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Perdue said to be Trump’s lead pick for agriculture secretary


Tuesday, January 03, 2017
Perdue may be pick for agriculture head

Sonny Perdue III, the former governor of Georgia, is president-elect Donald Trump’s leading candidate to be his U.S. secretary of agriculture, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Perdue, 70, would succeed secretary Tom Vilsack. Perdue met with Trump on Nov. 30 and told reporters they talked about agricultural commodities traded domestically and internationally. While Perdue is the front-runner, the decision isn’t final, the person said.

Trump rode to his election victory partly on strong support from voters in rural areas clamoring for an economic turnaround. Farm incomes are expected to fall for a third successive year while debt levels have climbed.

Perdue appears to be emerging from a broad pack of candidates. Trump and his aides have interviewed several others, including Elsa Murano, Henry Bonilla, Sid Miller, Susan Combs, Abel Maldonado, Butch Otter, and Heidi Heitkamp. Politico reported earlier that Perdue is the front-runner.

The president-elect’s statements during his campaign covered areas that could have major implications for agricultural businesses. The U.S. is a major exporter of crops and other farm commodities, and that flow of goods may be disrupted if Trump follows through with a pledge to reshape trading relationships with China and other countries. Such changes might also affect global commodity prices.

Additionally, if immigration laws are strictly enforced, businesses could face labor shortages. Undocumented workers comprise a major slice of farm laborers.

Bloomberg