Secretary Perdue


Photo courtesy Phil Roeder/Flickr

Four Things the New Congress Can Do to Hold Trump’s USDA Accountable

, senior analyst, Food and Environment

When it comes to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and its handling of food and farming issues, Congressional oversight is sorely needed. As the new Congress gets underway, here are four ways its leaders should seek to make Secretary Perdue and his USDA more accountable to the public interest. Read more >

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Trump Administration Seeks to Undermine SNAP After Congress Negotiates Bipartisan Farm Bill

, Food Systems & Health Analyst

Yesterday—after work hours, in peak holiday season—Secretary Sonny Perdue held an off-camera, on-record, over-the-phone briefing about proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) that would result in major cuts to the program. At 5:03 am this morning the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) posted its new proposed rule. The proposed changes come on the heels of a failed effort to implement other ineffective and punitive work requirements in the farm bill. Read more >

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U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue holds up his chocolate milk drink at Discovery Elementary School, in Arlington, VA, on October 18, 2018. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung/Flickr

Sonny Perdue’s School Lunch Bait-and-Switch

, senior analyst, Food and Environment

Last week, the Trump administration finalized a rule that will weaken nutrition standards governing what kids are served in the school lunch line. This rollback had been in works for more than a year—Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue first signaled his intention in May 2017, just weeks into his new job. But now, one key component of the final rule is different from what he proposed back then. And you probably won’t be shocked to hear that it’s worse, not better, for children’s health. Read more >

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The Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee hears testimony at the confirmation hearing of Agriculture Secretary-nominee Sonny Perdue, March 23, 2017. USDA Photo by Preston Keres.

7 Questions the Senate Should Ask Trump’s New USDA Chief Scientist Nominee

, senior analyst, Food and Environment

Back in early August (or roughly two Trump years ago), I wrote about the president’s nomination of Scott Hutchins to head up science at the US Department of Agriculture. In that post, I argued that Hutchins, an entomologist with a 30-year career at pesticide-maker Dow, is the wrong choice for the job.

On November 28, the Senate agriculture committee will hold a confirmation hearing for Hutchins, their chance to interview him for the position of USDA under secretary for research, education, and economics. Following are seven questions I think they should ask. Read more >

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Navy-veteran Lenny Evans Miles, Jr. operates Bluestem Farms LLC, in Chestertown, MD. USDA Photo by Preston Keres

On Veterans Day, Why Aren’t Congress and the USDA Looking Out for Those Who Served?

, senior analyst, Food and Environment

This Veterans Day is particularly significant, marking the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. Though US veterans from that long-ago war are gone, some 20 million of their brethren are with us today. Our culture honors them at sporting events and other public venues, but we also have an ugly history of mistreating those who served—from returning Vietnam vets being spat upon to mismanaged healthcare programs and corruption at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

And right now, misguided decisions by the Secretary of Agriculture and members of Congress threaten to reverse progress for service members and veterans who want to work the land and feed their neighbors. Read more >

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