic standards. Friends of the Earth will always fight for independent science and transparent decision making, and push for policies that support healthy, clean food that is grown without the use of synthetic hormones, routine antibiotics, GMOs or toxic pesticides.


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Expert contact: Tiffany Finck-Haynes (202)-222-0715, tfinckhaynes@foe.org
Communications contact: Erin Jensen (202) 222-0722, ejensen@foe.org

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