WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) will vote to confirm Governor George “Sonny” Perdue, President Trump’s nominee to serve as the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Brown voted to advance the nomination of Perdue out of the Agriculture Committee last month. During his confirmation process, Perdue told Brown he would visit Ohio if confirmed. It’s been 50 years since another Ohioan served on the Senate Agriculture Committee.
“One in seven jobs in Ohio depends on agriculture, and it’s critical that Governor Perdue follow through on his commitment to visit Ohio and learn about how he can support Ohio farmers,” said Brown. “I look forward to working with him across the spectrum of USDA programs – from strengthening the farm safety net, to funding conservation programs that keep Lake Erie clean, and battling the opioid epidemic.”
In Perdue’s hearing before the Senate Agriculture Committee, Brown urged Perdue to protect the farm safety net that protects Ohio farmers from periods of low prices or yields. In the 2014 Farm Bill, Brown worked with his Republican colleague Senator John Thune to make sure the bill included the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) program, which is particularly important for Ohio’s wheat, corn and soybean producers. ARC is a market-based program that relies on current crop-year data, market prices, and actual yields, making payments to farmers only when they face price or yield losses.
Brown also pressed Perdue to maintain USDA’s role in fighting the opioid epidemic. USDA has helped in the fight against opioids through its Rural Development grant programs, like the Community Facilities Program—which helps rural communities expand local resources like medical facilities and public safety services. Brown supported a strong Rural Development title in the 2014 Farm Bill to provide economic support to rural communities.